Anniversary of what, you might ask?
Why, the delightful time of the year when my father died is upon us again. All the clichés come to mind: it doesn’t seem a year, I feel like he’s still here, always in our hearts. They are trite but that doesn’t detract from their essential truthfulness.
I knew but didn’t know it was just about a year, if that makes any sense at all. I will never enter July again without being transported back into a horrible month of seemingly ever present low grey cloud but I have tried to block out a lot. I don’t want to remember the awful hands-on tasks that stripped his dignity. I don’t want to remember trying and failing to stop his pain. I don’t want to remember becoming the person he disliked most of all, simply because hating me was the only form of control he had left.
I especially don’t want to remember encouraging the hospice nurse to pump him full of everything she could, in the sure knowledge I was hastening his death. Logically, I was doing the right thing and there was no blame attached but viscerally? Ahh, there’s a different story. The guilt attached to making the decision that caused my father to die that day will never leave me.
(And isn’t that a run-on sentence?)
I’ve pretty much successfully managed not to think about the horror of that last day; of the pain and suffering he endured and that I frantically tried to relieve; nothing worked (and he struggled against me the whole time) until six hours later I could get a nurse in.
I do not need to have it all brought up again and I don’t need to be reminded of my father’s last day on earth.
But my stepmother doesn’t feel like this. She is having a dinner on that day and wants the family to come.
When she told me, at first I thought I’d misheard.
Did I get it right?
We are doing a DEATH dinner for Dad?
(Yeah, that’s not what she called it but, essentially, it boils down to that.)
My brother and his family are going. My husband and I obviously can’t not go once she told us this. But….
Am I the only person in this family that thinks this is as creepy as hell?
Yes, I’ll be there but this is the only time I will raise a glass on the anniversary of my father’s passing.
In future, maybe we could stick to his birthday?