It’s been a year today since I got that phone call that left me sobbing on my cold tiled apartment floor that a man that I loved and adored was gone.
I always thought that my dad was always going to be around, he was always there when I needed him, even when my pride was telling me that I couldn’t ask for help, he was patiently waiting for me to find a way to get past it. But I was his daughter (and I still am), I’m stubborn to my core and I want to do things my way, no matter how I get them. I will work on it to get there.
But in an instant I learned that life is never a given. I should have been used to this, my little brother has a congenital heart problem that he was born with and there were times when he was told that he might not wake up after a surgery, but he persevered and against all odds came back swinging. I thought that my family was free of anything that could break us.
I never bargained on losing my dad.
I never asked for him to be gone.
Even as a teenager when his iron fist involved grounding me for close to a year for betraying his trust, or when he wouldn’t let me go out to do the things I wanted to do and I called him bad names. I never wanted him to leave me. But I look back now and I know he was giving me the tools to learn how to live without him, even if I didn’t know it.
He gave me the strength I needed to make sure that my mother and brother were okay, to make sure that I was their sounding board, their backbone, their right hand. What he didn’t teach me was how to grieve.
I can’t say that I’ve fully understood what that means either. I don’t do vulnerability. I can’t. Crying to me is the hardest thing in the world. I can get teary at a movie, but I cannot and will not, cry in front of someone when something hurts. I can cry when I get mad, I can cry when I hurt myself so bad that the pain is too much, but I will not cry in front of someone when I’m vulnerable.
Life is scary and beautiful but it’s also heartbreaking. I spent six months in a haze, at the time I felt like I was really together but I know I wasn’t. I was a shell. I was trying to process that my dad was gone. I’m now actively grieving. I’m learning not to berate myself when I can’t get myself out of bed, or that I’ve put back on the weight I’ve lost, or that I’m just not interested in food. I have to go with the flow or I won’t survive.
Writing has always been a form of therapy to me and when I lost the ability to put my thoughts down, I lost the ability to cope. I lost the ability to process what had happened and I had to learn how to make that happen in my life again. I had to teach myself how to write again. I needed to get my practice back.
And while I’m not going to the gym as much or meditating I’m learning how to make it work for me. My life is not neat, it’s by no chance organised and part of me hates that because I need to be in control of something but the other part that hates structure is rolling around happy. I like having no structure.
But with no structure and with the fall out of his death has come with some serious life lessons:
Life is too short to worry about what other people think – this has been one of the biggest issues I always come across. I think too much about everything, it’s the writer in me and I learned that if people don’t like me, that’s they’re problem, not mine. I’m sick of bending for people who want things from me that I can’t physically give them.
Life is too short in general – I stopped procrastinating and bought my hosting, I got my blog going, slowly I’m building up what I want to do.
Friends are forever – I had lots of people pop back up in my life when my dad passed away and I’m grateful for it, but I am still in awe over the friends I have. The ones who made the time to fly down to my hometown and spend a weekend with me where I didn’t have to explain what I was doing now, they knew me, they got me, that’s all there was.
Family can be crappy – this is the hardest to come to terms with. I’ve always been so used to having family be this unbreakable bond but when shit hits the fan and words get thrown around without realising what they’ve said there’s on so much that can be soothed over before you blow. Or go for a drive. Or escape back to your haven.
Family gets closer – I didn’t think that it would be possible to be closer to my mum and brother, but it happened. It’s better and I can’t think of anything more that I would want. I adore them so much and I hate that we had to go through this, but we’re a unit. Come and try and break us.
I miss Dad, soooo much. And I wish that I could call him up and hear his voice, hear him tease me, or his stupid little smurf like laugh. As much as I hated it I wish I could smell his cigarette laden scent that I associated with him (I’ve smelt it once before and it nearly made me cry). I want him to tease me about the boys I like or make me worry that he would tell them so much that he would laugh at me when he would ask them a question about who their father was.
I want it all back, but the reality is that I can’t. I can’t get it back because he’s gone from this world, physically. But spiritually I know that he’s everywhere. He’s the butterflies that come to visit when I’m having a good day, in the rain on the bad days, he’s in the bite to that chill that comes on a cold day.
He’s everywhere. He always told me that he would but now he really is.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and I wish that he was still around, but he’s watching over me and I’m going about my life as I should and I can’t wait until we meet again, because we will meet again.
Love you Dad.