It’s been a while.
The last 2 years have been errrr ‘huge’ for everyone. It’s been the same for our family….and then we were thrown a bit of a giant curveball. My Dad could no longer live at home and had to go into a care home – he had Alzheimers and was registered blind. Not a winning combo for him and it was no longer safe for him to be at home.
It was a horrible decision to make and one I don’t wish upon anyone. How can you possibly make that choice and know it is the right one?
It turns out you will NEVER know if it is the right choice. Perhaps this is true for so many things in life.
All I could do was step back, look at the whole picture and try and work out what was safest (and best) for Dad. I also had to step back and work out what was best for our whole family. So many people feel that they should only be thinking about their loved one at this time, and some people even say it’s selfish to think of anything else.
But I have to disagree.
Yes, your loved one is incredibly important and the very best should be done for them. The mental health of the loved one’s family and their ability to function is so important too. It is not selfish and should be a key consideration – if not, the ripple effect can be huge and disastrous.
So, after a huge fall at home, the decision was made. Dad moved into the care home in January and the ongoing ‘journey’ of supporting him, getting funding for that and enjoying spending time with him in a safe place began.
We had, on the whole, a really positive 5 months with him. Some great visits, some amazing conversation but a definite advancing deterioration. An emotional rollercoaster is such a great description for this time.
Sadly, Dad had a serious fall at the end of May and passed away in Derriford hospital after 4 days of brilliant care by them.
Cue all the emotions you could ever feel being magnified by 1,000%. I had no idea how the death of a parent could feel. The impact is broad and is felt by so many people.
It knocked me for 6 and made me step back and re-evaluate so many things.
Had I done the right things for Dad? What could I learn from his life? How can I live with this grief? How can I be more ‘Grandad Bob’? What do I want and need from my own life?
So I stopped doing some of the ‘stuff and things’ I usually do, to allow me to feel all of the emotions. I spoke about Dad, I cried, I cancelled retreats, I cried, I stopped coaching, I cried, I saw my therapist, and I felt ALL the emotions that sneak up on you when you lose a parent.
I essentially took 2 months out of the ‘norm’ and re-evaluated what I need. Actually, it turns out I still want and need a lot of the ‘stuff and things’ I was doing already – supporting people to be more adventurous, spending time with my family and having lots of freedom.
But I now know something different. I know HOW I want to do them.
I want to be a bit more ‘Grandad Bob’. Or more precisely, approach life with an added sprinkle of his calm, a hint of his mischievousness, a bucket full of his humility and a rake load of his human kindness.
I wish every single day that Dad was back with us, but he has left us with a huge legacy of how to approach life, I can’t ask for more than that.
So what does that mean? It means I am ready to get back out there – I am taking on some new coaching relationships, hosting the second ‘Your Life Less Ordinary Retreat’ with my amazing friend Jane and spending time in the mountains with my brilliant boys.
I am getting rid of as much stuff that I don’t want or need to do. I am being super grateful for the things I do have….. Just like Grandad Bob would have.