The Diary of Losing Dad
By Emily Bevan
A bittersweet journey through grief – pieced together with diary entries and poems
Thursday, 19 September 2019
57% & a new excerpt.
To my first 200 supporters!
Thank you all so much for your generosity. With your backing I have now reached 57%! Apparently no Unbound campaign has made it to 50% without going on to get published, so this gives me great hope.
I really am touched by the love and support I have received thus far. As I go after this final 43%, it goes without saying that anything that you can do to help publicise the book within your networks would be so appreciated.
To celebrate reaching this point, I am sharing another short extract below. I hope you enjoy reading it.
10 September. 2013.
Dad is a bit distant, lethargic, and always tired. We’re worried that the light from his iPad is affecting his sleep, and are thinking about taking it away from him, but it feels cruel to do so. Frustratingly we don’t yet know what has caused his stroke. So far, the CT scans have been inconclusive due to the excess of blood on the brain, so we’re awaiting an MRI next week. We’re worried that the stroke could be related to his Renal Cancer but try not to dwell on it too much.
Instead, we take it a step at a time and quickly get into a routine. I start each day the same; getting up early, trudging with Boris along the laboriously muddy towpath, returning to make porridge and coffee. I enjoy the simple repetition of my morning activities, and find them strangely comforting; perhaps because I’m filling Dad’s shoes and that helps me to feel close to him. I do a bit of ironing, and generally potter and faff - wiping surfaces, stacking random pieces of papers into piles, straightening things out, channelling my anxiety into small domestic tasks. I sometimes even tidy Mum’s room for her, making her bed, folding and hanging her clothes which she leaves strewn about the place. This might seem like a bit of an odd thing to do, but she is always too tired to do it herself, and it makes me feel more in control to feel that she’s in control. We have lots of people to reply to, updates to send and phone calls to make. There is so much to do, day to day, that we coin the term ‘Dadmin.’
Word has got out of Dad’s misfortune, and we receive dozens of loving letters and emails every day. They come from friends, colleagues, ex pupils, family members - all urging him on. (Mostly with some kind of rowing terminology that eventually wears thin.) We read them out to him and his face pours with tears. It is like cartoon crying, where the tears shoot out vertically like water from a sprinkler. He cries and cries and cries. We debate whether he is crying in a positive way because he is touched and comforted or crying because he is sad. We fight about this because we all want to do the right thing by him and never know whether to go on, or to stop.
The visiting hours are between 2 and 8pm, so between Mum, Oli, Kate and I we try to cover as much of that time as possible. We do an early shift, and a later shift. Mum normally does the evening shift, coming in with a nutritious home-cooked meal for him. This is particularly decadent on Sundays, when Bevan Catering carefully decants all the elements of a roast into a thermal container, transported into hospital inside in a pristine floral tea towel. A kind of homemade Deliveroo. Even in hospital, Mum’s standards for entertaining remain high, and she keeps a basket full of china mugs, Twining's English breakfast tea, fresh milk & dainty biscuits for any visitors or family who may come by. She brings a little bit of Mill Cottage to his bedside. She is incredibly strong and completely at home on the ward, slotting straight into her nursing role. She plumps Dad’s pillows, tucks him in, brings him fresh pyjamas, fresh pillow cases that smell of home. The last task of the day is helping him to brush his teeth, wash his face and hands, brush his hair, and generally get him as comfortable as possible.
Mum is determined that he will recover, and it takes up every second of her day, every ounce of energy. She has almost forgotten about herself, has lost her appetite and is channelling everything into him.
Well done darling Em! you're getting there. I have good feelings about it and I will do my best to spread the word from up here on my Andalusian hill x
posted 19th September 2019