jafwords

@jafwords (On TWITTER)

Normality in Death

It is now thirteen days since my dad died, and six days since we buried him. They say "Time is a Great Healer"; I know in some ways that is very true. As time progresses the loss seems that little bit less and life will slowly turn back to an adjusted normality. To be honest I am not there yet.
My mind is not filled with questions of faith; as you know from reading my blog I have faith and losing my father has in no way shattered that. I believe my dad is with God, and it was God who had a greater need for him than we do. (I am sure some will roll their eyes at that notion but others will know exactly what I mean). I am having problems with the physical aspect of death, death on a human level. Surly my scientific brain should kick in and help me adjust...but it hasn't yet.

In some ways I feel childlike. I have a nephew who, in his young age, is still processing the loss of his Papa. He can sense the sadness that surrounds us all, he knows his Papa has gone away but still can't understand why he can't just phone him. Perhaps this is normal - but in many ways I feel the same way. My dad isn't there anymore - the memory isn't enough. Now when I want to see my dad I have to look at a photograph or watch a video I had taken of him. I can't do what I want to do, which is simply sit it a room with him. We didn't have to speak, we just sat - watched TV. Even trying to put it into words is very hard to explain...this will of course lead others to say...he is still there with you. Yes I get that...but the physical loss is still horrible.

Unfortunately, with death comes business. Sorting out the affairs of a loved one is horrible, as all of as sudden you are thrusted into to deal with their personal business. It is amazing how many things we put our name to as we progress through this world. Passport, driving license, car ownership, mobile phone contracts...the list just goes on and on. However, the worst bit is for the one left to deal with these accounts when you are gone. Not that my dad left anything in a mess...nothing could be further from the truth...both my mum and dad were well prepared people and they sorted out their private business in an excellent way. It is simply the matter of closing or transferring the name of the accounts solely to my mother. Every company I have dealt with so far have been great and understanding - and the policies they have in place for loss and bereavement have been top notch. However, its understanding what they are doing that hurts - They are taking the name "John Ferguson" and pressing the delete button. That seems to be how easy it is to delete the record of my dad's existence. Everything I did yesterday felt like I was eliminating him more and more from this earth.

I know my dad was more than that - but the action still hurts. Perhaps time will be the great healer...it won't be the same but I pray that it will get easier.

I decided to do something today to honour my dad - of course I doubt he will find this funny never the less I did it anyway. My dad just loved to watch sport - even when he was alone I could hear him voicing his concerns to the TV over the style of play of what he watched. With the Australian open coming up I know my dad would have his heart set on watching Andy Murray take another Grand Slam. I guess my dad will have an even better seat in the house to watch the game now and I can imagine him shouting "Come on Andy"...just as he did upstairs when sitting alone watching the game.

So dad...just to let you know...I have put a 'fiver' on Any to win! Can you do us a favour and as the big man to give him a little bit inspiration - or better yet - you give him the inspiration! Cause I know you can.

Sorry about the rant today folks...decided to let my mind wonder and my fingers type.
My love you to you all and happy reading.


Jafwords          

For my Daddy...

I should probably have used this blog entry to write something positive about 2015 but sadly, at this time for me and my family, I need to write something else. You see 2014 was a year that ended in a really hard way for us.

Back in August of 2013 my Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of Bile-duct Cancer - I am afraid I can't actually remember the real name. Originally we had been told that the tumour was on one side of his liver and an operation was to be conducted, which would save his life. Spent that summer preparing for that day he was going to get the operation knowing that the next 6 months would be hard during his recovery.

We came to the end of August/Early September and my dad was asked to go back into for some minor keyhole surgery as the surgeon wanted to have another look. The warning bells had been ringing then but had been ignored until the results of the scope came back and then our lives were changed forever.

I phoned my mum to ask her how it went...She was silent, only giving minor snippets of information...but in the background I heard my dad shout out in his usual laid-back jokey way "Tell John Anthony he won't need to buy a new car." I was told his cancer was terminal and his life expectancy would be a year.

He started to receive chemotherapy as a way to try and extend his life and although the first round had no effect, the second at least showed signs that it halted the progression of the main tumour. My dad was a deeply spiritual man and after a successful career as a Fireman/Officer he had been ordained  as a Permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. (My wife and I would have been the first couple in the Paisley Diocese to have been married by a father, and probably only the second in Scotland). My dad's faith, along with the prayers of all those around him helped to sustain his life well beyond the year estimate that had been given to him. We were truly blessed and fortunate to have been given one more Christmas with him.

Then last night, Hogmanay as we call it in Scotland, New Year's eve - at 8pm my dad finally let go and gave himself over to be taken by God - my Mum and Dad's faith has brushed off on me.

His last day was spent in relative peace. In fact when I think about it; his life ended in the most appropriate way anyone could hope for. Although, family had gathered in the house we had remained downstairs as my mum had suddenly taken unwell. This prompted her to just go into the room with my dad and sleep. At the end both him and my mother were together in the most calm and peaceful way imaginable. I had come upstairs to check on him and peered my head through the door. I could see my dad's chest was no longer moving and I knew it had happened. I woke my mum and told her that it had finally happened and my dad was now at peace and pain free.

Last night I lost the most important man in my life, someone who taught me all of life's important lessons. I could not have asked to have had a better father and I hope than one day I can even just do a fifth of what he had done. He has saved lives, he protected his children, he loved his grandchildren, he was a minster to a wide faith group, he was a kind and thoughtful friend to so many, he could fix about anything (or at least give it a go), he loved climbing up ladders (always a fireman), he loved his garden and he was a loving husband to my mum...and there was an odd sense of humour there as well. (Sending my mother out on Christmas eve to buy 8  torches for his wife, children and their wives as he saw them on a TV ad and just thought they were really handy to have...we were even told to gather around his bed as if he was about to read out his will to us when he gave us the present - that makes me laugh so much). He never complained much, unless it had to do with Celtic losing, or if he thought the price of alcohol and soft drinks was too high! He was simply a true gentleman...

There is that saying about what the world has lost...but you know what? My Dad didn't live in the whole world...he lived and worked in a parish community in Coatbridge and I know that area of our town has been in mourning since they heard what they have lost. He was my daddy and a daddy to my two older brothers and although his physical body is no longer with us - I know his spirit remains as a watchful guardian over us all.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. 
Amen

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Normally, I would sign off my blog as jafwords but today I will sign off with my full name, the name my mother gave me so that one of his children would be named after him. The name of my website will always be my personal shrine to him. 

To you all I wish you the very best of peace and happiness in the year 2015.

John Anthony Ferguson.