Holiday blues

Being the first day of Half Term, and considering I am exhausted and lucky enough to have the house to myself, you’d think I would be pretty content today.

As my title suggests, I’m not.

I’ve been having a Dad day. I think about my Dad everyday in one way or another, but often they are fleeting glimpses of a memory or a recollection of his loss. I acknowledge the hurt but I tell myself to move on: I have too many people relying on me to dwell.

But today I can slow down: no school for a week. So the flood of emotion I have held at bay breaks its dam and consumes me.

I sat in my living room, oh so still, the only movement the rise and fall of my chest and the trickle of tears. I let it take over me. I pictured him in my mind… In hospital and at home. The funny things he’d say and do. And I swear, as I cried, I could almost feel him hugging me – the memory was so strong.

That was this morning. My eyes are still stinging and puffy from the tears. I feel even more tired than before. And the anxiety-ache has taken residency in my chest again.

You cannot escape grief. You can’t ignore it or out run it. Because just as the strength of your love for your loved one with never wane, neither will the grief. You just learn to build a dam around it.

In our grief we are not alone.

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Second the worst

Officially this is the second Fathers’ Day without my Dad.

Last year my dad had been gone barely a week. I was numb, in shock, grief exhausted… Trying to plan a funeral whilst trying to keep the peace and hold it together. We planted a rose bush in Dad’s new garden and ate Toblerone.

This year has been devastating. My grief has been renewed. I’ve cried and ached and missed. I’ve been solemn and quiet and locked in my grief.

I know it’s commercial. I know today is just another day without him. But that’s what makes it painful: another day without him.

Father’s Day for us was a chance to focus on our Dad. To buy him a Toblerone. To make him a nice tea and spend time with him.

Today’s Fathers’ day was a symbol of loss for me. It’s been a hard couple of weeks.

Anniversary

A year. A whole year. It’s beyond belief, because in my heart he died a week ago. It’s still that raw, that painful.

But it’s a century since I’ve seen him. I’m forgetting his smell, his voice. That’s the sad part.

Today we visited the crematorium and laid a wreath. I felt nothing. Numb. Blank.

We then went to the hospital. For a year I’ve thought about what I’d give, what I’d write in the thank you cards. But I couldn’t face it.

Today, one year on, I knew I must.

It was like a time warp. Like I’d travelled back in time. Memories flooded; familiarity stimulated my heart. The sound of my footsteps on the stairs. The noise of the canteen. The smell of the corridors.

We saw the nurses who still fondly remembered our dad. We handed over the cards and gifts, emotions boiling under the surface. I remained calm, said what I needed to, and left as soon as I could.

Entering that ward, I felt like I was visiting him again. He was just in a side room, waiting for me, wondering where I had been and so grateful I’d arrived. A year disappeared in a heartbeat and my Dad was still alive.

As we left the ward, hearts over brimming with grief, I also felt a sense of pride. Dad would be so happy and proud of us for facing that, for passing on his gratitude. For handing over his beautiful hand carved ornaments, the last we own, to say thanks for his care. I felt his pride in my heart and I knew we had done the right thing even though grief was ripping through my body.

And so, it’s been a year. The hardest of my life.

I miss him every day. I wish for him every day. But I have a new kind of normal, one that misses him each day and feels his absence. The next stage of grief, I suppose.

I’m sending my love out to all those who are grieving. God bless you.

Just for a moment

Headlights full on,

I drive alone in the dark.

And for a moment,

Just for a moment,

I could imagine you there.

The way you would be sat,

the clothes you would wear.

The smile on your face,

the words you would say.

For a moment,

Just for a moment,

Everything was OK.

Then with a stab to the heart,

The memory went away,

And I was driving alone,

Alone in the dark.

A morning smile.

I don’t believe I’m alone in avoiding going to bed.

Daytime usually means I’m occupied somehow: work, housework, family, friends. Of course grief has, and still does, hit me from time to time and I think about Dad a lot. But during the day – certainly during the week – they are usually fleeting heartfelt thoughts.

That’s how I’m coping. I need to carry on.

Nighttime is different. The minute my head hits the pillow and my eyes close, the grief hits me hard. Memories, thoughts, regrets… they play in orchestral fashion, bittersweet and lilting or tumultuous and powerful.

Mornings are similar. I no longer wake up to the stab in the heart as I realise and remember he is gone. But I always wake up thinking about him, somehow.

I know I look tired. I look at myself in the mirror and I see that grief has aged me. I’m tired and pale and I have bags under my eyes. Ah well.

This morning, however, I woke with a smile. A memory of something my Dad did, from a little girl to adulthood… A joke that he replayed with every daughter and every grandchild. It made me smile as it did when he was alive. A memory of him which was vibrant and beautiful. Unforgettable. Something that was uniquely him.

