Sunday Scribblings prompt asks us to write about "The Call".
The call we all have to accept sooner or later.
I got the call late at night. It was after I had gone to bed and I was awoken by my husband who called me to the phone where I accepted "The Call" and was passed on to my Mum who gave me the news. Mary the lady at the hostel was sitting up with her and giving her support.
I made the appropriate phone calls, some then that night and a few more the next day. My sister was hard to track down because she was away from her home. She went to Sydney the next day to carry out arrangements etc.
I wasn't there.
I was stunned, though I knew that it was inevitable. I didn't go back to bed that night I sat up in the lounge room. Inevitable for us all sooner or later.
He had been receiving treatment in Sydney, radiation therapy, on a nasty lesion that had kept reoccurring on his poor chin. Good old Aussie sunshine had left it's mark on another victim.
I had seen him just a few weeks earlier and sat with him in the hospital. Spent a week there at the hostel nearby the hospital.
He couldn't shave his chin and it was really bothering him that he was untidy. I tried to very carefully trim some of the whiskers away from the lesion but it was too painful and he didn't trust me not to bump him there. He had become attached to a young nurse there and he wanted her to trim around there instead and I thought" oh well that's OK", she has his trust and she has more experience too. The heart attack came a few days later due to the effects of morphine used for pain relief.
We spent time together in the common room there, after noon tea and sessions with the other patients designed to share laughter and therefore relief from their respective situations. I told a joke and he watched the other patients faces as I spoke then grinned with pride when they all laughed at the punch line. Hahaha. Well I guess the other jokes were a bit tame compared to the one I told.
He said to me there, "How am I ever going to get your mother to stop talking?" and I said to him "If she hasn't stopped now she never will, that is just her". And he liked that too. He never said so, he wasn't very verbal, but the acknowledgement showed in his face.
On the last day I went to say goodbye. I was sorry to go but I was eager to get on the road and back to my children waiting for me at home 5 hours away from the city.
The doors were security doors and they closed and locked and you had to ring a buzzer to get back in. I said my goodbyes and he hugged me and went to kiss me but I drew away because the lesion on his poor chin smelt terrible and was weepy and I didn't want to get it on my face. I felt so bad about that. You can't imagine the guilt I felt afterwards. I went out the door and I knew right there and then that it was the last time I would see him. I turned around and started to go back for another hug and to kiss him, but the door had shut. He had turned away and headed back inside.
And I knew.
Mum looked at me and said "What is wrong?"
I couldn't tell her.
I put my head down and we went to the car.
I just wanted to get home to my children.
But I knew.
It is funny but, I knew when I saw his brothers and his sister, my dear Aunty Marion, in the same way, that it would be the last time I saw them.
My Dad has been gone for eleven years now. He didn't quite see the new millennium in. He died just short of a week after my birthday on 26th November 1999.
Good Night .