My dad passed away around 2:14pm 24th December 2005, I had just turned 15 3 weeks before. This has been one of, if not the most harrowing things I have ever had to come through. I’m emotionally building up to a post about how the loss has affected my mental health but for now I will say that for the most part I smush down my feelings pretty well and cope reasonably well with my day to day life.
I have two days where I refuse to smush my emotions though and just allow myself to feel whatever my body wants me to feel; the 23rd December and Fathers day. A few weeks before Father’s day I always feel okay, I always think this will be the year I make it through without falling to bits and every year I’m sadly proven wrong. A lot of people say “it gets easier” but in my experience I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I don’t cry every day like I did and it doesn’t hold me back like it used to but I can honestly say that I don’t miss him any less now than I did back then and when I finally stop burying my emotions and allow myself to feel I fall to pieces like it’s the moment we found him.
This post is sadly not going to offer any concrete answers to any of you out there who struggle with the loss of loved ones on special occasions but I wanted to talk about things I do to make sure I’m as okay as I possibly can be.
Stay Clear of Facebook!
First and foremost if you’re finding it hard stay clear of Facebook! Other social media outlets like Instagram and Twitter can be a little touchy too but Facebook seems to be where everyone really goes to town on sappy and sentimental posts. It’s wonderful that people are taking the time to appreciate their dads but it can’t start to feel like you’re being beaten to emotional oblivion with the fact you can’t let your own loved one know how much they mean to you!
I’m not usually an affectionate person but there’s something about a hug when I’m down that feels amazing. I’m lucky enough to have the worlds best cuddler too, my cat! Maybe it’s just me but whenever I’m down he doesn’t seem to leave my side and that makes me feel so loved.
Whoever you have in your life, family/friends/partner/counsellor, don’t be afraid to reach out. I told my partner first thing yesterday morning that I wasn’t okay and after chatting to my brother as normal for most the day I told him too that I was struggling. If you get as good as I’ve got at masking sorrow people might not realise, without you telling them, that it’s difficult. More often than not people don’t know what to say but for me just saying it out loud helps. My mind spends so much time trying to convince me I’m not sad that it’s forced to deal with what’s going on if I admit it out loud.
Look Through Old Photos and Videos.
For about 11 years after my dad passed all I had were photos and they didn’t feel enough. I was filled with guilt when I realised I’d started to forget his voice, the way he walked or even how he held a fag (cigarette), it felt like I was losing him all over again. Last christmas my mum and step dad put a few hours of home movies of me as a baby onto a memory stick and it is the most priceless gift I’ve ever been given. I don’t watch it often and I don’t look through the photos in my memory box that much either but on days like yesterday it feels good just to be alone with my memories.
Write them a letter
If you feel like you have a lot to say, say it in a letter. There is something quite therapeutic about getting it all out there onto a page, it’s a little freeing too.
Be Gentle With Yourself
If you want to go out and have a great time to take your mind of it that’s as okay as wanting to stay home and wollow. Listen to what you need for you to be okay. My head was telling me to keep busy but every time I started to do something my heart would pull me away from it, daydreaming about everything I want to say. I learnt a fair few fathers days ago if my heart didn’t want me to keep busy I had to trust it and drop what I was doing. The times when I’ve pushed on have left me sleeplessly crying uncontrollably that night. Be patient and kind to yourself it’s a hard day and no-one expects you to do more than you’re capable of.
These days will always be a bitter pill to swallow but I feel so lucky and so grateful to have had my dad even if it was cut too short. Even though he’s gone I feel like I’m still his “poppet” he had a belief in my stronger than anyone else and it’s that belief that lights a fire in me when I’ve all but given up.
Twitter: @KissedDaisy | Instagram: @fairykisseddaisy