Do I see my father before he dies

It has been many years since I have seen my father.

I know a little bit about his health which apparently has deteriorated in recent times and age is most likely against him.
So when I have a few moments to reflect I ask myself a question. Do I attempt to see my Father? It is something that causes quite a lot of turmoil in my mind because in some strange way I would like to see him, but then the reality of not being wanted as a child tells me why should I give him the pleasure of seeing me.
Should I let him go to his grave, that sounds harsh I know, but he has made no request to see me and I know I am not particularly hard  to get hold of.
The questions I ask myself are always the same.
Does he want to see his son?
Is he interested in what I am doing? My job, my life in general?
I have five children, his grand children does he really want to know them?
Would I upset my mum because after all she was left to bring me up with basically no help from him.
So the question is do I let him go to his grave without any sort of contact or do I become the bigger person and approach him to possibly see him for the last time.
The first option, will I regret not making the effort to see him before he dies or has time just gone on too long now to make a difference because although he is my biological father I don’t know him anymore.
It is one of the  biggest decisions I have ever had to make and the more I think about it the less sure I am about making the decision, but of course only I can decide. 
Inadvertently he taught me something about being a father and that’s don’t let your children down. Always be there for them and love them with all your heart because it is truly a blessing to have children. Something that seemed to have eluded him.
About 5 days after I wrote this post I had a phone call from my sister telling me that my Dad had only a short time left and if I wanted to see him now was the time.
I really didn’t know what to do I was emotional and couldn’t really speak something somewhere in the back of my mind was telling me to go to see him.
I knew he was heavily sedated and he wouldn’t wake to speak and even if he did he was in the latter stages of dementia so it wouldn’t have mattered. I really didn’t know what to expect and I suppose I was frightened of the unknown.
Nothing in this world could have prepared me for the moment that was going to unfold. I had cried many times on the car journey and constantly went over in my mind all the things I wanted to tell him and when I arrived at the nursing home I broke down even before I got to his room.
On entering the room I was shocked. I saw a rigid, frail old man lying on a bed with laboured breathing. I thought for a moment I would collapse. I was inconsolable. I remember just saying sorry dad. I am so sorry and I love you. Where has the time gone and my mind had gone blank I just didn’t know what to say.
I sat with my dad for about two hours, telling him about my life, how happy I finally was.
I showed him pictures of my wife and my five children (his grandchildren to him who I knew he would never know and they wouldn’t know him). That leaves me with a very heavy heart because not so much for him, but my children miss out having a grandfather in their life.
Whilst I was talking to him I had forgotten over the missed years how much I looked like him. It was almost like I had been cloned. Quite frightening, but also reassuring knowing where I came from
The emotional turmoil I went through over those two days was something I had never experienced before.
I couldn’t tell anybody that my Dad had died without crying. It was pure, raw emotion and yet I couldn’t work out why I was so upset as he wasn’t really the best father and I had a very sporadic relationship since the age of eight.
So what was is it that left me in such a distressed state?
I kind of worked it out that quite simply he was my Dad and nothing could change that. Blood really is thicker than water.
I will be forever thankful to a few people for giving me the opportunity to say goodbye to my dad, to hold his hand, smooth his head and kiss his forehead and tell him I love him. Had I not, I feel it would have haunted me to my dying day. I cannot turn back the clock nor probably wish to, but I will be eternally grateful for that time with him.
Over the next couple of days many thoughts entered my head. Strangely I thought I don’t even have a photograph of my dad – that has thankfully been rectified now. I have been told by my sister that there was a time we were a happy family. Unfortunately for me I was too young and really can’t remember any happy times.
The above picture is my dad holding me when I was four months old.
Some five hours after going to see my dad, he passed away peacefully. I will hold on to the fact that while I held his hand, stroked his head and kissed his forehead that he could hear everything I told him even though he didn’t react or wake and I truly believe he was waiting for me before he could go.
This post is written in memory of my dad.

74 thoughts on “Do I see my father before he dies

  1. Your post has made me cry. It is a spookily similar tale to the post ive published today, except in my story, its my mother.
    Im so glad you got to say your goodbyes to your father, and I hope the next few weeks and months wont be too hard for you xxx

  2. You did the right thing going to see him and you can tell your children all about him like we do with mum. Must have been such a hard decision for you to have made.
    Thinking of you today x

  3. I am so glad you were able to have those five hours. We were with our baby son when he died last year and although our situations can not to be compared, those last moments and the fact that I was able to be there for him, bring me so much comfort now. I do hope the fact that you were able to see your daddy those last few hours brings a bit of comfort too.

  4. I found this hard to read, mainly because I know that one day I will be faced with a similar decision, ( if something more sudden doesn't happen in the meantime). It's a tough one because I expect I'd feel the same as you did afterwards, but even knowing this doesn't make it any easier to do something about it before it gets to that point. I guess sometimes there are some things that really only do happen when time is running out…
    I'm sorry for what you've had to go through, but I think you are right in that it makes you a better parent, knowing what not to do – and your own children will never have to face that turmoil and such a hard decision to make.


  5. Thank you for sharing this story. It actually hits a bit of a nerve with me about my Dad. Not that he's not in my life as he is and he's brilliant. But before my brother and I were born he had another two families (he'd been married twice before meeting my mum and had three children from those marriages) and he hasn't been a part of their life's really since. It always makes me wonder what would happen if he was in the situation of your dad and his other children were you. It's really difficult to figure out what to do, etc. I don't even know if he'd want them to know. I hope this names sense but you should be really proud of yourself.x

  6. Well that was an emotional post! Made me cry. I'm so glad that you decided to go see your Dad and I'm truly sorry that he passed away. Whatever you do, please do not blame yourself for the relationship you had with your Dad – you had your reasons and what's happened has happened. But at least you got to see him, and made peace. x

  7. Glad you got to see your Dad and at least spend some time with him. I think some people aren't lucky enough to realise this and I can't imagine how horrible that would feel. I never thought of myself as especially close to my Dad, but I've missed him more than I expected since he passed away and I'm so grateful for the time I spent with him in the end.

