It happened so fast and I keep wondering whether it surprised you too. That Friday morning, I wore a flattering flowering top and long fashionable blue sweater. I thought to myself that my sweater would perhaps cheer you up from the white walls and constant beeping sounds of the machines. “Fanne,” you’d most likely say, “Is this your baby’s blanket? Did you turn it into a sweater?” and we would laugh and laugh.
But this would never be.
We got to hospital rather early and after dropping Uncle Martin and mum, I suddenly felt sick in the stomach. I felt the need to urgently go to the bathroom, only this feeling was accompanied by panic and fear. I remember wondering to myself if this was a sign that something bad was happening somewhere. Was it you? Were you trying to tell me something?
My workplace was just five minutes away so I drove off with a promise to be back in case anyone needed me. I was careful not to cause any trouble on the road because I only had you driving license in the car. Your car. At the office, I went straight to the bathroom and wasted the next five minutes wondering why my bad stomach had suddenly run dry. I remember pointing at the walls and exclaiming out loud that this had better not be a sign that something bad was going on.
A minute after I got out, Uncle called me and asked to come immediately. “There’s no hope, Fanne, you need to come right away.” I didn’t think. Not just yet. I picked my phone and the keys and drove off in an instant. This time, it didn’t matter if the cops got me. I needed to get to you. I thought I could see you one more time; see you before the hope was all gone. Maybe I could change your mind or give you a reason to keep fighting.
The fear that I saw in Uncle’s face when he stepped out of your room for me was enough to raise panic inside me. I heard mum’s wail of despair I knew I could be late. I ran past him, just as he urged me to remain strong and pulled away the curtain that separated your room from the rest. I looked past mum and the two nurses who comforted her…
There you lay, sprawled, lifeless, gone.
The machine on the wall was beeping noisily, as if also in panic mode. The heartbeats I counted were now replaced by a constant flat line.
Blood pressure- None
Your oxygen mask lay beside you on the bed. That mask that for the past four days eased your breathing. There was a needle hanging on the side of your neck. It looked like it had been painfully jabbed in. Another also hang from between the thumb and index finger of your left hand. What was this for? Did it hurt? I remembered how on Tuesday, in the emergency room, you complained to a nurse that they kept giving you too many jabs. I saw them too and assured you they only meant well.
Now looking at your face, I saw a strange look. You looked different when lifeless. It’s as though you had peeled out of your skin and left. “Where are you, daddy? “ I remember crying out, pulling at your jabbed hand.
You were so cold.
I had walked in just 10 minutes after you died, dad. Or was I wrong? Why were you so cold so soon? Had you started dying much earlier? Did you know this would happen? Did the doctors know? Why wouldn’t you give me a sign? Daddy? Why would you leave us with so many questions? I was angry, scared and completely shaken. Seeing you dead was unreal. I lost a chunk of myself and became numb. I realized mum was still crying and thought I needed to comfort her. She saw it all, dad. Less than a minute after your heart stopped, she was in your room like God needed her in with the doctors. She went down on her knees and while they tried to bring you back she was praying relentlessly. She watched you let you go, dad. When you raised your hand, as if saying goodbye…she was there, praying for you.
Mom, Moraa, Jared, Brian and I….We felt lost, rootless and misplaced. We felt like the earth would chase us out of it because we no longer belonged. How could we call it home when home is where you are? But where are you, dad? Where did you go? Are you happy? Is it better than earth? We have sought these answers for the last 27 days and I still don’t have a solid answer.
The only one thing I’m hanging on to is the prayer that I whispered when I was alone in that room with your lifeless body. It was scary at first, but a silent voice asked me to stay on and earn my peace. So I did and the incredible peace that came over me when I asked God for His assurance seemed to give me a hint of what you were experiencing. It was as though He was assuring me that He was aware and that he needed you back with him.
If you had only waited 27 days, you would have been 60 today and we would have surprised you with another passion fruit cake. Go well, daddy. We know what you have is far better than what we would offer you here. We will only hold on to the memories of all the times, good and bad that we shared.
It was real paps.
Fly on. Till we meet again.