Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Pabarilife and NICU Mum - My Hero - Part two

As promised here is the second part of the Pabarilife and NICU Mum- My hero collab. For those who haven't please check out Priya's beautiful and moving post about her father by clicking here. The second part is my account of loosing my hero when I was 13.
 
The Church was packed, family and friends had gathered, some I had not seen for years. My nan was weeping. This was it.  It was time, I began to walk down the aisle, looking ahead slightly I didn’t think I could cope with the nerves. Reaching the end, I looked up and moved to where I should be standing, the vicar took the stand and began to speak. My Granddad's coffin was laid down and the service began. As this was not him walking me down the aisle like he should be, this was me aged 13 attending the funeral of the only constant father figure I had in my life. It felt like I was no longer whole, like I had lost my hero.
 
Even so young, I was a complete Granddad's girl
One of my earliest memories was sitting in my Nan’s kitchen, it was dark outside and my Granddad comes through the door. Nan has his tea ready and he sits next to me and I eat carrots of his plate. I was from a single parent family, therefore Nan and Granddad were a huge part of my life. When I think back to all of those big childhood milestones riding a bike, tying your own shoelace; it was my Granddad that taught me these things. I remember him sitting down on the back door step to teach me again and again until I got it right. He brought me my very first bike, it was purple with a star and moon on it and he had put a huge red ribbon on it. After we moved house he took the stabilisers of and before the lawn was laid he was the one helping me ride around and around that garden.
He took us out, he took us shopping, he popped around on Saturday mornings for bacon sandwiches. I was completely and utterly devoted to him. I was a Granddad's girl. I could always confide in him when I was scared and he comforted me when I was upset. I also inherited my love of coffee and ginger biscuits from him too. He was so hardworking, as a lorry driver and could work 6 sometimes 7 days a week away. He once came through when we were walking to school in his lorry and beeping the whole way, everyone turned to look at this smiling man in his huge lorry. I felt special that was MY Granddad. I loved when he had just had a shower and had his hair combed back and smelt of Old Spice. I loved that he collected elephants and liked country music. I laughed that as he had lost some hair flies used to land on his bald patch in the summer. I adored everything about him, I don’t think have ever looked up and admired someone as I did him.
 
He had the moves.
As I approached high school and became the confused, hormonal and self-conscious teenager he began to change. At 16 stone he carried himself well, but he seemed smaller somehow. He got the shakes, he began dropping things and even turned his lorry into a ditch.  We regularly had to get the doctors out as he struggled with water infections. At the time I don’t think it hadn’t really dawned on me the gradual decline that had been happening to him for some time. He then began to struggle to swallow, couldn’t chew his food.
Before I even knew it Nan and Granddad's house, which I classed as home and still do, started changing. There was now an electric chair to help him sit down and stand up. Nan looked tired and worn out and Granddad's brothers and sisters started visiting a lot more frequently. He had to give up work. Nan did her best she really did; I didn’t even know how she did it. She is teeny but she helped him get washed, she took him to the toilet, she looked after him the best she could. But she couldn’t any longer, Granddad had declined quickly and it didn’t look like he was getting better. The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease was mentioned, but ruled out again.
I don’t think I can remember when he went into hospital. It just turned into me and my Nan going over every Saturday or Sunday. The hospital I believed cared for the terminally ill but this was a phrase back then I did not really grasp. I guess, I always thought he would get better, that he would be out in no time. But to look at him in the hospital bed, withering away to half the man he once was broke my heart. To this day it still haunts me seeing him in there like that.
A more certain diagnosis was made and it was Motor Neurone Disease. A cruel and unforgiving disease that strips you of every little piece of the person that you once were. He was the head of our house, a husband, a dad, a granddad, brother, uncle and my hero who was being reduced to not even being able to speak.

The definition of this is;

motor neurone disease

noun

British

noun: motor neuron disease; noun: motor neurone disease; plural noun: motor neurone diseases

1.    a progressive disease involving degeneration of the motor neurons and wasting of the muscles.

I define it as the disease that took my hero. Even then at age 13, his symptoms affected me so much. When I used to visit him he always managed to communicate he wanted a pen and paper but he could never manage to write what it was he wanted to. I always wonder to this day what was he trying to say? He said he wanted to visit Dr Shipman, I guess we all know what that means. The man who took care of me, who practically raised me as his own was suffering. It wasn’t fair that I was standing here feeding him grapes when he had provided and kept our family going for all of those years.
Now at the age of 26, I am aware of a lot more if this was to happen now I am not sure I could stand by and watch him waste away like he did. I am a strong supporter (in certain circumstances with measures in place) of Euthanasia. I couldn’t watch the pain he was in now, knowing what I know about the disease and the fact he wanted to die.
 
Nan and Granddad on their wedding day
He got worse and worse over time, he spent his 60th birthday in there, and Christmas and we all went to visit him. This was the last Christmas he would see. Come the next February he was on so much morphine and was so weak he was moved to his own room. He caught Pneumonia and died on the 15th February 2003. I think in the last couple of weeks, Nan didn’t want me to see how bad he bad got so I didn’t visit. I didn’t get to say goodbye to him but every time I left I kissed him. I remember we were at home and the call came. I was sitting on the stairs and I instantly knew what had happened. It felt like my heart stopped, my stomach dropped and I cried, and cried and cried. Following his death I struggled to cope, and even self-harmed as a way of coping. I remember never really feeling like I could move past it, until I met my friend Chantel. She too had suffered a loss recently and between us we wrote letter upon letter to each other she helped me move past it. Never over it, but past it.
When someone you love dies, you mourn the person, their life what they meant to you. You relive all of the special moments you had together over and over like when I sat on his lap and he played with my Mel B Spice Girl doll with me (even though Baby was his favourite), when he used to give me a little shandy from his booze cruises to France! I mourn that he is missing out on my life. That I have now had more time without him than I did with him. When I passed my GCSE’S and A Levels Nan said he would be proud. I mourn that he didn’t get to meet the love of my life and that he won’t walk me down the aisle when I get married. I mourn that he hasn’t met my son. Who has many of his traits, including his ears! I hope I can show Elijah pictures and share with him what a wonderful man he was and how much he meant to me. One of Elijah’s middle names was chosen in honour of my Granddad to build a connection even though they will sadly never get to meet. I see the relationship Elijah has with my Nan and imagine what he may have had with my Granddad, he would have loved him so much. Spoilt him rotten and taught him all about lorries which he is fascinated with!
I mourn for these things. This disease took him away, at only aged 60, when he should have shared all of these things. He should have seen me become a mother. This disease took my hero away.
 
At the head of the table where he belonged.
 This post is without a doubt dedicated to the man that taught me so much, that was like a father to me when my own wasn’t around. I miss you more than you will ever know. You will forever be my hero.

If you want to check out Priya's blog you can by clicking here; pabarilife@wordpress.com
 
Twitter - @pabarilife
Email -
pabarilife@yahoo.com
Instagram - @PabariLife 

Similar NICU MUM posts;

The Mama Cave Guest post
Mummy and Nina- Mi Familia
A very modern family
Happy fathers day daddy pig

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