Everyone experiences grief in their lifetime, some experience normal grief, some experience trauma grief, some experience delayed grief, we will all experience some sort of grief. I would like to speak of 1 of the 2 types of grief that I have endured in the last 6 years. I will speak about my second grief in my next article.
November 2014, towards the end of the month, I received a call from my mom to go and see her. Immediately I knew something was wrong. So on the way to her, everything and anything went through my mind. Is she sick, has someone died, has something happened to my siblings, has something happened to my dad… everything runs through your mind when your emotions are heightened. I got to my mom and we made a cup of coffee and went and sat on the patio. We first spoke about random stuff and then the brick hit me right in my face. Jen, Dad has cancer and he has refused any treatment. I mean what the actual hell! How do you process this? The first thing that went through my mind was, my dad is going to die. WHY? And then I burst into tears! I don’t remember much after that.
I then chatted with my dad and he went into further detail of what was wrong and what they had found etc. His reason to why he was refusing treatment and what would be the way forward. The doctors then decided that they could remove my dad’s one lung and he would be able to live with one lung for some time. He went through all the check ups to see if he was fit for the operation with the doctors and then he had his angiogram done which showed that my dad not only had cancer but had an aneurism just under his heart that was quite big in size. The doctors said that my dad was a ticking time bomb. So, after my brother and I had arranged tickets to fly down to Durban to be with him for the operation, we heard that morning that there wasn’t going to be one. He would have a 1% chance of living through the operation. Anyway, we ventured down and spent some time with my dad, doing things together and just being there for him. I remember clearly just before we were due to fly back to JHB we went out for pizza and my dad was struggling to eat. He would laugh and say on no I was cutting my toenails and a piece flicked up and got stuck in my teeth and now its infected… we left that as that and carried on. My brother and I flew back home and carried on with work and the kiddies etc. After a couple of days my dad called and told us the cancer had spread. The “toenail” in his mouth, was actually tumors and that’s why he couldn’t eat anymore. This was now the end of December. Time stood still for no one. My dad got worse and frail… he then would do a complete 180 turn and be sitting there and chatting and eating (Something he didn’t do for 4 months. He was on Pedisure) and I think by then you actually know what is coming.
On the 9th March 2015, came to work and all that. We knew my dad wasn’t doing well as he had suffered a heart attack and a stroke over the weekend, but nothing can prepare you for what happened next. My brother called me and said, dad is trying to get hold of you, he wants to say goodbye. I MEAN WHAT???? How do I do that? It took me a couple of minutes to compose myself as I didn’t want to cry on the phone with my dad. I made the phone call, my step mother answered and I just burst into tears when I heard her voice and she was crying. My dad, who by this time couldn’t speak properly as he was on 100% oxygen, came onto the phone and I remember him saying, I love you my princess, I love the kiddies, I am so proud of you and please don’t cry. This was the last time I got to speak to my dad before he passed away. He phoned all of his kids and his brother and then my dad passed away shortly after 1.30pm.
This is classified as loss, normal grief. I knew my dad was sick, I knew my dad wasn’t going to live long, I knew that I didn’t want my dad to suffer, I knew that I wanted my dad to go to a better place and be at peace. Even though it hurt me to the core to lose my dad, I found comfort in knowing he wasn’t suffering anymore. He looks over me every day and I know he is so proud of what I have achieved. If you are going through this type of grief, my advice to you is to look at all the amazing, happy memories that you were able to have together. Remember that your loved one is in a much better place with no suffering, and one day you will meet them again!
I hope this will help someone with those raw emotions that you feel when losing a loved one.
Stay safe everyone and BE KIND
My name is Jennifer Friend, I am 36 years old. I was born in Bloemfontein but grew up in Gauteng the majority of my life. I love the outdoors yet I love being at home too. I was supposed to get married last year in March but then COVID hit and we have yet to set another date. I have 3 kids, a daughter and 2 sons. I work in Forensics but my passion is photography.
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