When we moved to Melbourne in 2005, the possibility that one of our parents might fall ill in our absence was a thought that didn’t enter our heads. We’ve been lucky I guess and spent 9 years travelling back and forth when we could and having our parents do the same. The past 18 months have changed all of that.
Alan’s dad’s death last week, even though we knew it was coming, brings the reality of the distance home to us. I (or should I say we) will be forever grateful that Alan went home last month with Poppy & Ruby. He was able to spend some time with his dad and importantly they were able to say goodbye.
I chatted to a psychologist colleague last week who described that phone call telling you someone is gravely ill as “all our worst fears realised” and that we go into a spiral of emotions and questions in our heads. Do they need my support right now or should I wait? Our immediate reaction is to drop everything and run without considering the impact to our day-to-day lives. She insisted we must never feel guilty for our decisions and that we do what is best at the time.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to travel home with Alan for the funeral so to all our wonderful friends and family who were there, I thank you for supporting him at a time when I couldn’t. Not being there was hard. The kids decided to write notes to Grandpa and we placed them in a glass bottle and threw them off the pier with some flowers. As they did it they each told me their favourite memory of Grandpa.