One of our most inspiring bloggers, @bereavedsingledad , has agreed to write a guest post for us about the loss of his father when he was younger. It is a lovely post, and we are very grateful that Gary was able to write for us. Here is the link to his blog, so you can give him a read; grab a cup of tea, because you’ll be reading for a while! As soon as you start, you won’t want to stop.
Katie & Evee x
Wind the clock back many years. I was in my final year at university. My Dad had been ill for many years. Looking back I’m not sure what quality of life he had in the end: many of the things he loved doing had been taken from him due to his ill health. But one thing he still clung onto was to see me get my degree. I was the first in the family ever to go onto higher education. He was so thrilled when I got a place in University. So excited (even more than me) at the prospect of getting a degree. In the end he left us two months before I got my final results.
The day he left us is still etched on my mind. It started no differently to many other days. A quiet Saturday. Dad was not good but he’d looked that way for months. The difference on that particular Saturday was that I had tickets to go and see Deep Purple. All went smoothly until midway through the concert. Without warning a shiver went down my spine. He was gone. I just knew it. It was a time before mobile phones, so I couldn’t confirm my fears until I arrived back at my parents house. As the house came into view the site of all the family cars outside confirmed the worst. He had died around the time I had sensed it.
Can’t explain the premonition. Maybe it was just one of those things. But even after all those years I can still vividly remember that feel. I can’t remember much about the funeral or the weeks after his death; Just the realisation that he was gone. The other thing was that feeling of emptiness. A door had locked shut on a part of my life. As hard as I tried the lock on that door would never open. I tried. I tried many times. But it was never going to open again.
Slowly I picked up the courage to move away from that locked door. To start to live again. The pain of loss slowly became less intense. It would strike less frequently. Random things would bring it on. Usually something to do with his favourite things. Someone cutting their lawn. Someone working in a greenhouse. A person sat outside a pub reading a newspaper. Seeing an advert for his favourite chocolate. Hearing one of his records on the radio. But as the years turned into decades even those triggers became less tender.
Life without him became the new normal. I learned to fully live my own life. He was certainly not forgotten, still loved, and still missed. But the pain had ebbed. Replaced with a frustration. A frustration at myself.
Why did I keep so few keepsakes of his?
What did happen to the old photographs?
AND above all why did I not ask more questions? Find out more about him before he left us? He was my Dad yet I hardly knew him. His back story. His life before me and our family. How much did I miss. The answer is sadly – an awful lot. Only a few years ago my sister stumbled across some long lost document which showed Dad was divorced before be met mum. That was news to all the siblings. That one fact opened up another 1000 questions which will now never be answered. Sadly by then mum had also left us.
Losing my Dad at a relatively young age was tough. Yes it still frustrates the hell out of me. But life goes on. As one door shut on one life, my door stayed open. Yes it’s good to go back occasionally to that old door and look through the window. To see old memories. But while your door remains open, live life to the full and fill your space with great memories.