My blog post has been a while in coming and I think may be a little cathartic for me. For something different it’s not about epilepsy, it’s about my dad and the roller coaster of the last six weeks.
A month ago I said the words “do I really need to learn any more lessons” yep I did. I said this statement after finding out my dad would have to have open heart surgery. His heart went caput and he was in major heart failure. Things that should have been picked up over a year ago weren’t and now he had gone from a healthy man to a very sick man in a short space of time.
The roles were reversed no longer were my awesome parents supporting our family but it was our turn to help support them.
I have watched my girls be incredibly resilient over the last eight years with their epilepsy. Watching my dad the week prior to his surgery and ever since his tinker heart fix up. Lesson One was that now I know where that resilience comes from its genetic. I watched my mum step up to the plate and take on a care role and have to learn and advocate for things really quickly and I watched my dad have the attitude that we have all had over the years which was. ” Things are going to be okay, we just have to get through this”.
Now that’s not saying there weren’t tears there were masses of them and that was Lesson Two. It’s okay to let it out, it’s okay to think the unthinkable, it’s okay to say the things you don’t want to say the things you don’t want to miss out on telling someone. I got given the opportunity to tell my dad exactly how much I loved him and what an awesome dad he has been and still is (phew). Crying it out, screaming it out and swearing it out. It’s healthy and I don’t think I would have coped so well if I didn’t allow myself to do just that, let it all out and then get back up and keep on going.
Mum and Dad have gotten an insight into our lives and ours into theirs. Lesson Three was to walk in someone’s shoes is to understand them. I now finally understood what this meant. I think I am a pretty empathetic person but I truly did not comprehend certain things. My best mates have been dealt some big blows in the last 5 years and although I could empathise I never fully got it. Watching my dad struggle to keep his oxygen up, be in an induced coma and having to work hard to just get out of bed. These were things my mates had experienced and lost loved their ones in the process. I felt their shoes tightly around my feet and my heart broke for them.
Part of this lesson was realising what role I could play in the future to help them with things that really matter. My husband stepped up and took over our house (god I love this man) but I have watched mates deal with similar and still have to go home and do it all themselves. This lesson hurt because I realised I should have done more for them but next time I really do know what they need.
Lesson Four was simple it was about love and truly appreciating the love that people have for each other. My mum and dad love each other to bits and I got to see it in all its mushy beautiful glory. Love is all that matters at the end of the day isn’t it. That love is what keeps us resilient and strong when we don’t want to be.
The lesson I want to make sure everyone remembers is this one. Lesson Five, if you have someone in your life that you are concerned about their health ask them how they are. Tell them you have seen a change in them and if you need to be pushy and tell them they need to go to the docs to get a checkup DO IT. After dads surgery he talked to workmates and others he knew and they all said they had seen a change in him but didn’t know how to tell him. Dad just told them he was tired when they asked if he was okay in the months leading up to the great heart debacle of 2015. But this change was noticeable yet no one pushed him to get checked up. Not sure why we didn’t pick it up but I think looking back we could see in the last year he was getting tired more easily and in the weeks before his heart stopped playing ball he was really pale. Being to close sometimes blinds us to the obvious.
I have thought alot about this lesson and it doesn’t just apply to your physical health it applies to mental health too. Ask them if they are okay, tell them you have noticed a difference in them, listen to them and ask how you can help. I am still doing this with my mum and dad because I know how important it has been to me over the last 8 years to be asked “Are you okay” by family and friends.
So I did have some lessons to learn who knew I needed them but they have all been taken on board and stored in my noggin for future reference. Now if the universe would now be nice and give us a big bloody break that would be great.
Ragdoll Mumma Zoe
Are you okay?