The day my father died i knew i had to see him.
He’d always been afraid of death.
He asked me a handful of times to check his body. I think he was terrified of a medical mistake. Certified dead. Just sleeping.
I can understand that.
So i was compelled to go to him. To tell him it was okay. That i had checked. Made sure.
To reassure him that he could go.
Now i can scarcely believe that i visited just hours after being told he had gone.
Perhaps shock and numbness helped. Maybe it was the perfect day to do it.
I remember descending the staircase to the mortuary, into the dark underbelly of the hospital. An experience so surreal.
My husband asked if he could come in with me. I declined firmly. Somehow it felt disrespectful. I wanted to preserve his dignity.
On entering the room i staggered in shock. I remember a feeling so powerful, primal, physical. None like anything i’ve experienced before or since.
2 weeks later, the day before the funeral i visited my father again. This time at the undertakers. To say a final goodbye.
I remember being filled with the most overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Of thinking “Oh Daddy it is so wonderful to see you. I have missed you so much”.
And i had.
No longer shocked to see him there. A strange kind of familiarity. Able to say all the things i had wanted to without fear.
And i said goodbye for the 2nd time.
And i’m so glad i did.