Life – Terror. Ecstasy. Fight. Denial. Flight. Failure. PAIN. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Hope. Love. Peace – Death.



Only hours after dad had died, a nurse told Carol this….

Dad was recovering in hospital after a heart attack and then a pacemaker procedure. He was not well, turns out closer to death than everybody thought. In the end, he died, quite suddenly from another (unpredicted) heart attack.

A nurse told Carol, that just before he had died, close to death, he got himself into a real panic, very upset that Carol wasn’t about. He had just been transferred to another hospital after having the pacemaker fitted, we all thought he was on the road to recovery.

Suddenly, he began pleading with a nurse to listen to him, she said it felt like a confession. He was very concerned that he would soon be reunited with ‘Nancy’ (mum), he was worried she would ‘not have forgiven him’ and would reject him.

I believe he was worried because when she had died he had agreed (under medical advice) to have switch any life support systems off, he had allowed her to die.

I guess he had a, sudden, overwhelming sense of guilt.

Mums death was a relief, that’s what it felt like, I was relieved and in the short term, my life was improved, it was better than when she was alive. I got to eat chocolate biscuits, could stay up/out late, I was fussed over by concerned friends and relatives and there were no more drunken fights and sleepless nights at home.

I was told that mum ‘had just given up on life’, she had no more fight left to give. I had asked why I hadn’t been able to see her, that I would have liked to tell her ‘not to give up’, that she had me, how could she give up?

Dad (and Carol) seemed surprised (and upset) by this, that I wanted and would have done that. It was a real oversight that I am sure, dad instantly regretted, not taking me (or Carol?) to see mum for a last time? Guilt.

Dad, I am sure also had feelings of relief when mum died and later on felt guilty at allowing himself to feel that way.

My own grief came at least two years later, completely unexpectedly, from out of nowhere. I was suddenly, completely overwhelmed by immense grief coupled with guilt over mums death and my lack of (genuine) remorse at the time.

It was explosive, powerful I had never felt anything like it before, nor afterwards.

I can remember it like it was yesterday, I was laying in bed trying to get to sleep and this huge sense of loss just came over me. I sobbed for what seemed like hours, grieving mums difficult life (and death), trying to reconcile my own feelings of relief at her dying.

The large waves passed but the overall feeling lasted for several days. I have never told anyone that it happened. I don’t think Carol or Dad noticed. At the the end of it I had fully realised the gravity of not having a mum anymore. 

It seems like Dad’s guilt had not been fully reconciled right up until just moments, before he died, he had finally (confessed), faced his demons.

Thanks for reading


Published by Riff

Husband to my inspirational, (long suffering,) wife Gail, father to two, amazing (adult) children, Aubrey & Perri, teacher, former guitarist. When I started this blog I quickly became granda(r) to my beautiful, first grandson Henderson. Grandparenting, something I was relishing but had began to believe I would not get to experience. I now have three incredible grandsons, Henderson, Fennec and just days ago Nate. I Love people. I love my family, my incredible friends, I have love(d) what I do (my Job), I love Music, Glastonbury Festival, Cars, Everton .... I love many things but, most of all, I fucking love life.

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