My Dad Passed Away


This was taken in Paris, 6 years ago

I’ve been trying to write this since July, I’ve been trying to put everything down and explain what happened.

My dad should never have died of Cancer.

the dreaded C-Word.

If the universe made sense, he should have passed away gently in his 80’s with a beer in his hand and a natural setting sun.

Not of Cancer, one of the most aggressive types, with only 700 getting his type of pancreatic cancer each year.

It took three months from diagnosis to death. Ninety days to get my head around the concept.

You have to appreciate that he beat cancer last year and got the all clear in January, and we all celebrated since 2015 was so bad, so 2016 had to be fantastic.

My nephew became a world champion gymnast, sister in law gave birth to their firstborn son, and my dad passed away.

In April when we found out that it was back, terminal and the only thing they could really do was make him “comfortable”, you see how the United Kingdom actually treats its terminal patients.

Like nothing more than chattel.

The only real quality care my dad received was in the last few days, he had hospice care coming to the house and the support of our local GP and chemists. Besides that, well keep reading.

We all know the adverts, they make out chemotherapy is in a friendly environment where they give you tea and coffee, and it’s all nice and quiet.

Mount Vernon Hospital, is like a goddamn conveyer belt full of over 100 people, milling about, the sounds of the beeping machines, they take hours just to get you started and even though it comes out of a tap, they do not even give you water. You have to bring your own.

Compare this type of thing to those Cancer adverts. Just try to imagine that dimly lit room, which if they had replaced with a tent would resemble something out of the Third World.

Welcome to the NHS, ladies and gentlemen

Dad only had one chemo session, it wasn’t going to do anything and after that experience, who would want to go back.

We did have District Nurses, but when they came and forgot the basic rules of hygiene like washing their hands, could not handle drugs and were unable to treat body wounds and drains…what is the need for them? My dad acquired a bedsore, which they were unable to, or unwilling to treat correctly. But they did nothing, so seriously, just stand there while my dad’s body fills up with fluid because his body is shutting down.


This was taken last year, before it all came back

The palliative care community nurses well they came twice, once to tell us she was going away…then a few weeks later, to say she was going away again.

No replacement, but she wasn’t going out of her depth to handle drugs. So she was to quote my mum “She was as useless as a chocolate teapot.”

You can imagine I’m a little bit jaded with the medical profession and right now can you really blame me?

When it happened, when we found out that all they could do was make him “comfortable”, I was there.

He was in Hillingdon Hospital, with a retention of fluid and an infection, and it wasn’t the first time over the three months it took for him to pass away. Dad, mum and I were escorted into a room at the back at the back of the ward and told by an assistant of the Doctor’s, who looked too young to be making that type of statement to anyone. However, she explained there was nothing more they could do.

“Comfortable” was the word of the day, and I’ve really come to hate that word.

How can a man who beat cancer once already, after having to go through a Whipple procedure in which they would never have done on a man in his late sixties? Yet he was so healthy he had the internal organs of a 50-year-old…and all they could do is make him comfortable since the cancer was spreading.

According to “Whipple procedure may have a five-year survival rate of up to 25%.”

I only got one year.

Then I had the watch him deteriorate into a man, no one recognised anymore. Not even to himself

That’s the one thing I can’t accept. That I had to accept the strongest, healthiest man I had literally ever known was going to pass away. We all had to process it and deal with it, most of the time it was either resignation, acceptance or to some. Total denial until it was too late to do anything about it.

I miss him, I’m not going to use my blog to explain how it happened, but it was in July on the type of day he would have been pottering in the garden or just enjoying a beer in the sun.

We all kept our promise to him. He passed away at home, with all of us at his side…which was just what he wanted.

But I miss him.

This is my nephews first Christmas, and we are going to focus on that, on all the grieving grandchildren, to try and make it special. But all our memories of Christmas are intertwined with dad, well both our parents, because even though each year he whined about getting the decorations out of the loft. He loved “The Most Magical Time of the Year”, and now we have to keep it going without him.

I have no idea, how we are going to accomplish this.

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One Response to My Dad Passed Away

  1. Joanne Williams says:

    I totally agree with all that Jodie has written in her poignant message. My son-in-law passed away in April – 3 months following dignosis of a malignant tumour on his kidney.
    He was under the care of Hillingdon, Mount Vernon, and the Royal Marsdon in London.
    The care and lack of communication between hospitals was abysmal!! I am not going into details but like Florence I spent many 35 years working in the NHS and still cannot comprehend how the care can be so lacking both in the treatment regime and the nursing care in ALL the hospital involved. He was 47 years old!!
    The most comfortable time was when he came home to spend his final days with my daughter and the rest of his family around him.
    The care he received from the cancer care nursing staff was second
    to none.

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