I’m aware that I’ve been very quiet of late on my blog. I had every intention of writing about a subject that was paranormal related and followed a similar vein to my previous posts but, of course with life, sometimes things can deliver a sucker punch.
In my case it was the death of my father in July. As anyone who has experienced the death of a close member of the family will testify, the pain can be unbearable. You re-evaluate life. You grieve. You cry. You sob. But you go on. You carry on your life. Doing the little things. Preparing dinner, going to work, getting ready in the morning. You think things are getting better or at least more bearable. And then, out of nowhere, you hear a song, smell a scent or remember a past event and then reality comes back with a vengeance, reminding you of the loss.
My dad was an amazing, amazing man. He was the most talented man I have ever known. He was a gifted artist, a singer, a musician and a showman. He lit up every room and would be able to entertain a hundred people with ease with cracking jokes, singing a range of songs, or performing a tune on a banjo or piano. You’d have loved him. Everybody did. In my younger years, he would embarrass me quite frankly. Seeing your own father getting on stage, belting out Elvis songs (sometimes in full costume and wig) to rapturous applause, I could do no more than make a sharp exit. Funnily enough, as we both got older, this embarrassment was filled with pride.
My dad wanted to make others happy. No more so than his family. His love for my Mum, for myself and my brothers and his grandchildren was paramount. He spent more years than I can count, getting up at 5am to go to work as a manual labourer before finally getting in, covered in brickdust, paint or woodshavings at 7pm. He would work 6 days a week and on his day off, would go to work doing DIY around the house. He never stopped.
Two years ago, my Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He went through chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments in increasing pain. He went through major surgery to remove his bladder. Not once did he complain. Not once. We spoke of course, whilst trying in pain to continue walking his dog or when the fatigue just got too much, but most of the time, he would ask about my life or about my daughters. Even till the very end, with the end all too close, and in the last days of consciousness, he was still cracking jokes about his hallucinations while on morphine and how his mouth was as dry as “Gandhi’s flip-flop”. Just to make my daughters laugh. In the end, he died of sepsis, surrounded by his family and close friends whilst we played his favourite songs by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Ben E. King. As deaths go, it was quite lovely. He was centre-stage for one last time, in a room filled with love.
Since his death, I’ve pondered on my interest in the paranormal and whether my feelings about the subject would change. Would I become more desperate to prove in life after death? Would I want some further proof that my Dad was okay in the afterlife? Would I see a vision of my Dad in the form of a crisis apparition?
I can understand why so many people visit psychics and mediums in the hope that they can provide information or closure regarding a loved one. I get it. Particularly if that person had died in sudden or unexpected circumstances. For me, telling Dad that I loved him and saying goodbye, was closure enough. But no, I feel no inclination to suddenly visit a psychic. Neither have I experienced a crisis apparition of him.
There have been two examples since his death however, when I experienced moments which made me gasp. They both revolved around music and particularly, the songs that my Dad loved to listen to most of all. One of these was when my Mum received in the post, a condolence book that we had specially made for the funeral. At exactly the same moment as the postman knocked on the door, Ben E King started playing ‘Stand by Me’ on the radio. In the other, a few days later, I was in a restaurant. As soon as I started talking about my Dad, the music in the restaurant changed to ‘Smile’ by Nat King Cole. Both songs were played at my Dad’s funeral. Now my sceptical head of course says this was purely chance. They are famous, popular songs played time and time again on the radio. People look for signs that their loved ones are near. Was I merely doing the same thing by attributing these songs to the possible presence of my father? Sceptic or not, the timing of these two songs hit me like a tonne of bricks.
Of course, it is comforting to think that my Dad was somehow sending me and my family a message. But would I regard this as anything paranormal? No, of course not. And I suppose knowing this, even in the midst of my grief and whilst at my lowest, made me realise that how I approach the paranormal will never fundamentally change. I will still question. I will still seek the truth and try to provide rational explanations for events.
The night my Dad died, myself, my Mum and my brothers, spoke to him, held his hand and wished him well until he finally slipped away. Immediately afterwards, the nurses prepared his body and removed all of the wires from his life support machine. On re-entering the room, my brother made an observation. Looking at our father, he said, “Dad is no longer in the room anymore.” Those words have stuck with me because despite all of my scepticism towards the paranormal, I knew in that moment that he was absolutely right. The spirit of my father was no longer there. It was as cold and as heartbreaking as that.
As for my Dad, I’d love for him to come down and say hi for one last time.
I just hope he can do it on camera for me.