I was told in bereavement counselling that this day would come. That the positive and beautiful memories of my Dad would shine through. The image I’ve had of my Dad, for so long, has been of a tired, sick man. It was good to think of him as he really was: strong and funny.

Smiles are good.

Grief

I woke this morning with a song on my lips. Dad’s song. I hadn’t dreamed of him and yet the song was there.

The pain is sharp and nagging today and won’t be squashed or pushed aside. It’s raw and malevolent.

I can’t stop crying. I long to hear my Dad, to feel him squeeze my hand, to breathe him in when I hug him. I need his kindness, and strength and love today. But it’s not here, and never will be again, and the truth of that is crushing and destroying and painful beyond belief.

But this is grief. It lulls you each day. It never disappears. It’s ever present but it hides in shadows, tricks you in to carrying on only to cripple you when you least expect it. And that’s OK. I welcome the grief because it is a sign that my love is still there, still alive and well and will never leave, even if Dad has.

My heart goes out to all that are grieving today. God bless. 💗

Shadows

I am proud of myself for returning to work. It hasn’t been easy, particularly the first few days, and of course I still have my moments of grief. But being busy is good. Some of the pupils and staff have been so lovely. What struck me most about the funeral and what I haven’t written about yet, was how comforting all the support from family and friends was to me. The hugs, the condolences, the kind words: they meant a lot. The same can be said for work.

I’ve had a good week really and now there’s only left until the summer. I’ve planned out a large proportion of the time so I have things to look forward to. Keeping busy helps.

The hardest part is going home. It doesn’t feel right. How can my family home, the one I have lived in since a baby feel like this? I know the answer is strikingly obvious – Dad’s not here – but I don’t think I ever realised how much a person makes a home. His death, his absence is the shadow in every room.

Words cannot express how much I miss him.

I am fully aware that my goto technique of ‘blocking it out and pretending it hasn’t happened’ is really not helpful in the longterm. It is helping me get through my last weeks at work though.

Today, I received a letter from the local council about registering to vote. When I picked up the envelope, I wondered if Dad’s name would still be on it. I made use of the ‘Tell once” Government service but I didn’t know if they would have processed that information yet. I opened the envelope, half preparing myself for the insensitivity and incompetence if his name was still on.

It wasn’t and that hurt more. My lone name was on that paper and the letters stabbed at me. He doesn’t exist for them any more and only exists in my heart for me.

A month

Thirty days of sadness.

Thirty days of pain.

Thirty days of knowing things will never be the same.

Thirty days of crying.

Thirty days of numb.

Thirty days of waiting for someone who’ll never come.

Over thirty years of tenderness,

Over thirty years of care,

Over thirty years of knowing that you always have been there.

Over thirty years of laughter

How I wish there were thirty more!

Over thirty years I’ll keep hoping you could walk back through my door.

Thirty days of missing you

each and every day

Thirty days of wishing..

you were here

to hear me say:

How much I truly love you, and how I always will,

You are so irreplaceable Dad and you’re my hero still.

The purge part 2: Self-indulgence 

I feel emotionally bruised today. I have a head ache, which doesn’t help, but everything is an effort. 

Despite this, my head is a little clearer. 

I have put myself in this situation. He is probably out there somewhere with no idea of the torment that has been raging. 

Four years ago, it was me that walked away. Sure, he hadn’t committed or anything, but it was me who told him that I “couldn’t wait any longer” and so started Internet dating. It was me who got back with my ex-husband nine months later. It was me who got pregnant and had a third child. 

It was me who, on the handful of occasions we have met since then, has ‘played it cool.’ During our intimacy a few weeks ago, I kept pulling away and walking off. I kept pushing him off me, not wanting to succumb to my feelings for him. Scared that by being as intimate as two humans can be, I would sink again.  After our little intimacy – which he initiated – he did not call or text. Neither did I. Even when it turned out that he was having a tough time. 

And when I see him again after that I am apparently (from a bystander who knows me very well but had no idea who he was)  cold and distant. I don’t ask him how he is. I don’t ask him how things are going. I don’t welcome him and I don’t look pleased to see him. 

The truth of the matter is, he may not want me. He may not be interested in any more than what we have had. But, so wrapped up in protecting myself, I have played stupid games. 

My low self esteem and self hatred have made this situation ever more painful. It is me, not him, that has created this heartache. 

And so today, I will indulge myself in my self pity and woe. Tomorrow, I will continue on my journey to find a life that I am happy in. The only way I can positively  influence anyone’s feelings for me is to be myself: to be open and honest, caring and loving. That is who I am. One day, I may again come across someone who turns my world upside down. Next time, being together with that someone will be as easy as breathing- the way it is supposed to be. 

(Sorry about my sneaky way of adding another post about him. Things needed to be said.  â˜º )