I wasn't ready for this...
(Newton Abbot, Devon,UK)
This is quite a long post, but please read it. I really need you to...
For years my Dad suffered with high blood pressure. It's common and he was being treated. His pills never worked and he would constantly be going back and forth between different pills and dosages finding nothing helped. Frequent visits to the doctor, who could find nothing wrong with him, meant that eventually he was referred for psychiatric counselling. Dad had always been somewhat of a hypochondriac. The only person I knew who would suddenly develop a bad back, or headache, or dodgy leg anytime anything needed doing!
When test results came back negative, and the doctors said there was nothing wrong with him, it was easy to believe. But he knew better...
He died on 5th December 2010, aged just 57. He had a massive heart attack. The day before he died, my mum had called an ambulance for him, as he was complaining of pains in his chest, and shortness of breath. The paramedic came, and she spoke with his doctor over the phone. They agreed that what his was having was a panic attack, and that a trip to hospital was not necessary. She advised him to lie down and rest, and if he still felt like he needed the hospital later on then my mum was to drive him. But who wants to sit for god-knows-how-long in the emergency room on a saturday night?!
So the next day, he collapsed. On his bedroom floor. Mum heard a crash and rushed in to see what had happened. He was still breathing, but barely conscious. She grabbed the phone and called 999, but she saw him go before they turned up. She sat, performing heart massage until they arrived and took over. It must have been 10 minutes after the ambulance arrived that I turned up. Visiting purely by chance (I was supposed to be elsewhere that day). I saw the ambulance in the road outside, and the air ambulance was circling overhead. I expected to meet the paramedics on the garden path, wheeling dad into the ambulance - but no such luck.
Mum came out the front door. She looked panicked. It was there on the garden path, with the helicopter circling above that she told me what had happened. The paramedics were still trying to resuscitate him. As I entered the house they were crowded round him on the bedroom floor. His shirt had been cut off him, so they could get to his chest. He had tubes down his throat. Machines were beeping, and they were mumbling almost silently between themselves. All we could do was wait. That was the most horrific 20 minutes of my life. The ambulance crew barely even acknowledged we were there. They must have known he wasn't going to make it. So many thoughts were running through my head.
I was begging for his eyes to open. I kept wondering 'why aren't they taking him to hospital?' - it seems so obvious now. We paced back and forth outside the door. Collapsing onto the sofa every now and again. Totally restless. We called my step-sister (on my mums side) and she rushed over. Eventually the door opened and the nurse delivered the news. I remember I was so shocked that she had actually dared to use the word 'dead'. No. No. No. This didn't just happen. He's not dead. This is a dream and I'm going to wake up. It was that moment my entire world collapsed. I wanted to run, as far as I could go. A million miles away, but there was no way my legs were going to let me go anywhere.
I collapsed. I felt as though someone had punched me so hard it had ripped a hole through my chest. It felt as though there was a physical, open, gaping wound in my chest - and its still there now. Me and mum gripped each other as hard as we could. My boyfriend was there too. Eventually the nurses left, and we were able to sit with dad until the undertaker arrived.
Mum cried and cried and cried. Shes such a strong person normally it pained me so much to see her like that. To the point of throwing up! My sister arrived and we all sat with him. We spoke with him. Felt him slowly go cold, and lose the colour from his cheeks.
Its 2 months tomorrow, and I don't think I feel any different now than I did that day. Me and my sister planned the funeral, with little input from mum. She just couldn't do it. I think for a brief period I forgot how painful it was. I was so wrapped up planning things and organising things I didn't stop to think who the funeral was for. I felt it hit me again whilst I was driving home one day. I can remember the exact second it hit. I remember thinking to myself 'this isnt going to go away - ever'.
At the funeral I read a poem. I wasn't sure I would be able to do it. I was so determined. I got up and did it, without a single tear. Not a single one. I was a little annoyed with myself afterwards for not crying! Everyone told me how brave I was, and how impressed they were. I didn't feel very brave. Those people didn't know the feelings inside.
So now it's 2 months later. I am back at work, but I can only managed part time and can't talk face to face with customers. Some days I am fine. Happy. Chatty. Fine. But others, I just can't do it. I panic. I started shaking, and I have to leave. I get angry. I've had several serious outbursts (all at home thank god!). I feel totally lost. I feel like I'm in a really thick fog, lost, and I've got no idea where to turn. Some days I'm Ok, others I'm angry, others I'm quiet, some days all I can do is cry. But the thing is, I don't want to stop crying. I don't want to accept what has happened. I don't want to work because that would be too normal, and things aren't normal. They are never going to be normal ever again.
I'm only 22. I'm my dad's only child. He was always so protective. No one was ever good enough for his little girl. Now who's going to be there to make sure I marry the right person!?! To walk me down the aisle? He wont ever see his grandchildren, and they will never see him. He's still my daddy. And I feel so angry that he was taken from me.
His heart attack, was caused by 2 things. The first was heart disease, and the other was an enlarged heart, caused by high blood pressure. I can't understand why the doctors weren't treating him for his illnesses. He had been advised to take exercise - when this could have killed him! He KNEW there was something more wrong with him. HE KNEW IT! He always said whatever it was would kill him - and nobody believed him. To a certain extent even my mum and I didn't. The doctors didn't find anything. He told my mum that if he died she was to sue the doctors - so that's what she is going to do.
I've only just started to talk about things, and I am finding it is helping. I'm on a waiting list to speak to a councillor, but I don't know how long that will be. I just feel so empty, so lonely without him, so lost. I miss him so much. More and more every day.