In August 2014 I lost my father. I am only 32 and am an only child. I had a special bond with my dad, one that most daughters will understand. He was always been there for me; he was the first person I would call when I had some news and the one person I would always seek advice from. We’d have our own little language and jokes that no one else would understand and now he’s gone it feels like part of my identity is missing and my heart is broken.
My dad had been ill for a good part of a decade but he was always so positive that he would find a cure that it was difficult to imagine him being wrong. Ever since he got ill, I always wanted him to know that I was there for him, that I believed in him and that I would help him find a way back to health. So we would talk everyday, even if only for a few minutes.
I never stopped being his little girl and I loved that. As I grew up, if I had a job interview or a business meeting he would always be the first person to call me afterwards. If I had something to celebrate, he’d be the first person I would tell. Even in my twenties and thirties, when I was travelling home late he’d always call me to make sure I got home safely. It’s only been a matter of weeks but I’m really starting to miss these little things we had together. Those are the times when it’s the hardest. So many times I’ve gone to call my father to tell him something and then realised that I can’t do that anymore.
No one really talks about the pain and hurt; it’s about dealing with it and moving on.
No one wants to tell you about how hard it is or confess they felt weak and vulnerable. But it is hard and it is difficult to deal with. Especially at first.
Initially, I thought there might be something wrong with me, I wasn’t crying as much as I should be. I wasn’t screaming out in anger. My main focus was always my mother, to be strong for her, to be her support. The funeral was hard. I wanted to talk and so I practiced my speech over and over to make sure that I would be able to stand up and say goodbye to my father. Now that event has passed, it does seem harder and I do cry, I cry a lot. Silly little things make me sad. Sometimes it feels like the tears won’t stop but other times I like to laugh and share a story about him, about us and remember him.
The hardest part is the visual memories. Seeing him dead in my memories. My mother stayed with him when he died and we joined her minutes later. He was just lying there, like he was asleep. He looked peaceful but he wasn’t breathing. I just wanted to nudge him, to wake him up, see his eyes open and wait for him to moan at me for interrupting his nap. But he didn’t. We just gave him one final kiss goodnight and left the hospice.
I try not to think about that night too much, but instead think about things we did together.
I try to remember his face when he was happy and how his beautiful blue eyes would gleam. When the day is hard and my heart is heavy, it is difficult not too remember those final hours.
I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow, in a week, a month or year but I know it is important to keep talking to my friends and family. I know that it is okay to get sad and cry.
It is going to take a long time to mend this massive hole in my heart and it will never be fully refilled. However I am his daughter and a large part of him lives on in me, so I need to keep on living, learning and keeping his stories alive so that he is never forgotten.
If you are a friend of mine reading this, be sure to remind me of the happy times in the dark hours and don’t be afraid to talk to me. I always have talked about how great my father is and will continue to do so, so never stop asking.
I love you dad and miss you every hour of every day.
Your little girl, Emily.