Monday, June 16

4 years on...

Today is the 4th anniversary of my dad passing away. I can't believe it's 4 years already. The phrase 'Time Heals' is true, although when it was said to me 4 years ago I didn't believe it. I feel sad today, but I'm not in tears. I'm not a blubbering wreck that I have been previously on the anniversary.

I miss my dad so much, I can't even begin to tell you. He was a lovely man, and I'm not just saying that because I'm his daughter. Everyone thought he was a lovely man. He had his faults of course, just like we all do, but he was well liked and well thought of. He had a heart of gold and would always help other people, sometimes to a fault. He would go out of his way to help.

This is a poem I wrote for Dad for me to read at his funeral. I couldn't read it, I was in pieces. The vicar read it and to say he'd not seen it before, he did such a good job. I was told afterwards that the entire congregation were in floods of tears, including the 'tough men'.

For my Dad

Sometimes words are left unsaid,
You know what you mean, but they stay in your head
But there comes a time when you should say
and let all them out, not keep them locked away.

You go through life just doing your thing
whether it's quietly living, or whether you dance and sing
There are people that matter all the way through life
there for good times, and there for the strife

You are one of those people Dad, though I've not often said
you've always been there, nice thoughts in my head.
Good times to remember of when I was small
happy smiling memories for when I want to recall

As I grew older you took a step to the side
to let me learn, and to gain my own pride

Life is a journey down a one way track
is it one way, or can we come back?
Where did it start? where does it go?
But someone that matters, has watched me grow

It doesn't really matter which road you take
With it's up's and down's and choices to make
Maybe they're right, maybe they're wrong
But whatever the choice, the road is long
And to have someone there to help guide the way
Is better than waking up to a sunny day.

So this is to say, for all the times I should have said,
spoken the words out, not kept them in my head.

I see myself when I look at you
The way you think, the things you do
You have made me who I am, I've taken the best of a lovely man

I'll miss your smile, your laughing eyes,
but I'll think of you when I look to the skies.
I love you Dad that much is true
And one day in the future, I hope I'm just like you.

We visited dad in hospital the week before he died. I knew he wasn't going to live much longer, I could see in his eyes. It was really strange. Dad's always had such laughing, expressive eyes. Thankfully I inherited them. But when I saw him on the Saturday, his eyes were very grey instead of the vibrant blue. The life had gone from them. It was really odd because this was the first time I'd seen anything like this before. His wife was with him and she said afterwards that that was the best day he'd had in a week. She's convinced that because I was there he either tried hard or it genuinely lifted him. He'd been so poorly all week. She said it's like he'd waited for me. After we left, he went downhill very quickly. They didn't even know what was wrong with him. The drs ran test after test and still couldn't find anything specific. I'm convinced he'd just had enough of being sick after 10 years and decided that enough was enough. I wish I could have stayed, but we live a 3 hour drive from the hospital. We planned to go back the following weekend because it would be Fathers Day.

I phoned the hospital Sunday and Monday and all I got was a nurse saying he'd had a comfortable night but there was no change. Standard line I guess. When I phoned on Tuesday morning the nurse said just a minute, and the next thing I knew, my dad was at the other end of the phone. It surprised me so much I burst into tears. I told dad we were coming to see him at the weekend for Fathers Day, but all he would say, the entire phone call was "I'm so tired, I'm just so tired". He hadn't lost his marbles, he was still very much aware of everything and he knew he was talking to me, but his last words to me were, "I'm so very very tired, I love you". I knew I wouldn't see him again alive. He was telling me he was done, it was his time to go.

The following day at work I got a phone call. You'd better come, your dad isn't very well at all. Why didn't they phone me sooner? They knew it would take almost 3 hours to drive to the hospital. We jumped in the car and had only been on the road 15 minutes when my brother phoned and asked where I was and what I was doing. I told him we were in the car heading to the hospital, and that I wasn't driving. My brother said, I'm sorry, it's too late. He's gone. Why didn't they phone me sooner? I could have been there! They should have phoned me that morning!!

We carried on driving. I can't even remember the 3 hour journey. It's a blur. We drove to meet up with my brother but I told him that I have to go to the hospital, I have to see my dad. My brother came too.

Oh god it was so heartbreaking seeing my dad laying there. It was so strange. For the last 10 years I'd only ever seen him with oxygen tubes up his nose, and him in a t-shirt propped into a sitting position. Now, he was laid flat on his back, in pyjamas and no tubes. The strange thing is I noticed that he still had is moustache trimmed. It was something he was always a stickler for.. he had to have his tache trimmed. I've never seen my brother cry like he did when we saw dad. my brother was 34 yrs old, almost 6ft tall and a strapping bloke, but he just disolved. We cried, we looked at dad, we held his hand and then said our goodbyes. I don't know how I managed to walk away, I think I was led out of the ward. I left my dad there, I'd never see him again. My world crashed.

The funeral was a blur, I felt so detached. Because his wife had dealt with the funeral huge chunks of dad's life were left out. The vicar gave me and my brothers a very brief mention, but my dad's life story basically started when he met his wife. I was mortified. I'd offered to give a few details to the vicar but his wife said it was all being dealt with. Nothing was mentioned about his previous working life or his previous family life prior to getting together with Jean.

We drove 45 minutes to the crematorium in a huge funeral car. A quick service and then the curtains closed. That was it. All over and done with.

Apparently Dad's ashes were scattered on the communial rose garden. There was no plaque inscribed with his name, nothing. I was, and still am very upset about this. I didn't agree with him being cremated, I would rather he was buried. My brother agreed with me. We had to accept that he was being cremated and we could do nothing about it. I felt so lost. I had nowhere to go to mourn my dad. No gravestone, no plaque in his memory. Once we walked out of the crematorium doors, that was it. Nothing. My dad was gone from my world forever.

I must have cried daily for almost a year that first year. I just couldn't get over the fact that he'd died. I'd never had to deal with a death in the family before, and for the first death to be my dad was awful. I just didn't know how to deal with it.

So 4 years on, in writing this, I've reduced myself to a blubbering wreck. So much for the first line of this post. It still hurts. Dad, I miss you so much. Unfortunately it doesn't make me feel much better when my other half says, your dad lives on in you. You are SO like your dad it's frightening. I am a female version of him looks wise, we have the same expressive smiley eyes, we have a very similar outlook on life and our personalities are so similar it's uncanny.

He's never appeared to me as a vision or ghost or anything like that (I think I'm probably grateful for that to be honest).

It makes me sad to think that he never knew about Isabelle. She was born 13 months to the date of his death. he would have absolutely worshipped her, I just know he would. He's always loved kids and was the clown at the party when kids were around. But Isabelle just has that little bit extra that I know would have melted my dad's heart.

It also makes me sad that he never knew about my photography. He died before I really got into it. He would have appreciated my photographs and what I was doing with it. He was always so proud that I was creative and I know that he would have absorbed himself in my photography too.

Ok, I've run dry of words now.

I love you Dad, and I miss you more than I could ever imagine. There just aren't the words to express how I feel.

Rest well