I am sitting here at my computer on the 10th anniversary of my father’s death. On this day every single year I struggle to know what to do. How can I do something to commemorate my dad and pay my respects? Also, how will I distract myself in an attempt to numb the pain? No matter what I do, or how much I try to celebrate my father’s life, this day is always pretty shit.
This year, I was completely baffled, and could not think of anything useful to do. I tried to make plans to distract myself, such as an early morning yoga/mindfulness sesh and meeting my mum for lunch. I have now run out of things to do, and no, the pain has not subsided.
I have however, realised what I knew deep down I should be doing today, writing. I am quite happy to voice my thoughts to people, but for me, nothing beats the therapeutic release you get from tapping your feelings into a keyboard. Writing your thoughts down can help you process your grief, even if it’s not usually your thing. So here goes…
Those who have not experienced grief cannot grasp the despair it causes. As time goes on, the majority of your friends and family become even less understanding of your loss, because ‘it was ages ago and you should be over it by now.’
Don’t let anyone tell you that you should be done grieving, because in reality, the grieving never stops.
They say grief gets easier, but the truth is it doesn’t. That’s just the go to thing that everyone says, because they have no bloody idea what to say to a person who has lost someone. What can you say? Grief does not get easier, the pain I feel today when I think about my father is the same pain I felt when I first lost him.
However, you do get better at managing your grief, and learning how to cope.
Ten years feels the same as two years, or five years. I just don’t get upset as often. My father is always with me in everything I do, but I have now learned to appreciate his presence in my thoughts and feelings, and treasure the happy memories.
So what does grief feel like ten years after a loved one passes? As I sit here right now I have a pain in my heart, it feels difficult to breathe, and I want to go and curl up into a ball. But it’s not all bad, because I know how to manage it.
You just have to accept that at certain times that pain will be there, and you can either sit with it, or cry your eyes out and let it go (although eventually after keeping everything pent up you will need to have a good cry).
Mindfulness can really help with grief. You become aware of the sensations, thoughts, feelings and pain associated with grief, and learn to listen to your body.
I may be in pain right now, and deeply miss my dad, but I am now channeling this energy into writing this blog post.
I know that at some point today I may get upset, and burst into floods of tears, but that’s OK and perfectly acceptable. I have a wonderful, loving boyfriend here for me, who will no doubt scoop me up in his arms and let me cry on his shoulder until I have offloaded my grief.
Losing someone makes you appreciate the things you have, and I have some pretty darn wonderful people in my life.
My family, who have been through a lot and who I love to bits, and my amazing friends. I bloody adore my friends. They say you can count your true friends on one hand, but I would probably need at least two, which makes me feel very grateful.
On this day, ten years after my father’s death, the kind messages from my friends and family mean the world. It sounds bad but losing someone makes you realise who your real friends are, the ones that stick by you through the toughest times, and live to tell the tale!
Ten years have passed since you left me daddy, and I miss you more every day, but I have finally reached a point in my life when I am truly happy.
I actually think you would be proud of me, even if what I achieve is never good enough for me, it would mean the world to you. I am a writer, I have inherited your inspiring imagination, and I have you to thank for that.
I knew I always had a passion for writing, it just took me 25 years to realise. If only you were here you could have helped me see this sooner. Anyway, I thought it would be fitting to write you a very special blog post, as a tribute, ten years after your death.
I want to let you know that it is you that drives me to believe in my dreams and work hard to achieve everything I want in life. The words you chose in that letter to your parents are always in my thoughts…
I can see so many good things and talk about them, but when the good things don’t happen, people say I am too much of a dreamer. Without dreams I would shrivel and crumple. I need dreams to make things happen, and I will.
If I was brave enough I would get them tattooed on my ribs (but I know you would definitely disapprove). Remember when my younger sister and I went to get out ears pierced, and I knew you hated piercings, so I chickened out at the last minute? That was because I didn’t want to let you down.
Ten years on and I still feel a massive hole in my heart, but I know that with your spirit flowing through my veins, I can continue your legacy and nothing will stop me from achieving my dreams.