This is the hardest blog post I’ve had to write so far. It’s heavy. You’ve been warned.
For the first time ever, I woke up sobbing. My pillow was wet with my tears and my cheeks and throat burned. My whole body was trembling and my heart was thumping in my chest. For a moment I even wondered if this is it, perhaps you can die from grief and if it was, maybe that’s what was happening to me.
Yesterday I had a nightmare. I was floating in a black void, it was thick and yet at the same time, totally empty. Suddenly, I had the sensation that I was falling at an intense speed further into this blackness. I screamed and screamed and tried to hold onto something. I called out for help, I prayed, I did everything I could think of to stop this horrific feeling. Then I woke up, drenched in cold sweat and shaking all over.
As the day went on, a swelling appeared in my throat and all my joints ached. My core felt weak and hollow. Walking and standing took immense effort. And I kept getting hot flushes.
Well, last night I had violent, gory nightmares of death and murder. Each time I woke up, I was soaking in sweat and my head was pounding. This continued well into the night.
I remembered the last time I was this unwell. It was some time in September 2017 and I had been driving home from a meeting when suddenly a pain radiated down my neck to my right shoulder and I couldn’t look left.
As I walked into my house I was horrified to notice that I could not see anything directly in front of me. I could see my kitchen in the corner of my eye, but nothing else. It was unnerving and scary.
I felt my way upstairs and started to panic as I climbed into bed. Ross came over to me worried and asked what was wrong, the pain in my head was so intense it felt like someone was squeezing it in a vice. I gibbered away to Ross making no sense at all and started sobbing. On reflection, ross and I both thought I was having a stroke.
Ross got me pain killers and stroked my hair telling me I’m alright. When I didn’t calm down, he said “what can I do for you? What do you need?” I whimpered for a moment, my hands clamped over my eyes and head buried in the pillow. Then I said in a feeble voice, “Can you call my dad?”
My mum and Dad lived less than 3 miles away from our home and he was carer to my mum, I remembered many times growing up when I’d get sick and Dad would come to rescue.
Ross called my dad. A few minutes passed and their was a gentle “Tap- tap tap- Tap. Tap. Tap.” At the door. It was dad’s secret knock. We made it up years ago when I suffered with anxiety so badly I wouldn’t answer the door. He found a way to show me that it’s ok, it’s just Dad. I don’t need to be afraid.
Ross went downstairs and I heard low murmured voices below. The stairs creaked as they walked upstairs and I heard my dad enter the room. “Hi Dad” I said weakly. Now I was feeling embarrassed that I – a grown mother of three sons- had asked for my dad.
“I’m so sorry to take you away from Mum” I continued. I felt a warm, strong hand take mine and give it a squeeze. I felt his calmness and love flowing from his hand to mine and calm my whole soul.
There is nothing like a father’s love.
Dad had a thermometer, blood pressure cuff and an oxemeter and did a few tests to see how I was doing. He asked ross if I had any medicine, and got a cold damp flannel to put over my eyes. Then he gave me a father’s blessing. Finally, he sat down next to my bed and read the scriptures to me joking that “this is often successful at getting people to sleep.”
And it was true, listening to the calming tones of my dads voice, reading verses from the Book of Mormon, had me out within seconds.
When I woke up the next morning, my dad had gone and I felt a lot better. My husband, Ross was humbled and told me he realised he still had a lot to learn from my dad on taking care of me.
It was a profound experience for us both.
Sadly, just a month later my dad died.
I think being ill has just made me remember that day explicitly and realise I will never hold my dad’s hand again. That’s what I miss the most.
Cherish your moments with your loved ones. Treasure them. Hold them. Tell them you love them.
Because one day they will be gone and it is devastating.
All that said, I am so deeply grateful for the memories. I am grateful my dad was so warm and so loving that the only memories I have of him are just that – love. And so I realise that my father’s love for me lives on. Thank you Dad.