I lost my Dad when I was Pregnant is a guest post by Lisa Cornwell at Mummascribbles.
Pregnancy can be a tough time. An emotional time. A draining time. Throw in the terminal diagnosis of a parent though and well, it can be a really crappy time.
My Dad died when I was Pregnant
I was four months pregnant with my first baby when my dad was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour in 2012. He died just three months later in a hospice while he was sleeping. The whole thing was quite simply horrendous. From the doctors initially thinking he’d had a stroke, to him having brain surgery in a London to hospital and to turning up at the hospital one day to find my sister outside waiting for me because she needed to tell me that he only had months to live.
I still remember kissing him goodbye when I left the hospice the evening that he died, thinking that I’d be going back the following morning to spend another day with him. When I would spend more time reading to him and playing his favourite CD’s. But instead, I received a very early morning phone call from my mum to tell me that he’d gone.
Of course, as soon as that phone rung me out of sleep, I knew what news I would be greeted with at the other end. He had clung onto life for longer than they expected (I’m talking days rather than weeks) and so I knew it was coming. It didn’t help that initial blow though when I heard the words.
When I look back at how I got through that time in my life, it almost feels like it didn’t really happen to me. Even though I know it did because dad isn’t here, it just all feels really surreal.
There were a few key things though that really helped me through:
They were simply amazing from the moment that we knew dad was ill right through to the beautiful bouquet they sent me after he passed. I think that because I was pregnant, they took extra care of me but when dad was moved into the hospice, they simply told me not to bother with work. There was no question as to whether I would be paid or not, I was simply told to go home and to not go back until I was ready. I know I was very lucky but having that support there from the workplace was really key for me.
My family being honest with me
This was so important. Obviously with me being pregnant, there were times when they questioned how much they should be telling me, how much they thought I should be dealing with. I told them outright that I didn’t want them to keep anything from me and they didn’t. It was so important to me to know everything that was happening so that I didn’t feel left out. I needed to be in the know as much as they were.
They were just incredible. On the day my dad died, one of my best friends was having her 30th birthday party. I knew that dad would have wanted me to go and with the blessing of my family, I did. For a few hours I managed to forget everything until Bohemian Rhapsody came on, I started to sing along and I broke down. They were there holding me up though, accepting the mascara stained tears and the terribly snotty nose on their party clothes!
My other half
Last but very not least, I couldn’t have got through it without him. I was spending all of my time at the hospice with dad. From morning to evening when I popped home for dinner and then I’d go back to the hospital until bedtime. He always had dinner on the go for me. Always had a hug and smile. And a rub of the tummy for his baby. I know that I wouldn’t have got through it without him. He held me up throughout the funeral and he looked after me in every way he could.
I would not have got through the whole ordeal if it hadn’t have been for those incredible people that I had surrounding me. I knew all along that I had to be strong, that I had to look after myself for the baby. It isn’t like I could have a drink to drown my sorrows (probably a good thing), I needed to rest and get sleep. All of them helped me do just that.
Dad has been gone for almost five years now. There was a time when I would cry if I sat down to write about it. A time when I would cry just thinking about him. A time when I thought that I would never ever not be sad about it. And of course I am still sad.
I am sad that I lost my dad when he was only 64. When he should have still had so much life ahead of him. I am sad that he never got to fully enjoy my pregnancy experience, that he couldn’t get excited about it and that he basically shut himself off from even talking about what was growing inside of me.
I am sad that he never got to meet my boys. That he never got to see me buy a house.
I will always feel like I was robbed, like he was robbed. But with each passing year, it has got easier.
Time really is a healer and I still have the odd cry. While I still have a huge lump in my throat when I sit and write about him, it’s now easier to think of the good times we had rather than those horrible few months. Easier to think of him how he was before the tumour took over his brain. My darling dad before he got ill. He was a good’un.
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If you have lost your dad when pregnant I hope this post brings you comfort.