Where are you? Where did you go? Something doesn’t feel quite right- yesterday, today and tomorrow too – and I know why, it’s because you aren’t here anymore dad.
For anyone that has lost a loved one I’m sure you know how it feels. I’m sure you “get it”. It is incredibly hard to describe and for those that haven’t lost someone close to them it can be very difficult for them to relate. Grief, loss, death, it is hard, overwhelmingly hard, and it is a part of life that we will all experience whether it is someone in our life or it is our own life. It is a topic that many run away from, it isn’t something people generally want to chat about over dinner or at a friendly catch up, but it is a big part of life and it should be recognised. We do a good job of fearing death, and so many live life running away from it, taking silly pills prescribed from the doctors because they “will” make us live longer, we take things for granted and we worry about the “what-if” situations rather than just living in the present moment.
Rather than living life in a fuzzy daze of worry and fear, why not make the most of life and just be in it, be here, be present right now? It isn’t difficult, it isn’t scary, it is simple. Yes we are all going to die one day, that is what happens unfortunately, so why not truly live this beautiful life we have been given? Trust me, when someone very close dies we can notice how much more beauty there is in life and that we should embrace every living moment.
When I lost my mum at 13, then my step-mum at 15, I was too young to understand. I was deeply sad, overwhelmed with grief, completely lost, and I could not talk about mum for years, I would cry myself to sleep almost every night for the first couple of years. Then time, experience and understanding helped. I lost grandad, then I lost grandma, and now I have lost dad. My dad. The most beautiful man in my life. With all of these losses I have gained a deep understanding for life and the utmost gratitude for having the opportunity to experience life with these incredible people whilst they were still here. Time has given me the chance to smile at all the wonderful memories. Time has given me the chance to talk about mum and cherish those 13 years I had with her and be so thankful for having such a beautiful mum. Time gave me the chance to prepare for the day that dad would die, because of course he would one day as we all do, and I did have a much older parent so I knew I wouldn’t have him in my life for years and years to come, but no matter the time no one wants that moment to appear. There still hasn’t been enough time without dad in my life to truly feel fully ok without him here. Grief takes time, in fact I see it as part of life now that I have been experiencing it since the age of thirteen, and to be honest we don’t just “get over it” or “get past it”, instead it is simply a part of our life now. I will be grieving dad every day, just how I am still grieving mum to this day nearly 19 years later.
It has been less than seven months without my dad. Life is weird, I am lost without him, and there are times when I feel helpless. Yet I can still see beauty in life as we are blessed with the opportunity to live on this magnificent earth. It is ok to feel sad and miss a loved one, and at the same time smile and enjoy beautiful things in life. Right now my beautiful daughter is mastering the art of standing, which is simply incredible to observe. I would love dad to be seeing her growing up and laughing at her silly giggles and ways with life, hearing her shout grandad would have been a joyous experience, but sadly I am not able to experience this. Instead I can smile at knowing how dad would be thrilled to see her growing up and becoming a hilarious little girl full of life.
Grief is hard. It is overwhelming, tiring, emotional and very much a rollercoaster of emotions. I miss dad every single day, I think about him every day and feel so blessed to have had such a phenomenal dad. From my experiences over time and understanding of this precious thing we call life, I have been able to celebrate dad. I have found it quite a natural process of celebrating him as he deserves to be celebrated, he was a wonderful person full of so much zest for life, that to honour him feels right in celebration. But that celebration is still full of sadness which is fine, it is normal, it is the mixed emotion of grieving. It is grief.
As a culture we would be doing ourselves a favour by recognising death. It happens just as much as new life begins. A baby is born, a person will die. It is all normal and natural, and all we have to do is learn acceptance. Accept that it is ok, accept that we will lose loved ones, accept that it will hurt and be challenging, accept that we will grieve nearly every day. Life happens, death happens and that is all we know. When you lose that special someone it is a harsh reminder that life cannot be planned and all we can do is go with the flow and live. So let’s just be present each day and live in abundance for each beautiful moment.