My father-in-law passed away this week. We knew it was coming, he had been sick for a long time. In hospital for a very long time. It’s still a shock when it happens.
When I met him about 4 years ago, him and his wife welcomed me into their family with open arms. I could tell he was a strong, proud man. I could see the love he had for his son. And I could see the love he had for our children. They lit up his life. The smile on his face every time we visited was brilliant.
The last year or so, he has slowly been changing. He started having more falls, more accidents. At Easter this year he was admitted to hospital. He underwent his third open heart surgery. He was released from hospital the day before his 60th wedding anniversary. It was good to have him home for that. Shortly after, he was back in hospital.
He has been through it all. Heart issues, a stroke, broken hip, numerous surgeries, falls…the list goes on. When my husband was asked to decide on signing the ‘do not resuscitate’ we knew it was not looking good. He was placed in nursing home only to be taken back to hospital soon after.
My husband spent many nights and days by his bedside. Sitting there while his dad slept and drifted in and out, not talking. There were a few days where he was awake and chatty. Those where the good days. The decision came to remove him from all machines and medicines. He was moved back to the nursing home.
We saw him on Sunday, he smiled when he saw the kids. The news came through on Wednesday that he had passed away.
I told my mum, I had a cry. We haven’t told the toddler yet. We are unsure how to approach it. That will come in time. I’m sure he will start questioning why we don’t say, “we are going to see Pa” anymore.
We’ve spent the last two days out at my mother-in-laws, organising things. I helped her chose some clothes for him. It was a very strange thing to do. I felt he needed to be comfortable, so we chose some new socks. The outfit has gone to the morgue for him to be dressed. I hope we chose ok.
I can’t imagine what she is going through. They have shared a life time together. No one is married for that long anymore. The heartache must be unbearable.
It’s was hard to watch him while he was sick. I didn’t see him a lot as it was hard with the boys. Once when he was in rehab, we went to visit him. We were talking, he was trying to say the baby’s name. The stroke had affected his speech. We somehow got chatting about my husband. He said “I’m proud of him, I didn’t have hope for him when he was younger, but now I am proud of him.” I fought back tears. It was lovely to hear. The proud father, the pure love.
At our wedding, he did a speech. I think he was asked the day before or the day of to do one. It was a short but absolutely beautiful speech. I got incredibly lucky with my in laws. I’m glad I fell in love with their son.
Every now and then I look back through photos and come across one of him, mostly cuddling one of my boys. I’m glad I have them. I will remember the happy times. I will remember him, as frail as he was, getting down on the floor with the boys and playing. I will remember the generosity he has shown me and my family. I will remember him, a quiet, strong and proud man.
Rest in peace Alan, you will be missed.