Saturday, 25 October 2008

Goodbye

My father, who was a male nurse, called pneumonia ‘the patient’s friend’. It makes it touching, I suppose, that pneumonia made friends with him on Wednesday and that their friendship lasted until noon today, when my father quietly passed away in his sleep.

I don’t know why I write this now, except I’ve been writing something like this in my mind for the last twelve weeks. Writing, as I’ve said before, is the only way I know to channel my emotions, even as I sit here in my chair, wet with tears and trembling with such profound sadness that I really find it hard to know how life ever goes on. I don’t know how I will go on.

The irony has never been lost to me that as one successful Richard promoted a book about fathers that this unsuccessful Richard such be living out the worse twelve weeks of his life. Yet the greatest support throughout this difficult time has been my father. His wisdom, his words, his laughter and his spirit: they all made the difficult times much easier to bear.

For nearly three months, we’ve lived with the situation of his illness. From the moment he suffered a sub-arachnoid haemorrhage back in June – the hottest day in the year – there hasn’t been a day which hasn’t been filled with anxiety, sadness, and great pity. Yet there had always been hope. The haemorrhage left him without speech but over the last few weeks he had been making progress. It was progress we hoped would see him escape the hospital before the flu season. In that time, I have seen him smile and laugh. He said important things to us, even if the words didn’t come and all we had was the imploring look of love in his bright blue eyes. I can still feel his lips on my cheek from the first kiss he had given me since I was a child. If there is a single significant event in my life, it was that moment when I felt him stretch up from his hospital bed and kiss my cheek.

Yet even as we thought things would get better, it was as though he knew what was coming. All his life he was susceptible to chest infections and, two weeks ago, I think he knew what was in his future. I was sitting by his bedside, my mother on the other side, when he took my hand and hers, and placed the two together. I didn’t want to believe what he was telling me. But my father knew better. He understood what it means to be in a NHS hospital in winter. My greatest guilt is that my ridiculous hopes of being a writer meant that I never had the money to get him private medical care. I will carry that guilt with me forever.

It makes it all feel so wrong that it was a chest infection has now taken him from us. I want to say things about the NHS, the superb treatment he received at one hospital, the deficiencies of another, the wonderful staff we met at both, but now isn’t the time.

I suppose I just wanted to write one last post and bring my blogging career to an end as I face an unknowable future. I now have people to support and idle dreams are suddenly so selfish given this new reality. Yet everything I have ever written or tried to write, I wrote to honour my father, Frank. He was the kindest, gentlest, most humble man I have ever had the privilege to know. I will miss him more than these frail and ridiculous words can ever hope to convey.

David

38 comments:

elberry said...

i am sorry, both for you and your father. i hope you continue to write in some form, and i hope you remember your father well. In Gladiator Maximus exhorts his men: "what we do in life echoes in eternity" - i'd also say, what we do in life echoes in the memories of those who come after us, so let your father echo well, as good men should.

Lola said...

Oh, David, my heart goes out to you. Ever since reading your blog early in my blogging career, I've come back again and again to be amused, shocked, baffled, touched, but mostly entertained. I'm sad that you've decided to 'out' yourself, I'm so sorry that you're not going to carry on, but mostly I grieve that you've lost such a wonderful parent and friend. That pain will surely take a long time to lessen, but when it does, maybe we will hear from you again. I hope so. In the meantime, my thoughts and best wishes are with you, my friend.
Ruth

Barbara said...

Words always seem so insignificant in these situations but I'm sorry for your loss.

Nige said...

Oh David I am so so sorry - my heart goes out to you. There are no words of course, tho it is wonderful in its way that writing helps you, as it did me when it was my turn. And I too had that kiss, and know how much it must mean to you. Please try not to burden yourself with any guilt. It's clear from everything I know of you that your father had a very fine and very loving son. You are in my thoughts and prayers, truly...

katyboo1 said...

There is nothing to say that will make it better, but I am thinking of you and hoping fervently that you find your way through this to a place of peace. Thank you so much for cheering up so many of my days, even when it is clear that you have been going through some horrendous ones of your own.
Love, Kx

percy stilton said...

"Behind every man alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth
Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man and woman who has ever lived, in this universe there shines a star."

Peace & Light to you & yours David
..David Percy

bertas said...

Dear David,

I'm so sorry, truly I am. I cant even imagine how sad you must be and
I know it wont help much, but my thoughts are with you and your family.

ALMOST MRS AVERAGE said...

David, I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. Losing a parent is one of the most difficult things to suffer. My dad died just before my 5th birthday and despite the fact I was so young to experience the loss of a parent, I can't help thinking it is much harder as an adult when you have so many more memories and a longer and stronger bond. Blogland won't be the same without you and I hope that one day you will find the strength to return. In the meantime, I hope you find the comfort and support amongst your friends and family. With very best wishes, Karen

Posh Totty said...

David, I am so sorry to hear of your loss and I am thinking of you during this difficult time Xxx

Amy said...

