What a horrible year it’s been. Literally an annus horribilis in the words of the queen. First we lost my aunty Pat in February. Now we’ve lost my lovely Dad too. He had a type of leukaemia that we didn’t realise was as aggressive as it was. He had a stroke three weeks ago and never came out of the hospital. The doctors said it was caused by the leukaemia. Because he was so weak the doctors told us it wouldn’t be long and it wasn’t. My aunty flew out from the UK to see him which was lovely. Right up until he died he was lucid and we had been told that he may actually have a bit longer but they think he developed a chill in the night and he died at 7 the next morning. If there was a nice way to go that was it. We had told each other we loved the other when I said goodbye on the Monday, I certainly didn’t leave thinking it was the end. He had headaches and was sore from being in bed but apart from that he wasn’t in a lot of pain. And he just fell asleep and didn’t wake up. I still don’t believe it’s real to tell you the truth. His funeral was two days ago, even that hasn’t really made it real…
I told the kids that Dad was dying which was really hard. As my mum died when I was 13, we’ve always tried to say about how if she was sick these days she probably would have lived, that there are so many more advancements now with cancer. But the reality is that people do die from it these days too. Mikayla, the little girl at their school who died a few years ago now, they’re lovely Aunty Pat who was like a grandmother to them, and now their beloved Gransha. His name was Bill, that’s who we named our son after. Our Bill went to visit him and when we came home he said ‘oh well at least I know he’ll get better’ and I had to tell him that sadly he wouldn’t. He was devastated. In fact all the kids were. Beth of course has a funny way of showing things though. She has been quite matter of fact about the whole thing. She told me that she wasn’t going to cry anymore for people who died of cancer. I’m not sure of her reasoning, I think she just didn’t want to make herself upset. When we were told he only had a week I had organised the kids and planned on going down to their house in Rye to stay until the end. I left on the Friday and we had been given til the Tuesday. I told Beth she would have the following week off. When I ended up coming home on the Sunday, after Dad had been given longer, Beth was pretty dirty because I told her she had to go back to school. I ended up giving her the Monday off and on the Tuesday morning when I got the call, I was getting them all ready for school. After I got off the phone she asked why I was crying and I told her. She said how sad she was then said ‘so I get the day off school after all then?!’
Dad died on the day that we all found out that Robin Williams had died. Paul and I spent the day at Rye and speaking with the funeral director with the family. We got home and as you can imagine I wasÂ tired and emotional. We were watching tv in bed and Beth kept saying ‘I’m going to miss Robin Williams.’ I ended up saying that she was being rather insensitive as she wasn’t saying it about Gransha. She apologized and said ‘But Robin Williams was in Mrs Doubtfire, JumanjiÂ and Night and the Museum’ amongst other movies she’d seen. To her credit she did shut up about it after that.
Dad’s funeral was on Tuesday and if you could say a funeral was terrific, then Dad’s was. It was packed to the rafters, standing room only, and it was a mixture of lots of tears and lots of laughter. My dad was a bugger, a shitstirrer and a very funny man. The stories that came out had us all in stitches. Beth was next to me and kept staring at me as I cried. Then when I was laughing she said to me ‘It’s not a comedy revue, why areÂ you all laughing?’ Probably because I told her she wasn’t to say anything inappropriate or insensitive. She must have thought we were being terribly inappropriate! She ended up going home with Paul’s parents after the service which made things a little easier for me.
Today the kids went back to school. We were running a little later than usual, I just can’t seem to get motivated yet. I kept them home yesterday but Bridie was hard work so I figured if I could get through the making lunches and driving (after hitting a pole absentmindedly on Saturday) I could have the house to myself for a while. Beth of course told me she was sick. I thought to myself ‘here comes the “I’ve got a sore you know what” ‘ as I had kept her home twice because of this complaint before. Last time I called her bluff because I was going to IKEA with friends and she was fine! The first time she did have an infection. And sure enough there it was. ‘You have to take me to the doctor, I have an infection, I promise I’m not lying.’ She’s very convincing. With that and the other, sitting on the toilet ’til I go in there, pretending she had the runs. Anyway, I took her with threats of loss of ipad privileges if she didn’t shut up!
I’ve made a big decision. Dad loved my blog and he was always on at me to turn it into a book. I always wanted to write a book from diagnosis up until I started the blog, or until she started at high school. I just never got around to it. Every time Dad read one of my posts he would ring me to talk about it. Not just about the mistakes I made either! He said I was like the man who wrote the Commitments, he said he wrote like he talked. I was always a bit worried about Dad reading this blog, he was a professional Journalist and author and very good at what he did. I thought he’d be horrified at the fact that I don’t use rules when I write. So it was such an honour to get his stamp of approval. So I’m going to do it. I’m going to write my book and dedicate it to my Dad. xxx I’m going to pop a couple of pictures in of my Dad with our Bethie.