What to say? What to do?

Today, I am going to visit my Dad in hospital.

This time it will be different because I am going to woman up and talk to him about the fact that he is dying.

We don’t know what time-frame we are dealing with but I sense it will not be long.  So there are conversations to be had and views to be asked.

The pain in the solar plexus region in my body is starting already and will doubtless start pounding as I enter the hospital.

How do you talk to your father about what sort of funeral he would like?

How do you work out with him whether it is appropriate for his grandchildren to see him in his current state of health?

How do you ask him about his writings and what he would like to see you do with them after his passing?

How through all of this do you try and maintain a level of calm and not just end up crying in that animal way that comes with deep pain?

I could duck it.  I could run away but that would be the wrong thing to do.

With Mum it was easier as she was so vocal and a stage-manager till the end.  She talked to me and told me exactly what she wanted.  She also gave me the great gift of saying that she had lived a full life and was accepting of death.

Why does nobody talk about these sort of things?  The vast majority will have lost a parent or be on a course to doing so at some point.

I wish my husband could come in with me but as ever there is nobody to look after the children for us and I don’t want them exposed to the horrors of the ward.

This is the very sort of situation I would ask my Dad’s advice on over our Friday fish and chip lunches.  Which makes me realise just how much he will be missed.


13 thoughts on “What to say? What to do?

  1. My thoughts are with you. A year ago this week, we said good bye to Mom. My Dad and brother couldn’t bring themselves to talk about what she needed as she was dying, but I felt it was important. So we had the conversation, and we were all braver for that afterwards. I have since found http://www.dyingmatters.org/ offers advice and comfort, and I have been blogging about talking about dying x.

    • Thank you and I am so pleased to have that link and realise that some people are encouraging the opening up about such life events.
      I am pleased you found the courage to talk and blogging helped me last time around too

  2. Kate you are quite simply one amazing human being. So many duck away and do what is simple, carrying a stiff upper lip until it’s too late. I love you for this quality, your openness and courage. Thinking of you this morning x

  3. You are in my thoughts this week Kate. I don’t know what to say or what to advise but I hope you get to make the most of your time with your Dad. Sending you lots of love xxxxxxxx

  4. Hi Kate,
    I have yet to go through any of this so have no words of wisdom to share but just wanted to say that I hope you are able to talk everything through together. I cannot imagine how hard it is for you but sending strength and best wishes to you, your dad and your family xx

  5. My only experience with this was when my mum died when I was 19 years old. We totally avoided the subject of death, dying and what she wanted and I now wish I had had the confidence and spoken more about it all. There are so many things I wish I had asked and now it’s too late. I believe my mum spoke to my dad about it and I know she sought comfort in a minister/priest at the hospice she was in, but I wish I had been involved. I vaguely remember being sat down by one of the hospice nurses who told me that my mum had been speaking lots with the minister/priest and that she wasn’t scared of dying. That’s the extent of what I know… and it makes me sad to think that we were all to scared to discuss it openly. Yes, it will be a difficult conversation but I do believe it’s one you should have.

  6. I reckon it’s a bit like getting a tender area waxed – the anticipation of it is worse than the actual conversations. It will smart a bit but there will probably be some raw and acute relief if you can do it. x

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