10 years Today.
We’ve now entered double figures, a whole decade in, two hands up and ten toes out.
10 years of grieving, but when I explained this to my therapist she told me, it’s actually been 28 years. That blew my mind. But that’s a conversation for another day.
One thing I’ve learnt is that grieving works in funny ways. It’s never straightforward nor is it limited to the feeling of just “sadness” like how society expects it to be. It can be layered with so many conflicting emotions, that can be hard to say out loud or even quietly e.g. anger, guilt, regret, relief – The list goes on.
My relationship with my dad still feels exactly where it left off. Complicated. That’s the thing about death, even though the person has gone it doesn’t mean the relationship dies. It lives on. Therapy has helped to unpack the feelings I wasn’t aware of, but needed to know. It’s been so validating but yet, so difficult.
Dad, there are so many conversations I never got to have with you. I wasn’t raised with you, so I don’t really know you. Turning 16 was sweet and salty. My little sister, Sara was born and out-the-blue, my time was wanted more than ever before. Little did I know, there was a 4-year timer ticking itself towards expiration. I realize now that that final lap of the race was the only real time I had to get to know you, but starting from an emotional deficit made that road so difficult to navigate. I always thank Sara and her mum for being that new branch to our tree. They brought me closer to you. Perhaps, they even healed parts of you, parts of us. But, as soon as I felt like something was building, cancer struck and within 4 months, you were taken away from me – again.
Mum played dad and did the best she could with what she knew. I’ve also been fortunate to have an amazing brother who took on the ‘Father figure’ role from the age of 10 years old. He now has a son and although his relationship didn’t work out with his former partner, he is still
‘Dad of the Year!’ I see the inseparable love and involvement Wayne has with my nephew and I wonder… How? How were you able to sleep every night not knowing if I was okay? How were you able to go months without checking in? How were you able to do this with a child you claim to love and adore?
I have so many questions.
I wrote this letter to honour the courage it has taken for me to express these feelings and to acknowledge a complex wound that still hurts. I accept that this feeling may be a forever thing and I realise that this is just a chapter in my story. Although the hand I was given wasn’t necessarily favorable, I’ve been blessed miraculously and I’m extremely grateful for all the people, lessons and experiences that have blessed me on this journey into becoming the woman I am today. I know I’ll never have all the answers and that’s okay, we’re not supposed to understand everything. But all anger aside, I do know you love me, Dad, I love you and I ask that you continue to watch over me and Sara… and please give the biggest hug to my Grandad for me.