Five years ago. I was in the living room doing the ironing. Mum was in the kitchen. Chris was upstairs.
The phone rang and I stopped what I was doing. I knew it wasn’t a good sign. Nobody really called during the day, and nobody called the house phone in the middle of the day.
It was the hospital. They wanted to speak to Mum. They wanted us to get there as soon as possible because Dad wasn’t doing good.
We got in the car.
I kept thinking that he was doing good the day before. How he looked me directly in the eyes as we said goodbye for the night. The doctors said that they would put him on a rehabilitation program. That we would plan all sorts of exercises and therapies for him, similar to others that had had strokes.
We got to the ward. The curtain around his bed was drawn. The doctors told us he had stopped breathing in the early part of the night. It was at that point I chose to shut off every emotion I had. I chose to go into nodding dog mode. Into ostrich with my head in the sand mode. Into pragmatic, what should we plan to do mode. Anything, but to deal with it that very second.
Then that night, when I got home, after 8+ hours in the hospital with family, and endless phone calls to the US and the Philippines, I got home and cried in bed.