Content warning – you might want to skip this one if you are experiencing grief or family difficulties.
The Light’s father died this morning. She called me from work where she heard the news, and picked me up en route to see him in the care home where he breathed his last at about 4am. It wasn’t a great surprise; when we visited him last weekend it was hard to tell if he was responsive or knew we were there, and he looked as ill as I have ever seen a living person.
She has slept most of the rest of the day and is emotionally exhausted, but frankly he was an awful man who treated her like shit her entire life. The last time she tried help him out of filial duty a few years ago the reaction brought her trauma to a peak, leading to a breakdown which left her unable to work for 6 months. For the sake or her own health and sanity she had kept her distance since then.
When my own father died at the start of the year, from COVID related pneumonia after a lengthy stay in a care home due to Alzheimer’s, I was vaguely sad, but didn’t experience anything worth calling bereavement or grief. I hadn’t seen him this century, and acting as a pallbearer was as physically close as we had been for decades and emotionally close as we had ever been. If I ever had any mourning to do I did it in slow motion many years ago.
The evening before my father’s funeral I asked my mother if she still had a bright silk scarf which he never wore but which I remembered borrowing for a party in my teens. She didn’t, but gave me a watch, a Swiss made automatic, but another item which no one could never remember him wearing. I’m wearing it now.
This song struck deep when I heard it in between these two deaths.