Diary: 15th March 2021 – Anticipatory Grief

I am heartbroken and for the last three days I’ve been grieving; Whilst Stephen is still physically with us, I have to accept my dear Daddio has gone 💔

I finally got to visit him at the care home on Friday and the courageous, ridiculously intelligent, hilarious and loving father I knew wasn’t there.

He doesn’t even look like him anymore and so there will be no more photos or selfies, as it’s not how I wish for him to be remembered. His magnificent brain has been destroyed by this f-king disease and in the three short months he’s been in care, it’s taken the last few pieces of him I could hold onto. I realised today, that tomorrow will make it exactly 3 years since I started this diary. I never expected to be here so quickly.

As anyone who’s experienced the heart-wrenching journey of a loved one fighting a terminal illness will know, “anticipatory grief” (as I’m told it’s called) is not really talked about. It’s so complex and currently accompanied by the deepest pain I’ve ever felt. My head hurts I’ve cried so much in the last few days.

As painful as it will be, I will of course still visit him in the coming months, as I will never abandon him. However, I know that it will be to see the lovely kind ex-serviceman, Stephen, and not my personal hero and wonderful Daddy that I miss so so much 💔

Diary – 22nd December 2020: I’m Sorry, Dad.

For the last few weeks, my head has been constantly spinning; the progression of Dad’s illness has taken a catastrophic turn. I’m exhausted, constantly concerned, and above all else, heartbroken to see what this disease has done to my determined and courageous father.

On Friday evening, following a serious incident, the decision was made by his medical team and (reluctantly) myself as Power of Attorney, that he was no longer safe and his care package needed to be reviewed urgently.

The consequence of that is that today – just three days before Christmas and after the worst year to date – I have the heart-wrenching responsibility of packing a bag and driving Dad to a full-time care home, where he will stay.

To make it worse, because of Covid and Tier 4 restrictions, I don’t even know when I’ll be able to see him again; a fact I’ve purposefully omitted from discussions with Dad. Perhaps selfishly, because the magnitude of that fact, is just too much for me to take.

Deep down, as tears pour down my face, I know that this is the right decision, and the level of care and support the home will provide is beyond anything I or his current team could. More than anything, I hope he will be happy there.

But beneath the rational “positives”, I feel hurt and guilt on a new level and I just want to tell Dad that I love him and how sorry I am;

I’m sorry that I’ve had to lie to you and tell you it’s a ‘holiday’. I’m sorry I’ve had to take this choice away from you. I’m sorry I couldn’t get social services to move faster and support you to live independently for longer. I’m sorry we don’t get to have this final Christmas together. I’m sorry I don’t know when I’ll next see you.

I’m sorry I wasn’t stronger.

But I will be strong for you today. I owe you that.