They say when you look back after a person passes away there’s a reason certain things happened.
I don’t know what made me do it, but on the Tuesday night I decided I would sit by my dad’s bedside. I stayed awake the entire night with him. He would wake up and we’d have a little chat and he would fall back asleep again. That was our final night together. Dad passed away on Wednesday evening. It’s a night I will be eternally grateful for as we had so many giggles.
My dad was diagnosed with IPF in June 2017, aged 63. It was all very surreal as the diagnosis came days after my uncle passed away with the same illness. Having watched a close member of our family slip away to this disease, I realized the cycle was about to begin again; but this time up close.
Dad had been coughing for a while and was struggling with breathlessness. He was going back and forth from the doctors for some time, so when we were told what it was, it was heartbreaking as we already knew what to expect.
My father was a headstrong individual. He was extremely focused - once he put his mind to something, he would not stop until his targets were achieved. With this tenacity, I have to say, my father lived a fulfilled life with many experiences only some of us can dream to achieve.
My dad came to the UK in his twenties and was always a hard worker. He started off on the factory floor of a manufacturing company. Management saw something in my dad as he was promoted to Manager. In 1996 he was offered a role to set up an office in Mumbai for a German company and without hesitating went for it. So he moved to India and begun his life there. As children this was exciting for us – especially to experience the capital of Bollywood. Over the years, dad began to grow his network and because of this my family and I were exposed to so many fabulous experiences we never would have had if Dad didn’t work has hard as he did. Mumbai became a second home and for that, we will always be grateful.
When the diagnosis came we knew dad would be disciplined on how to move forward to manage the IPF. At first, he was carrying out his normal routine, it was only when he started to cough he would feel exhausted and take it easy for the rest of the day. Around November 2018, the coughing became consistent and he realized he had to slow down his pace. This was very hard to see as he was someone who was active, always going for walks, travelling all over the world and an extremely hardworking businessmen who had to all of a sudden take it easy and not to exert himself. The use of oxygen had increased and now he was using it to give him the boost he needed to help him get up the stairs as he would be exhausted.
In January 2020 he became severely ill and went into hospital. The doctor said he was only now using 30% of his lungs and all they could do was make him comfortable as possible. The time was near. Dad’s mind was 100% sharp until the last moment and that’s really hard to see when a loved one passes. His wish was to be at home when he passed as he especially wanted to spend as much time with his grandchildren. As a family, we supported his wish and knew from this point on, we really had to give him all the support he needed.
My dad has been an amazing pillar of strength in many of my tough times so when the time came for me to give him the support he needed, I didn’t hesitate. After all, it was the least I could do and I did it with pride. I think any child would feel the same. As a son or daughter experiencing the same thing, my advice would be to be present as much as possible and create memories. I understand it is hard, but believe me when I say the strength that you show really supports your loved one in their time of need.
Finding our charity
I found Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis a week after my Dad’s funeral and I really do wish I found them before. It would have been wonderful to connect with other people going through the same journey.
However, it’s great to have found APF and I truly believe what they are trying to achieve is great.
I wholeheartedly support this charity because it is so important to research further into the causes of this illness and to also reach out to those in need of support.
For this reason I have chosen to support APF. With every client I book through my business, Matched by Sukh Kaur, I pledge to donate a portion of proceeds to APF.