In my previous post I mentioned that I lost my dad most unexpectedly. Very recently a friend of mine’s mom passed away and it got me to thinking about my dad’s passing. This November marks the end of the third year without him and that’s an anniversay I don’t look forward. It brings with it memories of what was one of the most difficult times in my life. Of all the difficulties life has thrown my way, to date this is by far the most difficult I’ve endured.
My dad died very suddenly in November 2014, just nine short days after my mom’s birthday.
It was such a shock to the system! The day before my mama’s birthday he fell and broke his leg – not such a big deal, right? Well, that’s what we thought too. But we were wrong. Ten days later he was dead. Just like that. One day he was here and then he wasn’t. My family and I were left reeling. What the hell had happened?
We moved through the motions of doing all that needed doing while dealing with the fallout of his death. As he had come to hospital with what appeared to only be a broken leg his passing seemed out of character and his attending doctor requested an autopsy. The consequence of that is my mother was interviewed like a criminal to determine whether or not his broken leg was a result of foul play. It made life far more unpleasant than it already was. The only bright light in a dark time was the wonderful care the nursing staff gave my dad. They were amazing! And I will be forever grateful that they made his last days here on earth as comfortable as they possibly could.
The much resented autopsy was completed, the results were in and once again we were left reeling! But in the end, many weeks after the trauma began it finally all came to an end. We were finally able to hold a memorial service in his honour, giving family and friends a chance to say their goodbyes and pay their respects. So came the end of that heartbreaking chapter. 💔
Initially, I felt I was coping well, seemed to be going on with everyday life. And then suddenly, out of the blue, one day as I was sitting at the PC working on a manuscript it felt like I’d taken a heart shot. It was like I couldn’t catch my breath. My eyes welled with tears and it felt like my world was collapsing in on itself. I didn’t understand what it was but it felt raw and emotional, and so much bigger than me.
And without so much as a warning, just like that, it all came to a halt. I stopped reading, I stopped writing, I stopped being creative. It was like I didn’t have a creative bone left in my body. It was the most bizarre thing. Each day seemed to blur into the next and before I knew it I hadn’t been on social media in months, I hadn’t blogged or written or interacted with anyone, anywhere, anyhow. Not even spending time with family and friends – something I love to do. I withdrew from the world into a bubble of my own making, where the essence of my creativity was silenced. My husband accused me of becoming a hermit. He wasn’t wrong! So much for coping.
Fast forward a few months …
We were gearing up for our Writers Association’s annual conference. My friend and I were in constant contact making plans, booking events and accommodation, making meal selections, planning pitches (well she was anyway – I hadn’t written in what felt like forever!) and just as suddenly as it disappeared, I felt a little spark of interest in life flicker within. Slowly but surely as the days counted down and the conference got closer, I got more excited about it. Meeting like minded people, learning more about my craft, talking writing, publishing and more. Excitement grew.
Just that suddenly my passion for all things writing was back, breaking the silence that had become my life.
To those who patiently waited out my silence and withdrawal, I will always deeply thankful to them and for them. I am so truly grateful to them for giving me the necessary time to grieve the loss of a man that meant so very much to me and giving me the opportunity to say goodbye as befits the love that I hold in my heart for he who was: my dad, my mentor, my champion, my SuperDAD, in my own way, in my own time.
When he left, my dad took a piece of my heart with him that I will never get back. It will forever be in his keeping.
A few years ago I came across this poem. It has so much meaning for me, even though I sometimes battle to honour the sentiment. But in this moment I pay tribute to my father as I miss him but continue to remind myself to let him go. I love you Daddy!
MISS ME BUT LET ME GO
Edgar A. Guest
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little – but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me – but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan,
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss Me – But Let me Go!
It’s been a difficult road to acceptance but what warms my heart is looking back on a lifetime of amazing memories of my dad. There are so many wonderful memories of him to choose from, so many things he taught me, so many things we shared.
So, in closing, I thought I’d share one of my all time favourite photos of my dad and I.
As clichéd as it may seem, everyday that you have with your loved ones is a gift. Don’t miss an opportunity to let them know just how much they meant to you. Tell them you love them. Give them that extra hug. You never know when it’s the last opportunity you’ll get and when they’re gone we’re the ones left behind to live with that regret.
In memory of my SuperDAD : Oct 1945 – Nov 2014