Friday, December 26, 2008

Step Father is ill morte

You are probably fed up with up reading about deaths on my blog this year. I am fed up with them happening. I am sure this will be the last for the year and I want the record of it written here.

My step father died at ten this morning. Sister rang at 6.30 to say the hospital had called and told her a few hours. She called appropriate people. Mother called a friend to take her to hospital. Tradie Brother also went to hospital. Mother managed to get a smile from as she talked to him, even though he was quite drugged. Sister was outside making a call when Mother noticed that he had stopped breathing. Tradie Brother disbelieved her but the nurse who they called confirmed it.

Sister was absolutely distraught, Mother not too bad. They stayed until his family from Geelong way arrived.

I called work to report a death in the family and that I would not be attending today or tomorrow. Loss of 16 hours pay, gnash. We picked up Little Jo and brought her to our place as Sister did not want her to be there, and we relieved the Bone Doctor to go and comfort Sister.

We took Little Jo for a swim, watched a Wiggles dvd, took a walk and then on the way to Mother's, stopped off under a freeway in South Melbourne to initiate her into the evils of McDonalds. She did not like any burger, but made do with chips and and a thick shake and that was after having ham, cheese and watermelon we had already fed her at home. Now filled with sugar, salt and fat, Little Jo dropped off to sleep as we motored on the M1 to Mother's. Later we added some alcohol to her day's diet with a rum ball. We should have given her some nicoteen impregnated chewing gum to round it all off.

Yesterday's forgotten cooked chickens came in very useful. A stream of people came and went. Sister offered to stay with Mother overnight, but Mother wanted to be alone. Sister was eventually convinced when Mother told her that she was just make a mess everywhere and Mother would have to clean it all up. Quite likely. Sister is like a hurricane when she arrives anywhere and she has not lost the voice that she used when controlling Year 12 schoolboys.

By 8.30, the last visitors to Mother's departed, and she was now alone, as she wished to be, with her thoughts and the memories of someone she had spent the last thirty years with.

I seem to be the only one who is not surprised how well she is doing. Everyone underestimates Mother, her dizziness, her lack of knowledge of how to even turn on a light and her ablity to get everyone around her to help, with her charm and seeming helplessness, as a lack of survival skills. It will be hard for her, but she will manage.

At some point yesterday, after we all left the hospital, Step Father signed a blank cheque for Mother. Only a couple of thousand dollars to collect, but Mother will be at the bank at the earliest opportunity. If that troubles you, you need context. Step Father owed Mother heaps of money, indirectly.

Compliments to public hospital between Dandenong and Pakenham. They kept Step Father going for christmas day, and then did not prolong the misery. That he suddenly needed pain relief when he had not had any pain, was a blessing, for us and for him.

Now, who is going to pay for the funeral? Seven surving children down Geelong way, and four of us step-children, cost evenly divided seems morally fair. Why do I think this is not going to happen? Already R is making, 'just pay' noises. He hasn't actually pointed out how.


  1. Anonymous11:15 pm

    My condolences, Andrew. I hope everybody is alright.

  2. Anonymous12:32 am

    Sorry to hear it mate. I hope you're doing well.

  3. I'm very sorry for your loss.

  4. My condolences Andrew. Christmas is horrible sometimes.

  5. Ditto to all the above

  6. Thanks all and subsequent commenters.

    Dina, I had a bit of a read of your writing and it was interesting to read your comments at the end of your excellent potted histories of Australians, without you living here and having your knowledge directly filtered through to you via our media and general day to day opinions.

  7. Sorry to hear he's gone, Andrew, (((hugs))) and sympathy to you and your family.

  8. Condolences to you and your family. There is no right time for these things to happen, but at least he made it thru Xmas.

  9. Anonymous11:44 am

    I'm so sorry, Andrew. Regardless of age or how ill they were, it is never easy to lose someone. Lots of love to your Mum, too.

  10. Dear Andrew - love from me and to your mother too.

    on the practical side re $ you must contact Centrelink immediately - they make a bereavement payment which is substantial.
    Re caskets: I know you are smart enough not to waste $ on gleaming mahogany. It is now the sensible trend to cover a very plain casket with beautiful cloth and there are websites dedicated to this sort of thing.
    X X X

  11. Thanks for the tip Brownie. Casket has been chosen, a modest one.

  12. Sorry to hear that Andrew. Hope your family is doing okay.

  13. Very sorry to hear that Andrew, our thoughts are with you and your family.

  14. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. It's a bad time of year for anyone to go through this, let alone dealing with the family for the usual gatherings. Hope you're coping.

  15. I add my condolences, Andrew.


Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.