The Sun Always Sets


This is the view from my parent’s sitting room. When this picture was taken my father, wizened with pancreatic cancer, was sitting in his armchair just to the left of me next to the window reading the evening paper, and Mum, marvelling at the setting sun, had asked me to take a picture of it. And in reality it was a beauty – fiery orange with pinks and corals burning the trees on the horizon in a breath-taking display of vibrancy and raw power which this picture failed utterly to capture.

Today, as I write this, I am sitting in Dad’s armchair preparing myself for his funeral tomorrow. And once again I am failing to capture the raw beauty and power of a setting sun.

I could tell you how our lives were lurched into suspended animation the day we heard him say ‘the Doctor says I have cancer’; the sickness I felt when Google explained in unflinching detail the prognosis as everyone else tried to hide behind blind faith and hope; the desperation we all had when he was admitted to hospital; the horror when he was released and told to go home because there was nothing they could do, that any chemotherapy would kill him, that surgery would never happen and that he only had weeks to live. I cannot even begin to convery how I now dread phonecalls, how the last conversation with my brother left me on the point of retching when I was told the Dr said he could go anytime ‘so come as soon as you can’, how I packed a bag in record speed and managed to pack everything except anything I needed, bundled my children in the car and sped the 250 mile journey in record speed to race to my dad’s bedside, cool his brow with a cool clothe before he died before all of us two hours later.

These last few weeks have dragged and raced at one and the same time. From January to the end of March, from diagnosis to death. From hope to despair.

But equally I could tell you about the kindness of strangers, the brilliance of nurses and Drs, the many, many people who cared, who hugged, who made the time to ask how we were. Small kindnesses which kept us afloat in so many ways.

I can’t capture in a way that does it justice the power and raw beauty of this setting sun. Tomorrow I bury my father.


32 thoughts on “The Sun Always Sets

  1. My thought’s are with you. I have buried both of my parents who were both taken well before I was ready for them to go. Nothing can prepare you or help you with that horrible jagged pain that happens when someone you love is taken from you. I will think of you tomorrow, take care or yourself as well as trying to take care of those around you.


  2. Assalaamu Alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhuInnaa lillaahi wa ‘innaa ‘ilayhi raaji’oon. From Allaah we come and to Allaah we return.May Allaah comfort you and your family, give you lots of strength and patience, aameen. In shaa Allaah, take care, sister.Wasalaam


  3. I send love and hugs to you. Like you, I saw my dad die from pancreatic cancer too; also hideously quickly. I did get some comfort from being with him as he took his last breaths. An honour in a small way. And the kindnesses of friends and strangers mean so much. I hope the funeral goes as well as those things ever can and that you find time to smile and laugh even with family and friends as good times are recalled. And then the sun will set again. One of the few certainties in these lives of ours. God bless you all.


  4. My dear dear sister, I’m so sorry for your loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. I will be thinking of you tomorrow.Allah ma’aki.Innaa lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi


  5. I am sorry for your loss. My husband just lost his dad 6 weeks ago. It is almost surreal. My heart is with you. I will think about you a lot over the next few days. Hugs Lisa L.


  6. Salaams Debbie, Just reading this makes me think about how life is so precious and it could be taken at any time. Im thinking of you, your family and your boys.. I don’t know how i would/will cope when i lose my father and even thinking about it is painful.. i can’t imagine.Your in my duas sister x


  7. Assalamualaikum Debbie,Innalilahi wa ina ilahi rajioon. I don’t know what to say… May Allah make this time easy for you and your family.


  8. Assamualaikum Debbie,….I am not sure what to say, so my words for you:”Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease” 94:6alfarascha


  9. I am so sorry for your loss Debbie. 2011 has not been kind to us either. My beloved grandad died in Jan, of prostate cancer. He passed away a year after he began to show symptoms of it, and was diagnosed in June. I can’t imagine the pain you feel at losing your father and so fast. I am still grieving my grandad, and in my mind at night I relive the past year in my mind how it would have been if he did not have the cancer. I hope you are ok. Words feel insufficient to comfort you. xxxx


  10. Assalamu alaikum,Inna liLlahi wa Inna ialaihi rajeoon,Much love and heartfelt sympathy for you and your family. May strength and patience be showered upon you all and memories of your dear father be kept safe in hearts where you can revisit all that he was over and over,Wassalamu alaikum


  11. thankyou all for your kind wishes. the funeral was dignified and the church was full, testament to how much he was liked and loved. I’m going to take a few days off internet, but I do read all comments and I appreciate them all. thankyou. xx


  12. AA,I just happened upon your blog,today. I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear father. May Godbring peace and comfort to your heart and all those that loved him.


  13. You write so beautifully. My heart is full of compassion for you and your loss. I was on the other end with my father. I took care of him and was the one to call my siblings. Unfortunately my brother didn’t make it to say goodbye. Sending healing thoughts your way. You will see him again and embrace in joy some day.xo dd


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