This is the post I hoped would never come. Words are trite in situations like this, but you are in my thoughts. Take care of you and yours.

J said...

Thanks David, and take care.

Mark said...

Very sorry to hear this news. Your father had the best of sons.

Bryan Appleyard said...

Go with God, David

Susan B. said...

David, all my sympathy. Your father had the best of sons, you had the best of fathers. I'm sure he would want you to keep writing, too; parents are delighted when their children "find their bliss," as you found yours. I wish I had a father like yours.

James Higham said...

My sympathy is also with you. Be strong and believe all will be well for him.

Brit said...

My condolences. Thanks for all your brilliant blogging.

Ethel said...

I'm so sorry.

lee said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, David. Sending kind thoughts your way which probably won't count for much when you must feel that the bottom has dropped out of everything. All the very best to you xx

Welsh Girl said...

Dear David, I'm so very sorry to hear your news of your father's passing. My thoughts are with you and your family at this most heartbreaking of times.

I don't know if your father knew of your blogging alter ego, but if he did he must have loved the fact that he had a son who made strangers laugh, think, and come together in the ether. I'm sure he would have felt blessed to have a son with such a gift.

I'm so very sorry that this day has come.

Welsh Girl xx

BANDOLINO KID said...

So sorry to hear your sad news David. Thank you so much for the smiles and mad fun you've given us on here - it will be greatly missed.

Dick Madeley said...

Obviously, too make comments to reply to them individually, but thank you all of you for your kind wishes. They help now and will help me in the future when I decide what to do next.

ladythinker said...

I've not been blogging a while and just popped over and found your last sad post. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Sending you a cyber hug.

Jillydoc said...

Dearest David,
I am so sorry for you and your family's loss. There is never enough preparation whether it is expected or not. I am certain that your wit, humor, compassion, humanity and just plain kindness will see you through this difficult transition. You did the most important thing a son can do for his father, you found what makes you happy, which makes him happy; and you showed up for him, just as I suspect he will continue to do for you.
Hugs to you and yours.
Jillian

Author said...

David,

I am very sorry to hear about the death of your father. My own father died in 2006 and it devastated me - far more than I could ever have imaginedot would. So I think I am able to understand a little of what you may be going through. My heart goes out to you.

Your father sounded a fine man, and death cannot take that away. He will remain in your heart and memory always as that fine man.

To live in the hearts of those you love is not to die.

mutleythedog said...

I am so sad to read your post. Please do carry on writing when you find the inspiration...

Joey Joe Joe Jr. said...

Dick, (how could I call you any other now?) my thoughts are with you. Please let us Appreciation Society Members know of your next (perhaps more anonymous) position as the bloggocube's foremost thinker/jester/poet. I know this is a tough time for you, and my prayers (for what they're worth) are with you. But the webbosphere will be a much, much, poorer place without you.
Lots of love, JoeyJoeJoe. xxx

Don said...

I sometimes find it curious that the age old way of things that children lose parents cannot in any way ease our suffering when it happens to us. I have been thus far fortunate despite some close calls, but it know it is inevitable, and I'm already red-eyed just reading your account. I hope you will find that your father is still with you in many important ways, and you take comfort in his love for you. Goodbye and good luck in everything!

Posh Totty said...

Just popped in to let you know I am still thinking of you Xx

Andrew said...

David,
My sincerest condolences on your loss. You have done your father proud with these beautiful words. Please do not feel ashamed of your writing, you have shown a rare and genuine talent through this blog and have never failed to make me laugh out loud, or simply marvel at a skilful turn of phrase. And I know there are many who will echo my sentiments.
Good luck with whatever your next move may be, i know that all your readers will be keen to keep following your writing.
My thoughts are with you at this time.
Andrew

Jerry Caesar said...

David I'm terribly sorry for your loss, I hope you can find some small comfort as time goes on. You're in my thoughts and, by the looks of it, of so many others.

Anonymous said...

God bless, David.

Welsh girl puts it very succinctly below. One would hope that one day you'll return to entertain us with your crazybonkers satire -but for now, go easy on yourself;all those of us who have been in similar places will know of your pain and are behind you at this most difficult of times.

My thoughts are with you and your family.

Sharon.

Dick Madeley said...

Just to say an additional thank you to the people who have left comments in the last few days. It's been a source of great comfort to me and my family.

I hope to come back to blogging in the coming weeks, just I'm not sure in what form. I never realised how much I'd miss writing this blog and hearing from all of you...

Black Cat said...

I'm so sorry David. Your father was clearly a fine man, with a fine son! I do hope you decide to come back to blogging. I have enjoyed your writing so much and so have many others. {{{{{HUGS}}}}} xxx

Monika said...

Hi Richard, your blog will be missed. Sorry for your loss.

Dick Madeley said...

I'm really touched by all these comments and by the emails. Many thanks for everybody. As you can see, I've decided to carry on with the blog. Life has been hard enough but I've missed this place and having contact with so many kind people. Thank you all.

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