So, it's a funny thing to have to change my hats from being the funeral director for other families at need to potentially having my business look after my own funeral service.
Sadly, this is the position I found myself in during the last 3 months. The medical team at Shoalhaven Hospital found a ‘destructive mass’ in my brain while I was admitted to the Emergency Department after an innocuous rugby injury (the merits of a 43-year-old man going back to play Rugby for Shoalhaven Rugby Club has been debated around our dinner table often..)
Still, here I was, facing a medical procedure that could potentially end my life. It was a surreal experience when the Neurosurgeon caring for me told me to ‘Get my affairs in order’ and to ‘Enjoy as much time as you can!!’ I felt ripped off and cranky, I am far too young to have this happen to me!! I had too many plans, too many things to do, a family I wanted to be there for and watch grow. It was just not right.
It took me a L-O-N-G time to sit down with Rhi and complete my own funeral arrangement documents. To make the choices for where the service would be, my favourite music, who would carry my coffin (I’m not a small guy so this was carefully considered!!) and how I would be finally cremated, buried in the ground or at sea.
I had been championing for years the need for members of our community to do the same, why was this so hard for me now? My very sensible mind told me that it had to be done, but in some way, it felt like I was abandoning hope for the success of the operation to complete these pre-arrangements for my own funeral service. I just didn’t want to admit that this might not have the outcome that we had all hoped for.
As the surgery date approached, I think I lulled myself into a false hope that this would all go away, if I just didn’t think about it, it wouldn’t happen. I had also subconsciously been distancing myself from my family and those around me. I strangely figured that, by sort of being absent now, maybe the pain would be lessened if I did die while having brain surgery. I really don’t know what my plan was! I had lots of medical things to bamboozle me right then without having to worry about this other stuff too.
The evening before we were to leave for Sydney, Rhianon stood her ground and forced the issue of finalising the funeral documents. It was tough, we cried a lot, we laughed a bit, it took longer than I expected!! I think I have become a funeral-zilla!!
I had a funny sense of pride when we were finished. Like I was leaving my affairs carefully completed for my family and children. I had stood up, like an adult, made the difficult choices and put them on paper so my family didn’t have to make them for me when they would be shadowed by my death. God knows they would have enough to deal with if that did happen.
Thanks to the highly skilled team at Prince of Wales Private my surgery was a success with a complete resection of the offending tumour. The road back to my original health will take a while, and I am frustrated that I am not back to 100% immediately, the fact is that I am still here to hold the ones I love; to feel the sun on my face and the breeze on my cheek.
I have had an extended time away from work, and I have missed my business, my staff and our client families, but thankfully I haven’t become one of my own clients.