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My Dad - Guy Kenneth Norfolk


Chris Norfolk

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My dad – Guy Kenneth Norfolk, sadly passed away peacefully in his sleep on October the 8th at home.

It’s been 3 weeks and it doesn’t feel real to be writing that. I have tried a few times to put this on a post and each time couldn’t.

It feels as thought I am writing it about someone I never knew sometimes, but it was about someone I knew – my dad.

On the morning of Sunday the 8th of October I was with my wife Lucy and my daughter Rosie at my in-laws house as we were having a family birthday party for Rosie’s 2nd birthday (her actual birthday is the 11th, but as it was at the weekend, it was the best time to get all of my wife’s family together).

I had arranged with my younger brother to get a text from him when the doctor was at dads so that I could speak to him and see how dad was and whether I needed to come over to Australia.

I got the text at about 5am saying “Call me at Dad’s – URGENT”. I clearly remember going numb when I read that and walked downstairs to the phone like a bit of a zombie.

I called and my brother put me onto my Mum (my Mum and Dad divorced about 10 or 11 years ago and Dad remarried 8 years ago, but since Dad’s illness, they put all of the old stuff behind them and spent time talking about old times and the like). Mum told me that Dad had a rattle in his throat (death rattle) and that I needed to think about getting a flight sorted out. The doctor was going to there shortly and they would call when he got there for me to speak to him directly.

I went upstairs to my wife and broke down and told her that I need to go. As we were sitting there, I got another text saying that the doctor was there and to call. I spoke to him and he said that yes, I needed to get on a plane as in his experience, when someone is at this stage; they only have between 7 and 14 days at most.

Again I broke down, but then said that I needed to get in the car and drive home (1 hour each way) and pack a case.

While I was on the road, Lucy called and said that she had contacted her friend at British Airways and that there we a few options – I decided that the late evening flight would be the best one as it would mean that I could be there for Rosie’s party.

When I got back, the ticket was all done and I tried to get on with the day – everyone was saying how sorry they were and how strong I was being. Was I? I didn’t think so, I was absolutely numb and working on auto pilot.

We had a late lunch – around 3pm. I got up after my dinner was done as Rosie was creating a bit of a fuss over hers and I went over to her to sort her out. As I did, the phone rang and I heard my father in law answer the phone and say “Hi Sandra” (my mum’s name. I remember exhaling and saying something like God…..my father in law passed the phone to Lucy. Mum thought that I was on the plane, Lucy then ushered me into the living room and passed me the phone. I was saying “what’s the matter, what’s going on”, she just said for me to talk to Mum. Mum was very upset and just said simply “I’m so sorry love, your Dad’s gone”. What? That can’t be right – the Dr said that it was at least 7 days. Dad can’t be gone.

The rest of that is all a bit of a daze. I headed to the airport, said goodbye to Lucy and Rosie and waited for my flight. How was I going to spend 24+ hours on a plane and not fall to bits? I ended up going to the bar and bought a pint and raised a toast to my dad and actually seemed to feel fairly calm. The flight was fine and my brother picked me up in Adelaide. He had arranged with the funeral directors for me to be able to go straight there and see dad. I told him we needed to arrange it for later as I couldn’t do it straight away – I wasn’t ready.

I did go and see him later that morning. I have never felt sadness and loss like that feeling before in my life and never want to again. He was there in the coffin – even now recalling it, was it him? My dad isn’t dead!!!

He looked so smart and colour coordinated for the 1st time too!

I’m not ashamed to say that I fell completely to pieces. I couldn’t leave the room, that would mean that I wouldn’t see him again. When I did leave, my brother came straight to me and gave me a hug – we have never done that before.

Dad’s funeral was on the Thursday. It was a nice ceremony (I can’t believe I said that – it was bloody horrible, but I guess you know what I mean). I gave a speech, which was so hard to do, but I wanted to (I may out it on here one day).

My brother’s and one of Dad’s brothers carried the coffin to the hearse. Then he was driven off – that was hard. One of my uncles, Dad’s older brother said “he’d be happy that his last drive was in a Ford” – that would have made him smile!

And that was that!

It was strange talking to people that were Dad’s friends, who I had never met and them all telling me stuff about him.

Apparently he would never take a call or leave the house if he knew that I was going to be calling. He used to go on and on to anyone who would listen about how well I was getting on in the UK and how proud he was. I never knew any of this – it was very comforting to hear.

I also heard that when he found out that Lucy and I were expecting another baby after having a miscarriage in July (fell pregnant again pretty much straight after) that when he got off of the phone to me that he punched the air and cheered. He said “I bet it’s a boy this time – I bet it’s a boy”.

A week or so later I was back home with Lucy and Rosie.

Strangely, Lucy said that on the drive to the airport on that Sunday, a car pulled out in front of us and had the number plate GUY and that night, the cat would not get out from under Rosie’s cot – she never goes there. I spent 5 or 6 days with them which were fab and then went back to work. That’s where I am now. It’s all back to normal. Ha – how do things go back to normal?

I am worried that I haven’t really let out over this, it’s all been pretty much under wraps and fear that one day it will all come crashing in on me. I hope not. I am trying to talk to Lucy about things and be a positive as I can about things, but it is difficult.

Dad fought for 16 months against this disease after only being given 3 months. He didn’t complain, he just fought it with all he had. It must have been hell for him.

Dad, I am so sorry that I promised that we would see each other again and I didn’t get back in time (I know Michael told you that I was on my way – is that why you let go, because you knew I was on my way and that everyone would be together?). I am glad that the pain and what you had to go through is now gone and I hope that you are at peace. You never, ever be forgotten Dad, every time I look at Rosie and the new baby who will have your name, I will see you and you will be with me.

I miss you terribly and love you so much.

Your ever loving son, Christopher.

Guy Kenneth Norfolk 11th January 1945 – 8th October 2006 Aged 61 years.

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Oh Chris,

Your post broke my heart. I could relate so well to so many things you wrote that I cold have written them myself a few years ago.

It's ok to grieve, and we all do it differently. Find a way to care for yourself during this time, vent, post, lean on someone- lean on us- as we are here and we do truly understand.

Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your dad. My prayers continue for your family.

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Hi Chris,

I'm sorry for your loss and your post was extremely warm and with alot of love and respect for your Dad. May the warmth of your memories and the strength you have in family and yourself get you threw this.

You will find a peace at the end of this transition in your life. It may seem unheard of right now and for a long time to come, but you will find it!

Good luck to you!

Tammy

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Chris,

I am so very, very sorry. The outpouring of emotions will come... I think our brains and our bodies and our emotions just take time to catch up with reality.

The degree is so different and I know this... but my Grandmother died a few months before my Mom did... I had promised her we would go see her as we had moved closer to her (only 10 hours instead of 20), but since I was pregnant and had been travelling so much already we put it off... then she had a stroke, and a bleed, and we lost her... And I only had those moments with her in the casket as well. It hurts so very, much. And it's a terrible feeling of pain.

Your dad knew. He knew how much you loved him. He knew you would have been there if you could, and I suspect he even knew you were there with him when you were.

Most of all, I'm just so sorry.

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Chris, I was really touched by your post. I lost my Mom at the end of August to lung cancer and even though I live 5 hours away by car, I didn't make it time either. I know those last moment with the casket too.

Your Dad was so very proud of you! Always remember that the love you feel for your children is the same love he felt for you.

My sincerely condolences.

Shauna

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