I lost my dad at the beginning of June last year. Two weeks later it was Father’s Day. I had spent the previous weeks in a state of shock. The wake had been endless and It felt like all I had done was talk, make gallons of tea and try to convince anyone that would listen that I was ok. That my family was going to be ok. Looking back, I was probably just trying to convince myself.
So, when I was suddenly met with Father’s Day, the enormity of what had just happened to me finally hit home. I couldn’t talk myself out of the grief that was waiting to hit me like a train. For the first time, I realised I couldn’t talk to my dad anymore. I couldn’t tell him how bad the last couple of weeks had been. I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t find him funny or that he hadn’t been right all along. Although the funeral was over and the mourners had gone, the grief was only beginning.
To be honest it felt a bit over the top on the universe’s part. To lose one of the most important people in my life and then to have that loss amplified by celebratory Instagram posts and Moon-Pig promotional emails. I mean come on! It was overkill in terms of my emotional well-being don’t you think?
It’s not as if Father’s Day was some memorable event that I cherished every year when my dad was alive. I’m not even sure I can remember what I got my dad on his last Father’s Day. If I had to put money on it, I’d say it was along the lines of a Faulty Towers boxset I got on sale and a Tesco own brand selection of cheeses.
It matters more to me now because I know I’ll never have the luxury to not attach meaning to every day like Father’s Day. Every holiday is now another moment he didn’t get to see. It is the same with every birthday, every milestone, every joke I know only he could understand.
One year on and I continue to clench my teeth in preparation for the day. I will spend this Sunday trying to ignore his jacket still hanging up in the hallway, untouched like he has just forgotten it before going out. I will try not to think about everything he has missed and everything that is still to come. However, I won’t be able to help seeing my dad’s smile in my brother’s grin or how I still twiddle my thumbs just like he used to do. Some memories can stay as they are.
My only advice is to check in on your friends. Anyone could find Father’s Day hard. They might have a difficult relationship with their dad, or no relationship at all. Dad’s don’t have to be dead to cause you grief and I would never begrudge someone who doesn’t speak to their dad anymore just because I would give anything to talk to mine. I got lucky, other’s didn’t.
I haven’t figured out this whole grief thing yet. I cannot give you “five ways to dig yourself out of a depressive episode” – because all I know is that I lost my dad and I really miss him.
So, when Sunday finally arrives and I open Instagram to find captions reading “I can’t imagine life without you” I won’t scoff and say to myself “If only they knew” because I am still struggling to figure out what life is without my dad, but I am still here, figuring it out.
Featured Image credit: Dignity Memorial