Dad’s Collapse and Death, 3 August to 6 August 2007

It is all a bit of a blur, really.

I know that Steve the window cleaner came that Friday morning, but I can’t remember whether I got the call from mum before, during or after his visit. Soon after Steve left, I think.

Dad had collapsed at the foot of the stairs trying to get up to bed the night before; mum had found him there in the morning and called an ambulance.

My recall is very patchy. Dad was unconscious when I got to St George’s Hospital. I remember hanging around for quite a long time with mum and seeing a specialist with her and Janie quite late in the day. I remember the specialist explaining that one of dad’s hips had broken when he collapsed, but that basically the scans revealed that dad was riddled with cancer and there was nothing they could do other than keep him comfortable and free from pain.

I think mum insisted that we just take her home on that Friday; I recall she was much calmer that first day than on the subsequent days.

On the Saturday, Janie and I had arranged to see Charlotte for the evening – I think she came to us for dinner and I think we went ahead with that at mum’s insistence. Dad had not really regained consciousness on the Saturday in any case, so there was little we could do. Mum was in “I can cope” mode.

I recall that dad was conscious when we visited him on the Sunday. He was positive and upbeat (the doctors had told him they were checking everything out and would do everything they could for him, which I suppose was true in a way) but he was high as a kite on painkillers and told us some rather strange stories about stuff that had happened in the night, which must have been dreams or hallucinations but clearly were very real memories to him in his drug-fuelled state.

Mum was not in a good way by the Sunday – really very anxious and distressed, I felt. Janie was with us that day. I think we took mum to some sort of a restaurant place on Garrett Lane (more Wandsworth than Tooting). Janie recalls that she perked up quite a lot during that meal/distraction.

I was going to go again on the Monday after gym anyway, but while at the gym got the call (via Janie) that dad had died peacefully overnight. Naturally I went straight to St George’s to join mum. Mum was strangely calmer that day; probably exhausted more than anything else. Probably also in shock. In any case, from that point on, the process of going through formalities takes over for a day or so and I was able mostly to lead on those. Numb still; my memories of the subsequent formalities are also a bit of a blur.

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