My Dad passed away on the 20th January 2010 at approximately 06h30.
It’s been four days since he passed and I still cannot really believe it. It feels so unreal to me. As much as we knew he was ill, his death (can’t quite come to terms with using that word in conjunction with him yet) passing has shocked us as a family to the core. I think the emotion that we all feel most is one of guilt. Guilt for not having been with him when he passed, guilt for not having made him come home to SA when we knew he was sick, guilt for words not said, guilt for not having been a better daughter to him and so on and so forth. I hate that he passed away with nobody but his wonderful nurse Callie with him. I hate that but take comfort that God was there with him.
On the other hand I’m grateful to know that he is no longer in pain. Dad was admitted to hospital on the 18th December last year after he had got a really bad infection due to the treatment he was on for his leaukemia. He was severely ill but his doctors felt that they had this infection under control and that we were not needed in Wales at that time. On top of the really bad infection he had, he was in incredible pain due to his bones in his spine that were crumbling, so was doped on morphine and was pretty much out of it most of the time.
Mom, my sister and I talked about his situation a lot and we had decided on the Sunday before his passing that my sister and I would go to Wales and see him. That he needed to know that we loved him enough to come and see him. We never got that chance.
Early on Wednesday morning my Mom got a call from the hospital in Wales to say that Dad had taken a turn for the worst but that doctors were with him and they were working hard to get him stablised. When my sister called at 04h00 to check his status we were advised that he was stable and in the ICU where they were keeping a close eye on him. And at 06h30 he took his last breath.
He was such a strong person. He was a hero, a Selous Scout and hard working Army man. He worked in Iraq and was spared miraculously there more than once (that’s a story for another day). He worked with Game Rangers here and here and taught them everything he knew about tracking and surviving in the bush. He ran the anti poaching units for the North West Parks Board. He loved the bush. It was his life. He loved us girls so much, so much that he decided to go back to Europe and die there so we would be spared the pain of seeing him sick and weak. My niece was the absolute apple of his eye. My heart breaks that he’ll never get to see my children born.
His wish was to have his ashes scattered over a river as the Fish Eagle cries, and we will carry these wishes out.
Hamba Gahle Babba.
I love you and miss you every day.