In loving memory of Per Høy Rahbek
Am I even allowed to write a headline like this, when I am on the travel of my dreams? But yes, I am…
It has been a little less than three weeks now, since my father passed away.
Those of you, who know me and Per, know that he was like a father to me. I have known him for over 30 years, as he moved in with my mother, when I was 7 years old. We are not related by blood, but he married my mother and raised me, like he was my father, and now I miss him with all of my heart.
Let us just rewind a bit…
It has been quiet on the website and SoMe for the last month, and it has been a difficult month in many ways, so I did not have the time nor the energy to actually post something new.
After Norway we drove back to Denmark because of various things but also because, it is on the way south, when driving from Norway. We stayed a week in Denmark, which was nice, but actually we were eager to get going again.
Many interesting things happened in Denmark including buying and selling a house (more about this in a different post later), but it was an inconvenient stop, as we were completely high on the vanlife lifestyle coming from an amazing month in Norway. We had so much energy in us and really just wanted to continue straight away. But some things got swapped out, and Molly had a few repairs.
After a week we took off and started out in the Harz in Germany. This was nice and had some good mountainbiking for both parents and kids. But somehow Austria had found a spot in my brain and would not leave, which made me want to speed up things – the exact opposite of what we had promised each other to do on this trip – More Time to Be right?
So, after a lot of hurrying and some huge discussions – which was my fault because of all the rush – we ended up just across the border to Austria on Sunday September 13th. We went to sleep angry at each other and me angry at myself.
Monday morning changed everything and gave a whole new perspective. We woke up to the phone buzzing somewhere. This was my sister-in-law telling us that my father was very sick, and the doctors were not sure that he would make it. It was an inflammation in the pancreas. My mother had called us Saturday saying that he was in the hospital but that everything looked fine, so we were not to worry. So, we did not worry.
Sunday evening the message was the same. They had some worries about cancer, but the CT scan was fine, and they could say for sure that it was not cancer. Once again, no need to worry – except for the way, we had started out the first week of travelling again. Somehow everything went wrong, and suddenly he had blood poisoning, and most of his organs stopped functioning. We raced back home in Molly – a very long drive with a lot of crying – and reached the hospital 9.30 p.m. My stepbrother had raced back home from Norway, and him and I sat by my father during the night. My mother and two other brothers had been there since the night before, so they were exhausted. Staying with him was a really overwhelming experience. We both knew that the stakes were low, but we still had hope. We spoke, cried, sat by him, drank coffee and tried to say to him that now was the time to fight.
The doctor later said that he would have liked to have met Per, as he could tell that Per had been fighting really hard throughout it all. But his body was not able to fight anymore.
Tuesday, the doctor had to call us in to give us the devastating news that Per would not make it. Nothing was functioning, and there was no chance that it would somehow turn around. He was already dead inside, but the machines and the medicine kept him alive.
We stood together next to him and cried, when they turned off the help and half an hour later, he took his last breath. It felt unreal, and I was angry! So unfair and so meaningless. They say that everything happens for a reason, but I just cannot see the reason! He was 64 years old and had so much more to see and experience.
He was the most caring man, loved his family and was always there to support us! He would reschedule things, plan his vacation according to our plans and drop almost everything to be there for us. He and my mom were this rock-solid constellation that we always could count on – and what now? What happens, when the most solid constellation you know, is not there anymore? They should have been there; experiencing things with us for so many years to come. And now he is not there anymore.
He raised me as his own boy and taught me so many of the things, I know today. School stuff, craftsmanship, persistence and so much more.
He made an impression on everyone, he met. He gave such warm and long hugs. He was a colossal part of the local community in my hometown, and he was a proud man. Proud of his family, proud of his home and proud of his achievements. But I am even more proud of him! I actually learned a lot more about him during these last two weeks, and this just makes me even more sad and frustrated – because he was not ready to leave. He loved life, and he lived his life!
Right now, I still cannot understand, he is gone. But he was a traveller… And he loved our plan and always wanted to hear all about our travels. So, he backed us up in our decision about travelling for a year, and he would turn in his grave, if we were to quit now.
So, with a heavy heart we are off again… Life is so very fragile – let’s embrace it, while we are still here.
Here is a nice post from the local newspaper. It is written by his colleagues and describes his influence in the local community. It is written in Danish…