My dad died on Friday morning at 3am. My mom came running over to our house shouting that my old man wasn’t breathing. I jumped out of bed and grabbed the shotgun, initially imagining my parents were being attacked (which, when awakened by screams is always your go-to reaction in South Africa).
I ran over, but going into my parents bedroom I could already see it was too late. My mom wanted to carry on with CPR, I felt for a pulse and checked his pupils, but he’d already gone gray and wet himself and I felt there was nothing we could do that would be useful. (The indignity of death)
My wife had phoned for an ambulance in the meantime… and they confirmed that there was nothing cardiological or neurological going on anymore. I sat with the paramedic and we filled out the paperwork at the kitchen table.
It was probably a massive stroke or an aneurysm. My old man, at 74 was in robust health and still unbelievably strong for his age. We all got tested for Covid-19, which, while we would have all had to have been asymptomatic for it to go unnoticed… is was a possibility we wanted to rule out, I guess. Those results came back this morning and we are all negative. By law we are required to have an autopsy to rule out foul play, which will hopefully shed some light on the cause of death. Weirdly it’s one of those things you want to know. What was it… that killed you?
At 5am the funeral parlor arrived. Maybe its a nightshift thing… but they sent the two weakest attendees they had. My old man weighs in at a a solid 100kg… in any event they couldn’t get him onto the gurney. Eventually I had to help them. I can easily deadlift 120kg for reps at the gym. But dead-weight… flopping around on you… the empty ‘souless’ husk of someone you know and loved… I struggled physically… And that being the final imagine of my dad burned into my mind… well, it’s really rubbish.
The whole of Friday I felt weirdly… detached and ‘Vulcan-esque’. But by 6pm I’d tapped the final and deepest reserves of my stoicism and I was feeling seriously unwell. I took my blood pressure which was racing along at 166/100 with a pulse of about 100. Took a Xanax and went to bed at about eight, but was wide awake again at nine thirty. I was feeling slightly better, but still not great. Talked it out with my wife for an hour. And then felt better and managed to get some sleep…
I mean, if you’re going to go… thats probably first prize right? Dying in your sleep. No pain, no foreboding, no sense that there is anything wrong… just ‘BAM!’ thanks for playing.
Plus, by any metric, my old man had a really good life. We are after all ephemeral meat-sacks and this is how it all ends for us, one way or another. Right? Still, I felt…. heavy. Sluggish about the whole endeavor.
Maybe it was the suddenness of it. Akin perhaps to losing someone in a car accident when they’ve just popped out to get milk. Or maybe… its… I don’t know. I come from quite a patriarchal family. Maybe that crushing feeling was the mantle of responsibility being passed onto me. A mantel I don’t want or covet. I am not built for that kind of… duty. But I do feel it now, weighing me down. ‘Its all up to you now’.
I’ve volunteered to do the eulogy at the funeral on Wednesday. Mostly because basically every funeral I’ve ever been to the Eulogies have been the most terribly, painful, awful things to listen to… and I won’t allow that. (I have this notion that I’d like to write out my own eulogy one day, ha ha, so that the people that mourn me won’t have to suffer through… some garbled, teary, snot covered tirade when I kick the bucket… assuming people aren’t cheering in the streets because I’m dead I mean).
In any event. This eulogy will be awesome. Well… hopefully it will be. Ha. I have this strange sense of purpose about the whole thing.
Of course, I am dimly aware that maybe I’m kicking my feelings down the road somewhere. Or maybe I’m not. Maybe this is all I’ve got. Part of me is worried that my sociopath is showing.
I don’t know.
I really liked my dad. In case you’re wondering. Ha. That might not seem particularly clear cut. He was a really good guy.
Everyone else around me seems to be feeling this all so deeply. And I’m just… not. It is what it is. I can’t change what happened. Getting emotional about it… well it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose.
Anyways. Gotta keep moving forward I guess. Toward whatever terminus has been set aside for us. Hopefully we get there cheerful and well liked. I think I’m going to go back and edit this post when I have something better to say…