*Content Warning: Strong Language
One of the most heart felt prayers I ever prayed and one that I believe was instrumental in the change of circumstances that happened around it was just one word, a word that many would say should most definitely not be used in the setting it was….
When I was called to the hospital by the Doctor to say goodbye to my Dad, we went in the afternoon and he was so poorly, had lost a lot of weight, he couldn’t speak though he was trying too and he was in and out of consciousness, it was horrible. We stayed for a while and then (because we were told we could go back when we wanted at that point, they later changed the rules on us the following morning but that is a whole other devastating story..) later on I felt like I needed to go back to the hospital and sit with Dad for a bit. Because it was about 11;45pm the side door that we had used to go into the ward was closed and I had to use the main doors, this meant I passed the chapel.
When I saw the sign to the chapel, I thought I should go in and say a prayer for my Dad and my family. I sat for a while and there was so much in my mind, and I was so sad at how Dad had declined so rapidly and how it seemed the end would be in the next few days if not hours. I was desperately sad for our family after losing Paula relatively not that long ago and how my sister Keeley would be on losing both our sister and our Dad, who she totally adored completely. I tried to pray, but I was overwhelmed. Normally when I am overwhelmed I pray the Jesus prayer or a part of it, but even that I couldn’t manage.
I sat for some more and then the only word that came and that I said as a pray was ‘fuck’, being deeply ashamed at this point about what I had just said, I walked out the chapel and sat with my Dad for 2 and half hours praying for him and reassuring him that I and the rest of the family love him and everything was going to be ok. Literally from that moment on he started improving, he started eating again and became much more coherent, even thought the hallucinations were still quite severe, however because he did pick up we were able to move him out of the hospital which I know they were doing their best but were over run with Covid patients (my Dad had been one of those but asymptomatically), and they couldn’t look after him to the degree he required, and I know he was being unintentionally neglected…
I know this because when he got to the hospice he was so much better, they had time to give hi a shave and make sure he was wearing his pyjamas, he was eating and talking and had put on weight which was a blessing to see that he looked more like the person I knew and not some shadow of himself. It also meant that both Keeley and I got to spend time with him and speak to him, and while it was only a week at the hospice before he died and the day before he died Keeley and I had to self isolate as she tested positive for Covid, it still meant we had time we would not have if he had stayed in the hospital. I will forever be grateful for being able to sit with Dad and talk and read him the paper and spoon feed him some soup and trifle. Being 85 he was brought up not to show much affection or reach out emotionally but after the suicide of Paula he did start to, though it didn’t come naturally to him. I believe when we were alone one of the afternoons he tried to reach out to me about Mum’s drinking and leaving me alone to deal with it when they got divorced even though he didn’t quite say it in those words.
So even though at the time I felt ashamed at what I had said to God, in the end I think God respected my honesty with him. I think he understood I could not process all the things I had to say to him, and he took and understood what I actually meant from that one word. I am blessed to be able to see the mercy God had on my sister, my Dad and myself. And whilst the grief of losing Dad is really starting to hit home, I know its got to come and it’s all got to come out. I’m grateful I have started processing some of it.