Daddy's Little Girl...

bellasaurus

11th September 2015...

The Emergency Room...

Dad says with tears in his eyes....

"Hold my f***ing hand would you?!"

That's when it started...

At this point, I just thought it was yet another trip up to the hospital to get the pain under control... How naive of me.

Me and dad had had a huge argument 2 days prior, and the only reason I even came home was because one of his friends called me telling me that he had never seen him look worse... and that if he didn't stabilize overnight, he would definitely have to go to the hospital... I spent 3 hours on a train home freaking out...

To back-track a little; my father had metastatic bowel cancer, started in his bowel July 2010; remission came in November 2010. Then; the cancer came back right after I had moved in with him (for the first time in my entire life it was just the 2 of us) August 2012... Just before his 55th birthday...

In his groin.

Chemo... Manageable cancer.

Then it spread; lungs.

Okay, still manageable... for now.

Then it spread further; brain.

Now I'm scared.

A mere 3 months after his radiation on his groin was complete (and they found the brain tumor) there we were... back in the hospital... Both scared because even though we'd been in the emergency room  plenty of times prior to this visit; something was different.

September 12; they put him in a room with another woman.

He was doing well. Still verbal, still the same grumpy old man I knew and loved...

September 13; having trouble moving around. Still verbal... nothing to worry about.

September 14; unable to move at all. Losing strength. Not eating. Sleeping a lot. Struggling to talk. Demand to see a doctor after waiting 2 days to speak to one... Doctor tells me he seems fine; I tell doctor she needs to get away from me immediately before I knock her out; and also that she needs to go back to med school because she is clueless.

September 15; My sister comes down because his decline is really showing. Me, her and my aunt have a meeting with the doctor; doctor tells us that all they can do now is keep dad as comfortable as possible... its real. I'm losing him. We sit by dads bedside for about an hour... he hasn't woken up all day... As my aunt leaves the room; dad wakes up. He has never had me and my sister alone in a room before. We both sit on opposite sides of the bed. He looks at the both of us; and uses all of his strength to take both of our hands into his, he lifts them up to his face and holds them to his cheek; kissing them one at a time. We sit in silence as he musters up the strength to speak... "I love you girls." he whispers. I try not to cry as I say "we love you too daddy... You have to hold on one more day though okay? We need to get a photo of the 3 of us; so you can take it and show nanna Dot and Aunty Janice (both passed), does that sound good?" He nods ever so slightly...

My sister leaves.

He turns to me...

"I'm tired. Get out for an hour so I can sleep!"

"Okay daddy, get some rest... I love you."

I give him a hug and kiss him on the forehead..

"I love you too; now go away." - the last words I ever heard my dad speak...

When I return that night, they move him to his own room.

I stay with him until about midnight and go home to sleep; not before talking to a nurse about getting some bedding in the room for the next night so I can stay with my dad as long as possible.

Wednesday, September 16th... THE day.

All day spent in the hospital with my father, my sister and my uncle.

Dad is completely unresponsive.

Sleeps all day.

We all sit and talk.

Me, My Sister and Our Father take our first family photo, ever... It's horrible. It would be horrible for anybody else to see... But to me, it's beautiful.

Everybody leaves.

I stay. All day...

At about 7:00 I get asked to go to my Youth Group because the youth pastor wants to talk to me about a potential job as a leader.

I look at my father, still sleeping...

"don't go anywhere okay daddy? I'll be back soon!"

I wipe his hair from his forehead, and kiss him on the head before I leave - as I did every time I left the room, if only for a minute.

9:35pm I arrive back at the hospital...

9:45pm I walk into the room... Room 14, ward 3.

I look at dad; his lips are pale.

He is still breathing.

I drop my bag, I run... literally straight into the back of the night nurse.

"You need to come with me right now. It's my dad!"

"I'll just go and get my steth-"

"No! Now! You need to come right now!"

I turn and run back to the room. The nurse right behind me.

He looks at dad, and feels his wrist for a pulse.

He looks at me...

"He's just hanging in there..."

I respond with a stupid question... Even though I know the answer.

"Will he make it through the night?"

"Honey, I don't think he will make it through the hour... I'll be back in a second, I'm just going to get my stethoscope."

I sit by his bedside, I push his hair back; I hold his hand...

It was all so real... 3 years of us battling; 3 years of just the two of us, crumbling right before my eyes... this was it...

I looked at dad, tears in my eyes...

"It's okay daddy, I'll be okay... you can go... Let go daddy, I will be fine. Stop fighting daddy... It's okay..."

And as a tear rolled down my cheek; I whispered the last thing I would ever say to my dad...

"I love you..."

Around 10pm The nurse comes back in...

He checks dads pulse... He looks at me with sorrow...

"I'm so sorry... hes gone..."

He closes my fathers eyes...

I cry.

I cry so much.

I call my sisters.

I say nothing to the first; all she responds with is "Send me a text with exactly where you are. I'll be there soon!" she left her nightshift without question and raced to the hospital...

I call the second... Again, I say nothing... I cant.

I hear her say to someone else; "I have to go right now..."

Then; I call my bestfriend...

Everybody is at the hospital within half an hour...

We sit in the room with my fathers empty vessel until 4:30 in the morning... We laugh, we cry, we hug... my sisters contact the rest of the family...

As I go to walk out the door, I kiss my father on the forehead once more...

"I love you daddy" I whisper...

"Thanks for waiting for me....."

I walk outside...

I hold onto my sisters for dear life, and weep...

We walk to the elevator and make plans for the next morning... I already had an appointment with the funeral home for the next day...

I decided to stay at my sisters house that night... We sat up until about 6:30am, just talking, and laughing, and crying... it was a rollercoaster...

8am. I finally doze off...

9:30am, I wake up... those blissful first 5 seconds when you wake up and remember nothing...

My other sister had arrived and was cooking breakfast...

I had a plateful of deliciousness right in front of me... I ate half a piece of toast and a single piece of bacon...

Off to the funeral home.

All of that is a blur.

Everything.

The entirety of the week is a blur.

The viewing is a pretty vivid memory... We dressed dad in a suit, a Hawthorn Football Team tie, and his Ugg Boots (his going out shoes)

They had his hair in a comb over... Who was this man before me? certainly not my dad... My oldest sister fixed his hair...

We sat and cried for quite a while... Dad held the photo we had taken in the hospital only a week before.

The funeral; mostly a blur.

I remember laughing at the jokes, and crying... a lot.

The worst part of it all was that; because it had been just me and dad for so long... It was on me to organize everything...

And because he paid the rent; I had to leave our home relatively quickly...

A month and a half later, and I am now living with my sister...

It's weird though, because I still feel like I'll be going back to my house soon and this is just a big sleepover...

One feeling I cannot shake though; is that of not knowing where home is...

The only way I can explain it is that; I'm a child... who's lost their parent in a supermarket... and I'm stuck... standing still; while everybody moves around me... All I want to do is find my daddy so we can go home. But I can't find him... And I'm not sure where home is anymore...

I don't know how long I will feel like this for... maybe forever..

All I know is that at the age of 20; I never expected this to be my life...

I have deferred university, I can't bring myself to go back to work...

I've lost my home, I've lost my father...

And I've lost myself...