Mum and Dad's passing
Iíd like to let you all know the circumstances surrounding Mum and Dadís passing away. As many of you know, Hilja, my Mum had been in hospital since the 12th of February, following a fall at home. She has been crippled by her arthritis for many years and her quality of life has been poor. Dad has been Mumís principle carer and we know that through Dadís illnesses over the past few years, it has been his love for Mum that has pulled him through those illnesses so he could get back to what he was best at, caring for his wife.
Mum took a much more serious turn on the 16th of February while still in hospital. While Iím not entirely sure what had happened to her, she was exhibited symptoms similar to a stroke. Her short term memory was not very good and she was quite often delusional. Dad went to the hospital, every day to be by her side and help her have her lunch. Karen and myself took in turns to be there at dinner times. The last time I properly spoke with Dad was on the Tuesday before he died. It was at lunchtime with Mum at the hospital. As I left, I gave Dad a pat on the back and asked how was he getting on. Of course, he said ok.
I do have regrets that during Mumís illness, I didnít keep a closer eye on Dad. On Thursday the 13th of March, Dad spent a much longer than usual time with Mum. When he left, he got in the faithful old Cortina but he didnít get very far. While still in the hospital precinct, he drifted to a halt. Some ladies ran to his aid and called for an ambulance as he drifted into unconsciousness. The hospital called me while they were trying to treat Dad and said it was very serious. I couldnít get through to Karen so I spoke with Kris who then spoke with Karen. We all then got to the hospital as fast as we could.
Dad never woke up. We were all by Dadís side when he passed away, he wouldnít have felt any pain. It was difficult explaining to Mum in her condition what had happened.
Dadís wishes were for a private family funeral. He was buried at Gunghalin lawn cemetery, in the ex-servicemenís area on the 20th of March on what would have been his 85th birthday. It was also the day the war started. Wendy, my half sister flew over from Perth. After the funeral, we went back to hospital to have a memorial service so Mum could participate and have a form of closure. She blew out a candle to signify the passing of Roy.
We then went down to Lake Burley Griffin where we planted a memorial Canadian Maple tree in a special spot. Highly illegal I know. It is close enough to a cycle path that I regularly use, so I can easily give it some water from the lake. There is a secluded park bench nearby. When the tree is more established, we will put a plaque there. It is a peaceful spot with lovely views of the lake and Black Mountain.
On the weekend of the 12/13th of April, Mumís condition worsened. She had difficulty eating and seemed to be a bit more aware of what was going on in relation to her. The last time I ever saw her awake was the Saturday evening.
The hospital rang early on Tuesday morning and said she did not have a good night. We spent time with her off and on through the day but at 9:00 pm, she had had enough. When we got to the hospital, a nurse had placed a flower in her hands and she looked at peace.
The quality of Mumís last years was not good. Though her body was crippled, her mind was active. She was the worldís best worrier. Considering her ailments, she showed much courage in soldiering on. Her inner strength was absolutely amazing. She can finally be at peace.
Mum was privately cremated on the 22nd of April. Her ashes will be put with Dad. Another tree to be planted down at the lake.
Thank you to you all for your words of kindness and support. It has made a huge difference. For me personally, it has been a tough 9 month period: with the car accident last year and having the car off the road for 4 months; the long hot dry summer, of course culminating in the Canberra bushfires; the actual trauma of the fires and my close personal witness of the devastation and suffering as a member of Rivers Volunteer Bush-fire Brigade. At least Mum and Dad did not witness George Bush and his cronies going off to war. Dad had always been a staunch Liberal voter. The next election was going to be the first that Dad did not vote Liberal.
My love and thanks to my family for sticking with me, I know it hasnít been easy. It has also been a blessing to have such a close relationship with my sister and her family.