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My father died on Tuesday 30th January, about 5pm. 4 days ago.
The Sunday before, I went over to visit him, my cousin Eliot was there already, we reminisced. They talked about things a little before my time, but also sparked a bunch of memories for me back from when I was 5 or 6 or 7 years old. We all had a nice time for a couple of hours until it was clear we'd worn him out.
By Monday he'd gone down hill so quickly, we were completely out of control. Well into the land where professionals needed to be in charge but it was just me and his partner. You would not believe the relief I had when Totara Park Hospice called early Tuesday morning asking me to bring him in. There was no way I could do that so Hato Hone St John were called. An hour later he was comfortable (I guess) in a bed in a room with a bloody lovely outlook over the Botanical Gardens in South Auckland and hooked up to some proper drugs.
I didn't have to be the carer any more so we sat and waited. Me and him, and his partner, on a lovely sunny, hot Tuesday, with the trees outside and the birds squeaking and the warm breeze through the door to the verandah.
8 hours later, he was gone.
My dad was a bloody hopeless father in every way. There are probably so many reasons, too many for here. He was a single father of 2. But then he was only a single father of 2 because he possibly only gained guardianship of me and my brother to punish my mum. So hardly a good reason to be a single father of 2. He had a de facto partner then that even their neighbours, who are still her neighbour, to this day it turns out, hated her. I hated her, she hated me. A terrible step mother. It is possible to be more miserable than me during those years of course, there is always someone worse off, but I ran away at 13 years old to live with my mother in another city...
Lots of time goes by, he leaves that person that messed so much of us up, things happen, so many poor decisions made by him. Over and over poor decision making. 40 some years of estrangement later and here I am sitting at the end of his bed after he's gone.
It was hard to know what to think aside from everything. I sat with him anyway, for quite a while.
While Googling macrocarpa some time back I found that the worlds largest macrocarpa tree is only a nice day trip / picnic away. So eventually me and Gabba when to see that spectacle and were not disappointed. Any of its branches would be considered a bloody enormous tree in their own right, but they were sticking out horizontal in the air. Well worth the trip, go see it. Take a picnic.
Do it. Sit in the sun (or its shade) for a bit and enjoy the company of someone you love and a bloody huge tree, while you can for as long as it takes. It's best to do that while they are both there.