  8. I'm so glad you went to see him Nigel. The way your emotions just bubbled over showed how there were so many unresolved issues and I think going will have helped. You won't regret it. I'm so sorry for your loss for so glad you could tell him everything. My Dad died of early onset dementia (not something I talk about a lot) but I was glad I could tell him I was pregnant. So sorry again and thinking of you xx

    1. So sorry about your dad Sarah it was a strange experiance but one I believe I will be thankful for in the future to be honest I have been overwhelmed by people's comments it has been so nice X

  9. I'm glad that you got closure. This must have been a hard post for you to write but thanks for sharing it.
    We think of our parents as just that and don't think of them being human beings in their own right – human beings that make mistakes. We have expectations of them and so often they are unable to live up to them. I think you did the right thing in going to see him. I hope you have found your peace and I'm sorry for your loss. MummyShambles #abitofeverything

  10. It is such a hard decision and it sounds like you made the right one. I was worried that we took our young boys to see my MIL. But I think it helped them understand, and I hope it made her happy seeing them one last time. Family is often complicated xxx

  11. This Nigel is a hardcore story. To be honest, I am finding it hard to comment as elements of your story are too close to home (my father, however, being alive). Nonetheless, I am glad you found peace. It seems like you made the correct decision. It can't have been easy. #brillaintblogposts

  12. I'm glad you got to see him and say your goodbyes. It these situations it's hard to know what to do for the best, but I think you would have regretted it if you hadn't and there wouldn't have been a second change.

    I'm sorry for your loss. Whatever the circumstances, the death of a parent is hard.

  13. Oh wow I got very emotional reading this post. When I began to read it I was thinking that you seem as if you did want to see your dad before you wouldn't have a choice and I am so glad that you did see him. I do not know about your life but I think that you will feel better knowing that you made some sort of peace with you dad. I definitely think that you would have so many regrets if you didn't. Thank you for sharing your story and my thoughts are with you and your family at such a difficult time in your life. x

  14. This is a bit heartbreaking but also lovely – I'm glad you got a chance to see him and make your peace before he passed. I'm sorry for your loss.

  15. This made me well up! I'm pleased you went to see him, I think you might have regretted it otherwise. I have seen a few patients in my time that have regretted not seeing loved ones, at least you had those moments with him. I'm sorry for your loss and hope you are at peace. Much love and thanks for hosting #binkylinky

  16. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I'm happy that you got to say your goodbyes, for all there was a rift between you, I think it would have been something you regretted if you hadn't had the chance to see him.
    Thanks for hosting the #binkylinky

  17. Oh wow. just wow. This is so sad. I am in tears right now. I have no relationship with my mother. She has always been in and out of my life and it doesn worry me when this day comes. She is 40 years old – young but with the amount of drugs and alcohol etc she has done and maybe still doing – I don't see her living very long. However, I have always thought – should I be the one to lift the phone up?

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  18. We cannot choose our families but we can choose whether to include them in our lives or not. Maybe your father was too scared to contact you in case you rejected him. You made the right decision to go and see him. Take care.

  19. Your post made me feel extremely emotional. My initial reaction was, yes go and see him, better to regret things you have done than things you have not done. I am so glad you saw him as it will have helped to heal both of you.

  20. I'm so sorry for the loss of your father! I'm literally crying while I'm writing this because I can feel all the emotions that have been through your head all this time!!! I can see how difficult it was for you to go and visit him but it was definitely the best thing to do. I guess because you didn't have the chance to have him as a proper role model all these years it is a a little bit of a mix feelings for you. I think the idea of saying good bye helped you get some closure to this subject. I'm sure he listened to you event hough he couldn't showed that to you. He definitely died in peace after seen you. I think he was pleased or maybe needed a goodbye from you. This is the most moving post I have read in a long time Nige. Thank you so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I'm very happy that you are back for this week. 🙂 xx

    1. It was a incredibly difficult decision but the right one it's strange but a couple weeks on I haven't fully processed all of it yet I will in time. Writing it down helped me deal with it so much better and I will always believe he heard everything and was waiting for me.
      Thank you so much for all your kind words xxx

  21. As I started reading this I could help but want you to go and see your dad, but not for his sake but for yours. I also remember thinking that it is completely your decision and that it isn't going to be an easy one. As I continued to read on I felt my eyes filling with tears and the more I read the tears began to fall. I'm glad you followed your heart and did what was right for you!xx #KCACOLS

  22. Oh bless you it's tough in life when they are alive and well you feel that pain but when they are passing away all is forgotten and you just want to be family again and you were for him. What a magical time to have before he passed. Glad you got that with him before it was too late. Lovely post. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me and hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round. #sharewithme

  23. I'm so glad you got a chance to say goodbye. We can't turn back the clock so we have to think of now, it was exactly the right thing to do. I'm also glad that he has made you such a compassionate person and a great dad. Thoughts are with you during this really difficult time.

  24. I think if you hadn't gone, it would have weighed heavily on you for a long time. Nothing can change the past, but if you were able to ease any of his possible regret by being there and not holding onto those feelings of resentment it was worth it in the end, IMO

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