For me, one of the hardest parts of losing my Dad has been learning to deal with it as time passes and we find ourselves further and further away from memories of him. In 2 months we will be marking 2 years without him and I can honestly say it feels like it happened last month. It goes without saying that the first few days were the easiest – to me it felt like I was in a little bubble, oblivious to what was really going on and oblivious to the heartbreak that was yet to come. I think anyone that has experienced losing a loved one will agree, the first few days, weeks or even months don’t feel real and the reality of what has happened certainly didn’t set in. I remember spending 3 weeks in Spain shortly after my Dad died. We had the holiday booked, he passed away very suddenly and I knew I couldn’t go back to work straight away. I also knew I couldn’t sit at home for weeks, so off to Spain I went. My only memories of that holiday are landing in Malaga airport (terribly upset because it was my first flight where I couldn’t text my Dad to tell him I had landed), the nightmares I experienced and the sleepless nights where I found myself wandering the beach at Sunrise. This is the case for a lot of the time close to his death, remembering very little. To me it was my minds way of protecting me – if I cant remember it, it cant upset me.
The problem with grief as time goes on, to me, is the feelings that come with it. New feelings, ones you didn’t feel at the start and ones you’re not quite sure about. Guilt is one of them – I often feel guilty for being happy, for looking forward to things, for spending time with people on a Saturday because that was a day I spent with my Dad. Its silly and trust me I know it is, but its still there. Of course I don’t let it take over and I never will, I cant sit and wallow on my own every Saturday just because my Dad isn’t here but those feelings are still there.
I also feel huge pressure to be “over it”. Sure its almost 2 years now surely I shouldn’t still be getting upset or having bad days?? If only this was the case. I still have bad days, like when I found out a few weeks back that Crufts (the dog show) was on and I had to stop myself from crying, simply because my Dad would have been glued to it with me. Its the little things that throw me off now, things like his Birthday or Anniversary are sad but not nearly as bad as passing somewhere I used to go to with him or hearing his favourite song on the radio. Nearly 2 years down the line and yup, still feeling it. Probably more than ever now as all the time “in a bubble” has passed. I know I’ll grieve forever, I have accepted that now and I also accept that not everybody will understand.
Another little one that creeps up every now and again is fear – fear that I’ll forget him, his voice or how he smelt. I know I’ll always remember him but I’m terrified my mind will betray me, that some day I’ll wake up and not recall a memory. All of this probably sounds mad to those who have never lost someone but unfortunately this blog post isn’t for you. Just count yourself extremely lucky and come back to read this if you ever find yourself in my situation & need something to relate to.
I think that’s one of the reasons I write these, to give people something to relate to. I know how dark and scary grief can sometimes be but it doesn’t have to be lonely. There is always somebody who has or is going through the exact same thing. People experience things differently and your thoughts might not be identical to somebody elses but all of that is normal too. There is no wrong way to feel and no wrong way to grieve either. Another reason I write them is to give back some of what I have learnt from this situation. Everything happens for a reason, even horribly heartbreaking things like losing your Dad to cancer but I still try to see why it had to happen and what it taught me. Of course I’d give all the lessons back in the morning if it meant I could see him again but unfortunately thats not how it works. At the moment, taking the positives and sharing my experiences in the hope of giving people something to relate to is all I can do.