Over the last few weeks whilst I've been away, I've been posting some little chunks from Laughter Manifesto:Embrace Laughter, Change Your Life on how laughter can help us to navigate life's challenges, building our resilience and faith along the way.
Little did I know when I scheduled those posts due to being away helping a close family member that the weeks ahead would be some of the toughest of my life. Ever. That I would hurt and cry and grieve deeper and harder than ever before. And wobble precariously on the edge on my nerves and slightly delirious laughter.
On Saturday 7th March my lovely adorable 86 year old Dad suffered a major stroke. Suffered is the right word. A stroke, a sudden catastrophic event which completely changes your life. It literally strikes in a moment but the effects can last a lifetime.
My father was one of the fittest, healthiest elders I knew doing daily yoga, meditation and prayer, walking and eating healthily. He looked 15 years younger and acted even younger than that. He laughed a lot. He never smoked and didn't drink alcohol. He did everything right for his health.
Except he didn't know that the top part of his kind heart pumped at a different speed to the bottom part of his heart. A little blood clot formed and unbeknown to my Dad who had just had his morning cup of tea and about to venture out to the local village, it was pumped up from his heart to his brain and burst a blood vessel.
My Dad lives just 10 minutes away from a very well regarded hyper acute stroke unit who can start treatment immediately to limit the impact of the stroke.
Except Dad had the stroke 3997 miles away in Jalandhar, Punjab, India.
Like many elders who find the cost of travel insurance prohibitive, I didn't know that dad did not have travel insurance. And I think my Dad sort of thinks he's immortal anyway. Like many of us.
And so he needed bringing home to England urgently.
And my sister and I were given the task of bringing Dad home.
GULP. PALPITATIONS. HOW?
You know those moments in life, when you are tasked with something BIG but have no fuckin' idea how it will happen or what the outcome will be but YOU JUST HAVE TO DO IT, those moments when you have to dig really fuckin' deep and muster up supernatural strength, courage and big faith. Those moments which make you say 'fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck what the fuck'. Those moments that you never ever think will happen to you. Yep, it was one those moments.
I had to JUST FUCKIN' DO IT. No ifs or buts. Everyday life stopped. I packed bags. I argued with the Indian High Commission for emergency visa's. Booked flights. Got on the plane. Forgot about vaccinations.
On two wings, a prayer and bucketloads of faith my sister and I were going to bring Our Dad back home.
To be continued...
Namaste friends xxx