“Grief is like the ocean. It comes on waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” ~ Vicki Harrison

Eighteen years ago today, my whole world changed forever. I arrived home from school late to find my whole family sat in our living room. This was weird. On the odd occasion that we all got together, it was always at my Nan’s house – but there was Nan sat on the sofa with everyone else, my aunt’s dog, Krista, sniffing happily around her feet. I cracked some unfunny line about a family reunion, but I instantly knew something was wrong when my Mom ushered me upstairs without the chance to even say hello. She sat me on her bed and told me, “There’s been an accident…”

I don’t remember what either of us said after that. All I remember was feeling like someone had ripped my lungs from my chest and demanded I carry on breathing. What do you mean my Dad’s gone?! I spent the next unknown minutes, maybe hours, crying uncontrollably into my Dad’s pillow until I was coherent enough to ask for one of my best friends.

In the years that have passed since, I’ve met this day with every emotion there is – hurt, anger, devastation, peace, happiness, confusion… Today I’m feeling mostly numb, but I’ve been thinking about some of the small moments that I treasure from those first few weeks. My best friend, Becki, cuddling me to sleep that first awful night (plus a million other wonderful memories of her being my strength when I had none). My Dad’s best friend Uncle Tony giving me a shoulder massage when he popped in to see how we were. My uncle Roy holding my hand at the chapel of rest. The biker procession into the crematorium as we arrived for the funeral. My Grandad making Becki’s mum Kaye blush constantly at the wake. Amongst the heartache that no family should have to bear, there are untold beautiful snapshots that I am so grateful for.

It’s been the strangest year that the majority of us have ever seen (and hopefully ever will), and I feel your loss more keenly than ever. I should be missing you from the other side of a video call, not the other side of the veil. We should be celebrating my proudest achievement in person, instead of only in my imagination. You were taken from us all far too soon and it will never be right.

I miss you more than words can express. I love you, Dad. Until we meet again 💖

My Dad and I in Greece, 1996

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