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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My dad passed away at 4pm yesterday (midnight last night US Eastern time).

I read the news in an e-mail this evening after wrapping up a rehearsal. Despite all the warning and expectation, it hit me like a brick to the face, and I broke down dramatically all over the actors who were still in the theatre. Everyone has been very kind and wonderful, and said just the right things, or not said anything at all, which is just as good.

There are so many thoughts in my head, I don't know how to put them down. I'm all right. I'm functioning. I guess a year of anticipatory grief has done as much as it can to prepare me for this moment.

I was going to book my tickets to Australia (for later this year) this afternoon. I put it off because I couldn't decide whether to go to Uluru or not while I was down there. Now I'm continuing to put it off because I can't think. I can't think.

I called my mother a few days ago and had another wonderful conversation, but I came away with an image that has haunted me, and will continue to for some time. Dad had almost no control over his bowels, and almost every morning he would wake up having soiled the bed overnight. Mum would have to come in and clean him up, and every time, he would cry and cry because

Oh, I'm crying again.

Anyway, my point is that it is sad that he died, but it's also not sad.

He died with dignity. He had fallen over while Mum and Trevor were helping him take a shower in the morning, and later in the day, they couldn't wake him up. They took him to the hospital, where he was given morphine, and his stomach and bladder were pumped. He died peacefully and in his sleep.

I'm glad Mum didn't find him dead. I'm glad he died in a hospital, and in peace.

After he passed, Mum talked to him in his hospital bed. She swears that as she told him that, whatever one might say about how he lived his life, I owe my life and upbringing to him, tears came out of his eyes. She started to cry again while she was telling me this. "How? How could this happen when the nurses told me he was already dead?" I don't know. But it makes me cry again too.

Mum is all right. As all right as she could be. I'm glad she had her bipolar breakdown and hospital stay recently, so she's well enough to deal with this now. When she picked up the phone, the first thing she said to me was, "Don't cry! If you cry, I will start crying again. Gung-gung keeps crying and making me cry," but of course, I cried, and she cried with me. She's in fully fledged funeral organization mode. The funeral is on Monday.

Gung-gung. I almost feel worse for him than for anyone. He's ninety years old, and he just watched his youngest son waste away.

I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died. They say he made a good end.

There's so much more in my head and my heart, but it flies away as soon as I try to articulate it. I think I should try to get some sleep.
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