Early Pressures

Hi Dad, just wanted to get this off my chest! Last year this annoyed me quite a bit and would get me all riled up. It makes me angry that shortly after your hospital admission I was reprimanded for not coming to see you as often as maybe I should have. This is despite everyone knowing I was recovering from a cesarean; I wasn’t able to drive for nearly 8 weeks and even then it was difficult. I don’t remember any body offering or even scheduling their visits around my time. It’s hard to explain but as a new mum there was so much guilt around leaving my baby when he was only a few weeks/months old, when in fact I should have been developing that time to further bond and nest with him. Just to be clear you were hospitalised some 2/3 weeks after the birth of your grandson. You had one day release on father's day and you were discharged on the 21st July only to return to hospital 26th July 2018. He was exactly 3 months old when you passed away.

There was guilt for not being able to visit you every day and spend quality time with you. It felt like I was in such a tough position. Do you really think I did not want to? It was so hard. I would leave him for hours at a time, leave him with extended family and of course you want to play with babies, not keep to their schedules or encourage sleep. Sometimes it was difficult for people to stick to the baby’s schedule because of visitors coming and going. I do have some understanding around this. At the end of the day if I wanted to see you I could not control what was not in my control. So something had to give. That does not mean I had to like what was happening. Slap a smile on and all that.

When I did come to see you, I asked my family for one thing- Please inform other people that visits were not available for a specific period of time so I could spend quality time with you. Instead I would come and no word of a lie- a minimum of 3-4 different family friends/ extended family members would come and go. How did you expect me to have a conversation with you? Or spend quality time with you? I certainly was not able to talk to you. It was even worse knowing every time you saw me you wanted to see your grandson.

The pining in your eyes to see him, hold him and cuddle him was just something else. It was heartbreaking. As a young child growing up you often talked about having grandchildren and how you would spoil them so knowing deep down that you were not going to experience that was to say the least gut wrenching.

I mean it's common sense that newborn babies shouldn’t be allowed to visit ill patients in hospital- for obvious reasons. But I won’t forget the day you asked about him continuously so in the evening when all your visitors had left, all three of us came to visit you. We bundled our little joy to avoid detection (from the nurses) and snuck him in to your room. It was like a proper stealth operation. There’s no way we would have gotten away with it if you were on a ward.

As time went on it became ever so slightly easier to leave him and visit you. But it does make me think- was this me putting on a front, pleasing you, others; was I trying to protect my own emotional wellbeing. Honestly, I don’t know. I still don’t have the answers. Do I regret not seeing you more? - yes of course I do. Is there anything I could have done differently? Maybe, I could have been more vocal at the time of my visit, politely request family/friends/visitors to wait a little while. I don’t know; how would this have gone down? Was everyone else’s perception of me/ my values/my upbringing of more value than our quality time. I think at the time if I would have sought advice many would have said you cannot say that, you cannot say this, people will get offended- you get my point! In hindsight, I believe every one of those people would today have a different view. A view that agrees a daughter in a difficult situation should have had that time to spend with her father. The father they did not know would be gone so soon…

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