Almost 2 weeks ago I received a message on facebook from a lady I didn’t know, and I knew something was wrong. I called the telephone number and heard the news. My dad had passed away. At first, I was in complete shock. Denial. Disbelief. The phone call from the police shortly afterwards confirmed it, my dad had passed away and been found at home by a friend.
At the time of his death, we hadn’t spoken for a few months. He had deleted me from facebook earlier in the year over something silly, and I had only spoken to him once since. That was 2 months ago when I visited him at his shop. I had decided that it was silly to stay out of contact and made the first move, but we hadn’t had contact since.
A non-traditional relationship.
We didn’t have a traditional father-daughter relationship. He wasn’t an engaged parent, but in that respect, the same could be said for me, I wasn’t an engaged daughter. In my childhood, I only saw him a few times a year, and that didn’t change in adulthood. When I did see him, it was always me visiting him at his shop in our local town. Always me making the effort. Then when I did, 50% of the time I came away upset about something he had said or done, and heartbreakingly he never knew.
At 31, I have already grieved for my mother and my grandparents who raised me. Losing a parent or someone who brought you up is devastating. In a way, I am finding my grief harder this time, especially since we hadn’t been speaking. Despite not having regular contact with my dad, I still loved him with all my heart.
Despite everything, I have regrets for not making myself a bigger part of his life and regret that we hadn’t talked in so long. Regret that I can’t tell him I love him, and hear him tell me, that he loved me.
Part of me is grieving that father-daughter relationship we should have had. The one I see daily when I see Mr T with our children, or friends with their parents. I felt the same grief and pain for what ‘should-have-been’ when I lost my mother at eleven. I wish I could go back to my 11-year-old self, give myself a huge hug and tell myself that it’s completely normal.
I used to joke that even a mortgage and four children didn’t make me feel like an adult, but this certainly has. I selfishly hope that I never have to organise another funeral in my life.
Its hard to continue as normal when all I want to do is stop. I purposely have been late on the school run because I can’t face standing in the playground talking. I know this is self-defeating because talking, even about other things helps. Mr T has helped the children decorate for Christmas, but my heart isn’t in it. Only a handful of presents have been bought, and none wrapped. I know I need to face it and start for the sake of the children.
Mr T is my rock and without him, I am not sure where I would be. He has chatted and held me while I’ve sobbed into the small hours of the morning. He was by my side all the way through the first night when the grief and a migraine had made me physically sick. He has taken care of the children and diverted them to him when I couldn’t cope, and he’s been by my side as much as he possibly could. Its only in the last few months I have started to feel like I was coping after the anxiety and post-natal depression I felt after Ava’s arrival, and I am worried for the sake of my young family that it will return.
Looking for the positives, the children haven’t been too affected. They are understandably sad and we have chatted regularly about it and how they feel, but they didn’t see their Grandad very much so the hardest part for them has been seeing me so upset.
They say things happen in threes, and maybe that’s true. Our car has also broken down, and we lost a good chunk of our Christmas savings in the nicehash hack that happened around a week ago. But both of those seem so trivial now.
These are the first photographs I have taken in over 2 weeks. You can’t really tell but it was snowing gently and we were all getting ready to walk to the shop. I saw these four playing outside in the snow wearing matching hats. So I ran back inside to find my neglected camera. In one of the photos, they are catching snowflakes that you cant really see. Sometimes I ask the children to pose for photographs, but this was completely natural and I love that they are all catching snowflakes, although it looks like they are holding an invisible crystal ball or holding a tiny insect!
I could tell my heart wasn’t in it, the settings were wrong and most of the pictures were badly composed, chopping off limbs and on funny angles! But the important thing is the memory captured, not the quality of photo.
I know I need to be strong, and that life must go on, especially for the sake of these four beautiful people.
“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” – Kahlil Gibran