There is nothing that prepares you for the death of a parent, you can try to confront the reality of life without them but at the end of the day, until that deep bond is physically dissolved through death you have no idea how your life will be turned over or what is ahead in dealing with the pains of degeneration and death.
However there are aspects worthy of note, learning that helps us to redefine living, helps to encourage a new awareness around happiness and peace.
Over this last year my brothers and I have been preparing for the death of our father who has terminal cancer. This particular cancer can be particularly aggressive so we are aware that the ground under his feet is very uncertain. We have been given various timelines of the inevitability of his death, from two weeks, to nine months to a couple of years, since his diagnosis of Mesothelioma cancer a year ago; no one knows how quickly the cancer will take him down.
Mesothelioma cancer is caused through asbestos poisoning. My father was exposed to asbestos as a twenty year old, when he was saving some money working night shifts at a factory in Bracknell, making twists of asbestos for cement piping. He only worked there a month but the amount of asbestos he took in through his lungs was enough to cause a death sentence many years later. He is now in his mid seventies and has to accept his fate.
So now he has a tumour about 6 cm wide like orange peel, in which he is experiencing deep pain from, he uses morphine to help him. He has had chemo for the last year, which was designed to extend his life, this kind of cancer cannot be resolved. The chemo has helped to take the drama out of the situation, it has helped us to enjoy my father but now his kidneys cannot take any more chemo, we have reached the end of the road in being able to control the cancer. He can only hope that the work he put in this last year helps to slow the situation down further.
The times I sat with my father for a few hours every other week, in the chemo room at the hospital for his eight hour drip of chemicals gave us time to talk, to change the nature of our relationship. We bonded, we found new grounds of ‘relationship’ and we learnt how to understand and accept each other in new ways.
A year on, the journey continues, my father now realises that love and touch gives support to suffering, he realises that there were many walls between us, imaginary walls, but walls. He had a need to dominate, dictate, control and feel secure.
These illusions were energised through the illusion of time, time to create distance, time to find reasons for ‘separation’ to pick holes in love. Time has revealed itself to be fully an illusion in which we use to create hurdles between us, we use time as a reason to fall out, we think we have time to create distance and to not get on. We say I just need time. However, I have learnt that when there is no time, we pull ourselves together, we find ways to step up and uplift ourselves.
At the moment we don’t have time to feel low, to feel sorry for ourselves. Now we need to share in love, we only have time to create happy memories, to share happy experiences.
We have a bucket list of fun things to do, like go to our favourite restaurants, our favourite place in Scotland, North Wales, Cornwall, we know we can only choose one location. We know we shared our last Christmas but we continue to share the magic of our lives, the memories, the songs, the experiences and the learning.
I also find myself defending my right to have a happy heart, to be able to be nostalgic, magical, sensitive. I am open to others but I don’t let them control my energy or vibration. At this point in my life I have the focus of being fully present without being swung by other peoples needs or agendas, all that matters in the minutes and moments is around me and how I relate to those persons that are immediate. I am close to my brothers, mother and father, in ways I could only dream of, we are really a family and we are sticking together, we are no longer acting as individuals we are working as a team and we always show up to each in love.
The architecture of our home has become our hearts in love. We communicate and share from this position and anyone that tries to create an estranged experience of love, comes across a challenge to show up in a more responsible way. We are therefore raising the vibration of all around us into love. We believe in sharing the special experiences we are having, the traditions, the illogical routines, the family nuances, the disorder, we are exposing the joy of being alive, free and happy in the world but also the vulnerability of being fully ourselves as a family. A family in which it’s members often didn’t feel a sense of belonging or an individualistic sense of identity. Now the bonding feels deep. So we walk forward not shying away from the future or the degeneration of our father as we are in this together and we are finding beauty and love every step of the way.
Blog written 27 Dec 2016
My Father, Douglas McGregor passed away 1 March 2017, may he rest in peace.
Carpe Diem, originates from the Odes, a long series of poems composed by Roman poet Horace in 65 B.C.E.
Scale back your long hopes
to a short period
While we speak, time is envious
and is running away from us.
Seize the day, trusting little in the future.