The day Dad died By Heather Millar

As I walk along the wet sand in the early morning sunshine, my dogs flash their toothy grins at me and pound through the waves. It’s a perfect summer morning in South Australia. I am throwing a ball for them when suddenly, a tremendous shiver forks through me, accompanied by a strange thought: “You must be so scared, Dad!” He is in hospital having an operation for bowel cancer – keyhole surgery for a small tumor. Even though he is 80, he is expected to recover and return home within the week. The phone is ringing as I make my way up the drive from the beach. It is my sister. She is in Tasmania looking after Dad during his stint in hospital. I am on call to head back there to care for him when he leaves the hospital. I pick up the phone, expecting it to be her, saying he’s been discharged and to get on a flight. Instead she says, “Dad’s dead. He had a heart attack and died.” He hadn’t recovered from the operation as the doctors expected. He had even told the doctors his stomach was pressing upwards and he felt like he was going to have a heart attack. Turns out he was right. It happened around the time the shiver rocked through me on the beach. That’s just like my dad. Maintaining the connection to his daughters even as he is dying. Now he comes to me in dreams, and our story together continues.

in Hobart TAS, Australia


I am a life story writer and accredited editor. I'm passionate about capturing the stories of everyday lives - each extraordinary in its own way.

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