It's been a week now since dad died; most stressful experience of my life, without doubt. He was 83, and he had suffered from a debilitating condition for the last two or so years of his life. Even though on a theoretical level I had been anticipating my dad's death since he was diagnosed, when it finally came, it was too quick, and too slow.
We were fortunate and strong enough to have resisted the local GP's exhortations to take dad to hospital - and pump him full of IV antibiotics to treat him for a side infection. With her hands on her hips, sister Reggie, a nurse, firmly told the doctor that we'd care for dad at home, according to his wishes. It was very hard to resist the 'medical model'. The doctor would have liked us to surrender. "So, you're refusing?" she said. And that makes you feel like you're doing the wrong thing.
A palliative care team of doctor and nurse - very supportive of our decision - paid a visit; a plan was put into place I thought we'd have more time. I didn't think that my dad was about to die. Reggie knew though. It was an intense, extreme 48 or so hours for my mum, Reggie and I and our husbands and children. All of us hands on doing whatever it was we did to get through. My dad's death was his last gift to us; his last precious lesson.
So much has happened since then, and we've been in the eye of the storm and have just done what we had to do, especially to support my mum, who's lost the love of her life.
Today, Sunday, I'm back at home. The bleak Melbourne weather, and my mood, have set in. All my washing is sopping on the line. Yesterday, I couldn't wait to get home and involve myself in a routine task in my own space, having been in a crowded, tense house for the previous week or so.
I'm wearing worn track pants, a washed out long sleeved tee-shirt; slippers.
My mum is here with Al and I, trying to do her own thing now, without my dad to care for; without his company and assurance.
There's a vague scent of Christmas lilies hanging in the air, from two bouquets of flowers that were left on my front porch during my absence. On our return, four plastic wrapped copies of The Age were flung around the front yard . Invitation for thieves.
In a week I'm supposed to go away on an extended holiday which we've been anticipating for the past two years. Must get organised but can't even think about it.
Meanwhile, I've left my school in the lurch, because I can't face anything about it at the moment, yet I know that short of dying myself, there's no way I can leave without writing reports for the 75 kids I teach.
I would return to school if I could just be normal; if everyone would leave me alone. I don't want to have to engage with people's sympathy. Nor do I want to be vulnerable in the classroom; to break down; to project.
I hate this inertia on a quiet Sunday.
Apologies to Reggie and Jane for expressing this on a blog.