How are you?

How am I?

Angry that he left the party early… glad that he didn’t suffer a long illness… grateful that we welcomed him into our family and he had the best of times with me and my family by the sea and at home in the city in his many community choirs, writing groups, drama groups…. desolate…. trying to be practical…. navigating the hierarchy of grief and denial…

Every single one of us has to deal with the loss of our father, be it in death or absence. It is universal. But for each of us, it is unique and nothing equips is to know what to do or how to feel. I’ve had remarkably good advice from people. Such as:

Your grief is valid. It’s your own and no one can tell you how it should be or when it should end.

Grief doesn’t go away. We learn live with it.

A good friend sent me an anonymous piece that she was given during her hypnotherapy training. It describes a death as being like a shipwreck. We cling on to the pieces of the wreck, trying to stay afloat. There are people also bobbing about in the water. We reach out to each other, helping each other, our heads sometimes going under and we somehow come up, gasping for air. Then a 100 foot wave roars towards us and engulfs us. Then another and another. In time the gaps between the waves get longer but they’re still 100 feet tall and still as devastating. In some more time, they are only 75 feet tall and the gaps get longer.

I have lived with grief constantly for the last year and you’d think I’d be an expert by now but, of course, I’m not. This is new, raw, unsettling, unpredictable, painful, hollow and very very bleak. Everyone has gone or will go through this but for each of us there is no precedent.

I keep doing a double take and remembering he’s not here. His essence is still very much a part of our house – pottering about in the kitchen, appearing when there was a chance of food, saying he wasn’t hungry then eating double portions, mending locks, his slightly sideways lope because of the double vision he had developed, singing all the time, coming to all my gigs whenever he could, being proud of me, writing a Facebook post saying that the word ‘family’ means ‘warm’ and ‘cozy’.

I am missing him so much.

Rest in peace, Dad. You were a true gentleman. ❤️🙏🌿🎶


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