7 years ago my father died after a second bout of cancer.
From time to time the question of dealing with death, living with grief comes up – usually, after someone experiences loss of their own. I get asked how I’ve dealt with grief, how I lived through it, and my honest answer “I didn’t” baffles everyone.
Most assume I simply wasn’t there, so wasn’t severely impacted – that easily could have been true, as my father lived in Khabarovsk and I live in St.Petersburg since 2003 – but this wasn’t the case. I was there.
I went to Khabarovsk in late 2014 to take stock of the situation, visit doctors with him, prepare documents for future estate management if prognosis would be bad. Prognosis was bad – there were no treatments left to try, my father’s health was rapidly deteriorating.
I went back to St.Petersburg to deal with my own life in preparation for putting everything on hold for my return to Khabarovsk, this time with trip duration completely unknown, and then came back once again, to stay till the end. I stayed a month, administered painkillers, spoon-fed my father, walked his dog, waited and watched him slip into oblivion. I was there for 4 days during which I cleaned up his apartment by myself – tossing everything unusable, packing everything worth preserving to be hauled away. Then I was there for the funeral preparation and the sombre event itself. I was there.
But… Then I came back to St.Petersburg and it’s like this distance – all those 7000km between cities – exists in my mind too.