How ironic that only a few weeks ago I wrote a piece about grief and I have now started my own walk down this lonely and dark road. I am embarking upon something for the first time without you.
The cloak has well and truly wrapped itself tightly around me. It’s totally encompassing and sometimes feels a little looser but then I remember and it wraps itself around me until I feel I can’t breathe any more. It feels like it’s going to suck the life out of me and so totally unbearable that it feels impossible to move.
Then there’s this time of year. I see everyone around me so happy to celebrate Christmas… I had an especially lonely time in a store yesterday with people laughing and joking as I tried to remember why I had gone to the shop. I wanted to get a megaphone and shout to all around me “Don’t you know what’s just happened to me?” but I made it through the expedition and survived in one piece. I even managed a weak smile as someone wished me a ‘happy Christmas’. I think you would have been proud that I kept it together!
No-one had prepared me as to how I would feel to lose my human compass. Obviously I knew it would happen at some point as you had been unwell for some time and were 80 years old. But the speed and the finality of it all took me completely unawares.
I feel like the rug has been ripped out from under my feet and I have crashed to the floor and banged my head so hard that my life has been spinning out of control since. It’s strange that I feel that I am literally ‘existing’ whilst the world carries on around me. I feel like I am moving in slow motion as all around me are moving at a normal speed and pace.
I wake up and I remember and then I cry. I cry at the strangest of times. I am beginning to remember lots of wonderful memories which had escaped me whilst the illness took hold. But they are coming back and with each new memory is a new smile.
It was a terrible few days before you found your heaven but I am so grateful for the hours I spent alone with you. I was able to talk to you about happy times and thank you. Thank you for all the seeds that you sewed into my life. Apologise for my terrible behaviour in my 20s and talk to you about the special times between you and me. What a privilege it has been to have had you for 50 years. How happy I am that you saw me settled and with my Prince Charming.
You taught me right from wrong, good from bad and the difference between black and white.. and boy isn’t there one? You showed me by how you lived your life what a good person could and should be. You held my hand whilst I was poorly and you told me no man likes a bag of bones when I got too thin. There are so many things I could write about but won’t as right now they are too precious to share.
My heart feels like it has broken in two. It feels like it will never mend and perhaps it won’t but I have someone here who is holding the shattered pieces so delicately to stop it completely breaking and I know that you are pleased about that.
Oh Dad… how I will get through these next few days I don’t know, but I do know you are here in spirit. It’s a funny time of year to be doing this without you and it’s all so raw but I know you wouldn’t want us to be sad.
You were so brave and courageous and dignified until the end. I have never heard you complain at the cruel disease you lived with for so long. You suffered in silence and it was a huge lesson to me.
One of my friends told me the word ‘gentleman’ was invented just for you. It was….
Wonderful, wonderful you. My amazing Father. I weep as I write this but I am smiling through my tears.
You were quite simply the best.