It was a lovely day. The kids, hubby and I went hiking in the National Park. We discovered a beach and all had a refreshing swim. We came home feeling joyful on this Sunday evening. I saw my Mum sent me a Whatsapp message and was eager to share my joy with her when my heart stopped in disbelief. I kept reading the words over and over thinking I had misread them. My husband was talking to me but I stopped listening. The world became a blur. I called my Mother who was sat beside my Dad. In my shock I asked her whether she was sure. Surely she must be confused. How could my Father possibly be dead, he was still working 3 days ago. My Mum’s quivering voice was answer enough. My Dad was gone.
My story is not unique. 3.4m people’s lives have been lost to this deadly disease. That’s nearly half the population of New South Wales.
My Father was healthy. He had no pre-existing health conditions, he ate well, was of a healthy weight and was still happily working. He caught the virus thinking it was something he could easily shake off. He seemed to get better only to lose his battle overnight.
His death seemed senseless. So I went searching for meaning. And this is what I found…
Until I witnessed first hand how devastating this diseases is, I really had no idea.I now appreciate how truly lucky we are in Australia. Apart from my Father I don’t know anyone who lost their life to Covid-19. Nobody in my locale was infected, and while most of the world was locked-up in quarantine for months on end we had very few restrictions and could continue with our everyday lives. Our hospitals aren’t overcrowded and we don’t have to worry what should happen to us should we get sick. This is a privilege.
No matter how connected we are virtually, you simply cannot substitute connecting with someone in person. This became especially true when I tried to attend my Father’s funeral. In spite of my numerous attempts I was not able to be there. I didn’t receive the relevant permissions from the Australian Government, and even if I had been able to leave I wouldn’t have been guaranteed an opportunity to return anytime soon. Currently 40,000 Australians are stranded overseas; separated from their families, unable to return to their homes.
I couldn’t afford being one of those persons as I have young children to care for, and had to make the challenging decision of staying here. My Family was incredibly supportive but it felt like another loss not being able to say goodbye. Instead my husband and I attended the funeral via video link. Definitely one of the stranger moments of my life; standing in our living room at 2am watching a priest we couldn’t really understand say things about my Father. There is no substitute for physical proximity — no matter what tech companies have you believe.
Leave Nothing Unsaid
The day of my Grandmother’s memorial service will forever be etched in my memory. Our family stood by her grave, while my Mother eloquently spoke of her legacy. It was the eve of All Saints Day and there were candles and families honouring their departed everywhere. My Father, too overcome with grief, did not utter a single word. He didn’t even look up. At one point I heard a yelp and he started sobbing. A loud dispairing cry left his body. Years of tears flowed out of him. In that moment I saw the hurt young boy my strong stoic Father had buried so deep within. There were many things left unsaid between them and now it was too late.
That day I made a vow to myself. I shall leave nothing unsaid. Many years have passed since. I tell my family I love them frequently and I mean it. Despite popular belief telling others you love them does not make it any less powerful.
I have honest confrontations with them and believe in working issues out together. I’ve also been working to accept those whom I cannot change in more loving ways. And it paid off. The single joy I can derive from my Father’s death is that he knew how much I loved him. We spoke frequently and meaningfully with each other. He always told me how proud he was of me and he extended his pride and joy to my husband and children. I have no regrets, and am not plagued by words unspoken.
For that I am so grateful to him. Our lives continue being connected through the Spirit world, and in moments of fear or weakness I can come to him for guidance. So while these past months have been some of the most challenging moments of my life, they have cultivated a profound sense of gratitude and appreciation within me. I am grateful for our priviledge. Grateful to love and be loved. And I live in hope of being reunited with my family overseas soon. If you are lucky enough not to have been impacted by Covid-19, please consider those of us who have been. Please do your part.