For weeks I’d felt like something was off. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was having random chest pains from the stress at work and the stress of money. Or at least I thought I was. I took deep breaths and waited for the feeling to pass. I did meditation and had long hot bubble baths. But even still I felt off.
On Friday, the day before my life changed completely I felt weird; disconnected; hollow. I mentioned this to my bestie and she tried to help me through it. I thought I was past it.
Saturday rolled around and I woke up at 6:16am, a full 40 mins ahead of my alarm (that was not uncommon), and puttered around the house. There was a shroud of despair around me. I was heavy, feeling like I would much rather sleep through the day.
I got phone calls from an auntie that hadn’t spoken to me much and I was perplexed but used to it, she wanted to see me before easter, that was the next day. I bought eggs and went to work. I was determined to get through the day and not complain too much. I spoke to my friend and care taking manager and was working steadily through the day. It was going to be a long day but I was going to get through it.
My auntie came an hour and a half into my shift and pulled me out. I thought she was busting me out, but I should have known from the reaction of Shauna that something was up.
I ate. We chatted. I went back to my apartment with my auntie and uncle. Then I remember picking up the phone and my uncle back home telling me news I thought was wrong. I was sure of it. But his voice broke. And so did my heart.
My dad was dead. Gone. Passed away. Didn’t survive his heart attack. He tried to tell me that there was a flight I was meant to be on. I don’t remember anything but crying.
My best friend and rock was gone. He was gone.
I puttered around and remembered that I had to call people. I needed to tell them the news. All that was on my mind was the awesome raw dessert I’d made for the next day. Easter seemed like a total waste of space.
The rest of the day was a blur. There were drinks consumed and a flight home before I had to hold my mother as she sobbed that her soulmate was gone.
Everyday after it was a blur. It was forever a Saturday. My brother’s friends made Sunday a little easier. Then we had to tell people. And friends that I had lost contact with came forward and offered their condolences and their love. It was surreal.
The hardest day was the private viewing. Mum kept telling me that I just had to wait to see him; that he would be different. I was terrified of going into the room. I didn’t want to face the music. I didn’t want it to be real. I saw him and couldn’t handle it but then Mum cracked a joke about him losing weight and I died laughing. People thought I was sobbing inconsolably while I was positively shaking with laughter.
The funeral was harder still. With an attendance of somewhere close to 750 people, they saw as all our pain was put on display as the priest blessed Dad. I never thought that a church service could go for so long. I almost felt like I would faint and that the room was hot and stuffy and no matter how much I wanted to bolt. I couldn’t. I didn’t dare leave my mother alone, to deal with this alone. So I stayed and fought the panic and the horror and waited. Condolences were said, faces were a blur, friends made me smile and I swore in church (so not sorry) but the hardest part of all was one of my worst nightmares. I watched Dad’s coffin slip into the ground, away from me and I wanted him to come back; to wake up; to laugh at me, hell even tell me off. But he didn’t.
The wake was full of people who loved him. I told Mum that I wanted to say something, that I needed to say something. I made people cry while I paused to catch my breathe and resist the need to cry myself. After that I needed to escape. I hid in the sea of familiar faces who had been with us for the last week and a half and helped keep me sane. I can not than my gorgeous friends and my brother’s amazing friends enough. Without you I would not be able to come to terms with what has really happened.
But I’m still numb; still trying to process what happened. I have words but they’re blank; forced; empty.
If I didn’t have the support system around me that I do, I would not be able to write this. It took me close to a year and a half to find the words for my Pappou, but for Dad, I found them early and that was a testament to the man that raised me. He may not have been a man of very many words but I understood everything he didn’t say. And even with him gone, I know that I need to keep going because he would have wanted me to, and I’m going to do what I was meant to do and make him proud doing so.