Emily's story

These are a few of the things she remembers from the time just before he died and how it affected her. 

'I also did a lot of talking meditations with my dad as he was dying, talking about his favorite places as if we were sitting there together, watching and hearing the fish jump at his favorite trout fishing spot, or lying on the beach under the pohutukawa trees listing to the waves. I think dad liked that. 

It was really amazing because we had the entire family 5 kids, and his brother and his wife in the room with him when he died. All holding him up, touching him and holding him. It was quite amazing. We had had him washed that morning. He did cry as he died - there were tears. He really wasn't ready to give up on his life. Four days before he died he had given a speech to over 400 people at the dedication ceremony of the new "Mike Cormack suite" at Eden park. He was absolutely holding on for that. After that he went to bed and did not get up again (except weirdly to check his emails once!! when i asked him what he was doing he said 'just keeping up with things kiddo!"). 

One thing i learnt on a physical level was how it affected my breast milk. Grief causes the release of cortisol which travels to the breast milk and hence gave me  a very wired baby - which was pretty stressful on top of everything!

I also replayed the death scene in all its traumatic details over and over whenever my mind wasn't occupied for nearly six months after the death. It was as if my mind was trying and trying to make sense of the entire experience. But I just kept meeting a dead end. It was very traumatic, as I relived it involuntarily over and over and over. 

On a practical note, I wrote a list of questions to ask dad and over the year that he was dying I gradually asked him. And eventually got all my answers - often in his cryptic way.