Friday, 7 September 2007

The day I'll never forget.

It was a nice summer day, July 12th 1972. It was the month before my 9th birthday. I was staying with my granny for a couple of days during that holiday. I was still in bed that morning around 8:30 when my 13 year older sister came to tell me the news. Bad news. Very bad.
My dad had passed away. It was very sudden and unexpected, a heart attack. It all seemed very unreal to me. My sister took me home and there I realised it was very real. My mum had collapsed completely. The doctor had been called and he had given her medication to calm her down.
In fact, my mum was in such a bad state that she wasn't even able to attend the funeral a couple of days later. She was a complete wreck.

When we came out of the church after the funeral, the church bells seemed to sound 10 times louder than usual. It was like heaven was coming down on me. Suddenly I fully realised I wouldn't have a dad anymore for the rest of my life. I just wanted to leave the crowd and just run. But I was brave.

In Belgium, like in most countries I guess, it's a tradition that relatives and friends come together for coffee and something to eat after a funural. There were about 200 people there. You know how it goes. In the beginning it's quite civilised and quiet but after a while it gets noisier and noisier. I remember I was standing talking to my cousin who was only a couple of months older than me, when suddenly the door opened and I saw my mum entering the room. She spotted me immediately and came running to me in tears. She grabbed me and started to say in her crying, quite loud voice, "oh son, what are we going to do now?"

The crowd that had been quite loud a minute earlier suddenly was very quiet now. Complete silence. All eyes focused on me and my mum. I felt like running again. But again I was brave. I'm sure it all only took a minute but it felt like hours.
I was rescued by my granny who took my mum by the arm, led her to a chair and tried to calm her down.
I think I've never been as glad to be alone in my room as I was later that night, trying to digest it all. From that day on I was the man in the house. At the age of 8.

It's one of those days one never forgets.

14 comments:

Ad Tracker said...

That is a powerful image. I can't imagine it. I've been blessed to not have lost anyone close in a sudden manner.

Rudi said...

Hi adtracker,
Yes you are blessed. I've lost quite some close relatives in a short time when I was a kid. It's not nice but it's all part of life.

Jay Cam said...

thanks, i've added you!

Rudi said...

thanks Jay :-)

Mighty Morgan said...

I'm sorry for the lose of your Dad at such an early age...I'm sure that must have taken a lot of courage, strength and sadness to cope with at such an early age..I hope it doesn't haunt you today........
:)

Rudi said...

Hi Morgan, thanks for stopping by and the comment.
No it doesn't haunt me. In fact I think I came out stronger as a person.

jOolian said...

beautiful story! and yes, you are blessed & stronger, but i know some days just still hurt. I say this, as I just recently lost my Dad, wkNd after Valentines Day. And i was with my mom until death 2yrs ago, but alone during that.
The hardship, yet, miracle part is that i never got to live with him, (parents divorced when i was 4) only a couple months during summer breaks....he and me mom are hero's of mine, and i took the same profession as him, anyways, just this past year, going through the hardships of my own divorce after a lengthy marriage, i lived with him and me step-mum, so, although i wasn't with MY Family, i got to live with my dad until the end of his life... which, i am thankful to have that time with my dad that i never had before. Stay Strong bro, and i truly understand. ~julian

Rudi said...

Hi Julian,
Sorry to hear about your dad. But I'm glad you still got to spend time with him.
Thanks for the beautiful comment.

Dan Hanosh said...

Friend

A painful and beautiful story . . . My mom died five years ago. It's not easy at any age. We have our memories and somehow I thing we're lucky to have them in our lives. Thanks for sharing . . . I put you on my favorites.

Dan Hanosh
Dreams are yours to share

Aaron Cook said...

Very beautiful story Rudi. It reminds me of the day I came home from school and learned that my grandfather had died of a srtoke.

I was young. Riding the school bus home with my younger brothers. I saw my dad standing in the front yard, waiting for us. I immediately knew something was amiss; my dad worked 3rd shift and should have been in bed sleeping at the time.

And that's when he told us. But it all seemed so unreal to me. Then we went inside to comfort our mom, who was crying and crying and crying. That's when it really hit me that it was real. I felt so bad for her. She was so devastated to lose her dad.

I still remember every moment of that day. And just like you, I'll never forget.

Shine on,
Aaron

Rudi said...

Dan : thanks for the lovely words.

Aaron : we all have our memories and that's a good think :)

thank you both for the comment

maggie said...

it made you the lovely and understanding person you are now ..glad i can call u Friend ;)
greetings from the westside
luv, UknowWho

Rudi said...

Awww thanks stranger from the westside lol. Pop in again any time.

maggie said...

damn , he knew who i was right from the beginning :( guess I stand out , even onhere .. haha