Well it finally came, the first year anniversary of my dad's death.
His death has really shaped my life in the last year. I don't think that I truly delt with it when it happened. On refelection I can see that it had a huge impact on the choices that I made in my life and my marriage.
I was always my dads 'pumpkin'. We were always very close and shared one of those bonds that are so very special between father and daughter. He was my hero, my king and my best friend. He was strong and bigger than life, he seemed invincable.
I rarely remember him being sick. There was nothing he couldn't do. Ask him to fix something, and he would work out a way to do it. (his use of duct tape is that of legends)
The first time I realised that my dad was sick was at my wedding. He was living in Townsville and had been in hospital, but I had experienced that through a phone. It didn't seem real, and anyway, he was bigger than life to me so there was no way he was really sick.
At my wedding dad seemed his usual self, dancing and laughing and having a good time. It wasn't until I watched the video that there was a moment that he came off the dance floor and sat down. He seemed to wilt and took deep breaths. He saw the camera and recovered, but that was the moment that dad became human.
Dad was diagnosed with cardio myopothy. Apparently people who get this often die or need heart transplants. Dad however just got on with life. He slowed but work was everything to him and he had such a sense of his role as a husband and provider, that he had to get up every morning and get to it.
Once dad's heart was affected, (he believes it came from being electrocuted by a vending machine a few years before) his kidney disease started to rear its ugly head.
Slowly but surely dad's health declined in many ways, shapes and forms. But still, I always believed that he would be fine and probably outlive all of us.
When I sat down and wrote dad's ulogy, I realised how much I didn't kow about the man he was. I knew him as my wonderful father, but who was he really? What were the things he valued in his youth? I found out that he had always wanted to be a teacher, but duty to a widowed mother came first.
His decline, and the way in which he died still haunts me. I was there the moment he took his last breath. My hand was on his chest feeling the last beat of his heart and my hands held him as his body said goodbye to this world. He was not alone, he was surrounded by those who loved him the most, and for that I am truly thankful. I guess my experience of my heart attack 6 months before he died, gave me insight as to what he needed in those final moments.
Being emotionally available to those we love is something that shouldn't be a request. We should know in the depths of our soul, that to love fully, is to be there in all times, happy and sad, hard and amazing. I was not going to let my dad pass from one plane to another, alone.
We all have regrets in our lives, some more than others, some harder to accept than others, but they are there. I struggle everyday with the consequences of my life and choices. Have I made mistakes that are so big and devestating that I will never be able to accept and move on? Or are they mistakes that will help lead me on a better path, a more fullfilling path, a path that will help heal my spiritual soul and help me love myself once again.
To my dad, who I miss each and every day, and who I thank for just being him, I love you, I miss you and I will never forget you.
I wrote a poem for my dads funeral which I have included below. I was truly inspired when I wrote it and am grateful to have been able to put my thoughts and feelings into words.
I love you for every little thing you taught me
I love you for your warmth and cheeky smile
I love you for all the scrapes you cared for
And I love you for every driven mile.
I love you for all the kind words you gave me
I love you for all the lessons I had to learn
I love you for every step you walked beside me
I love you for making Robert give me a turn.
I love you for every book that you read me
I love you for every moment we shared
I love you for the times we spent talking
I love you because I always knew you cared.
I love you for all of your laughter
I love you for your sense of right
I love you for loving my children
And I love you for the hugs every night.
I love you for helping when I was in need
I love you for never saying no
I love you for helping me to grow up
And with everything, I wish you didn’t have to go.
I love you for being my dad
I love you for being my friend
I love you for all the advice you’ve given
My love for you will never end.
So now my darling daddy, I send you a goodbye kiss
And a loving sweet embrace
I will always remember you my dad
And the beautiful smile on your face.
To all of you who are beside me on this journey, thankyou.