In the beginning, when the virus hit, my father died. I wasn’t even able to hold his hand as he passed. I wasn’t allowed in the hospital. Instead he died alone among strangers. I had always pictured being by his side. That was how it happened in my mind. Me holding his hand, so he knew I was there.
In reality, he died alone. A man who so fervently loved me and my son, who would’ve likely called out for one or both of us at the end, but it ended up his words fell on only strangers’ ears. How can I sit quietly with that.
I do not.
The virus stole that moment from me. A moment that I will never get back.
On the phone with the doctor I made the decision to let him go. I had that authority, and I made it. And though I thought it would be easier because I knew I was choosing what my father would’ve wanted, it was not easier at all. I made the decision for the doctors to let my father die. I have not been the same since.
He was right to give me the authority, he knew I would honour the way he wanted to end his time here with us, but at the same time a part of me died with him. I see and feel that now. A part of me hardened that day and all the subsequent days thereafter. The part of the daughter inside of me that said, yes let my father go. And as I sat waiting for the next phone call, the one I knew would not be long coming, I waited. As the heaviness of the decision moved through me, I waited. And I was right, the call was not long coming. A few short hours later, he was gone. And I had chosen it. His death was at least partly because of me. And that is how it sits inside me still.
The virus did not steal my father, he died of old age, a natural death I suppose, but the virus stole my moment of communion with his body and soul as he passed. And because of that I really hate the virus and what it has done to me, what it has made me do and what I’ve become.
Because I am harder now and can make more difficult decisions, but at a cost I would’ve rather not paid.