Tag Archives: death


29 Apr


Angry that the grandparents my children will know, grow up with, remember, won’t be MY parents. That the one they will call Grandma won’t be MY mum, the one they will know as Grandad will be someone else’s.

I’m angry that my Mum will be a hazy recollection, snapshots – splintered and one-dimensional – just as my Dad is now just a photo on the fridge. Their absence juxtaposed against a life filled with love and cuddles and memories from their other, “real” grandparents.

I’m angry that it won’t be my mum that picks them up from school, that wraps her arms around them and asks them what their day was like. That she’ll never see the expression on their faces as they unwrap her carefully chosen Christmas present, or heap praise on them when they read their first words.

I’m angry that I will have to live more of my life without her than I have done with. One of the most important people to me – my mother, my best friend – here for just a fraction of my life. Killed off after only the first few chapters.

I’m angry that the person that has been at the centre of my universe for 34 years has been snatched away from me, cruelly, suddenly, and that I have to relearn to live my life without her.

I’m angry that at just 34 I am an orphan.

I’m angry that my “go to person”, my reference point for all the decisions I make, the person at the end of the telephone when I’m feeling unsteady or unsure, has become unavailable. Permanently engaged.

I’m angry that I have to make sense of all of this by myself.

I’m really fucking angry, and my rage is selfish and personal. For now it’s all about me.

Remembering my dad

17 Sep

You never stop missing someone. You just learn to live without them. Grief isn’t a journey from A to B. It isn’t linear. It is much more complex, repetitive, surprising.

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of my father’s death. These are a few things i am remembering about him today.

My father spent an awful lot of his time sitting down. Lazy? Yes, even he’d have to agree with that one, but he’d also have argued convincingly for social anthropology. Observing, mentally jotting down all the nuances of human behaviour as it played out before him. The absurdity of it all frequently amused him. After his funeral his 5 children trundled down to the Marina in Brighton to scatter his ashes. We didn’t really have a plan so we wandered about aimlessly for a bit before deciding to scatter them into the sea off the end of a concrete groyne. As we skidded and slid our way barefoot and dangerously down the groyne (wet, covered in moss, warning signs everywhere) i could see my dad standing at a safe distance, observing, and smirking at us saying “What ARE you doing, you sentimental bunch of fools!”

When he did get up from his chair he would jump up as if stung by a bee. He’d obviously been thinking about the act of getting up for quite some time, psyching himself up, waiting for a build up of energy sufficient to launch him from his observation tower. The fact that it was Gin and Tonic o’clock usually did the trick.

Gordon’s Gin and slimline tonic. Even now the smell of it, the chink of crystal glasses, the plop of ice and the gentle fizz of liquids mixing is enough to send me off on a daydream. “Just a few” he would say as he reached for the dry roasted nuts or cheese and onion crisps that would always be the accompaniment. He’d recount the exact calorific content of each mouthful, slapping your hand away if you so much as dared to reach for seconds, before moments later reaching his soft, chubby little hand out himself. “Pernicious” he would say, winking as he greedily took another handful, shook them around in his palm a few times before throwing them up and into his mouth.

A snapshot. No doubt tomorrow a whole different bunch of memories will play out unexpectedly as i go about my day.

Irreplaceable. A word that only really starts to make sense when you lose someone. I miss you daddy. So much.


The day i started believing again (just a bit)

8 Jun


A few weeks later i had a dream.

I’d never had a dream like it.

So vivid.

I was in my dad’s flat in Brighton. And he was there. Happy. Smiling.  He told me everything was okay.

He could see and hear again.

I remember feeling relief, gratitude.  Like an enormous weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had missed him.

And the emotions were so powerful.  So unusual for a dream. Extra-ordinary.

When i woke up i felt so strongly that i HAD seen him. Felt him. Heard him.

That he had come to say goodbye.

Truth in cliche?  Or desparately imagined?

Do i believe my heart when it tells me this dream was different?

I’m no longer certain i’ve stopped believing entirely.

This post is a follow up to The day i stoppped believing.

the day i stopped believing

7 Jun

I’ve never believed in *god* as dictated by any of the organised religions i’ve read about. But i’ve always believed in something. A higher power. Something greater than us.

To believe that we are at the top of the evolutionary hierarchy seems, well, arrogant.

How can we possibly know, for definite, that nothing else exists? That we are the ultimate. The end of the journey.

Though we can never *prove* that there is something more powerful than us, we can never be certain that there isn’t.

Well, that’s what i used to think. Until my dad died.

When i saw my dad’s body what i used to think all changed.

Why? Because i felt nothing.

I expected to feel something. Sense him. Hear his voice whispering in my ear.

And i didn’t.

I felt / sensed / heard nothing.

And so i had to change my mind.

A farewell.

11 May

The day my father died i knew i had to see him.

He’d always been afraid of death.

He asked me a handful of times to check his body. I think he was terrified of a medical mistake. Certified dead. Just sleeping.

I can understand that.

So i was compelled to go to him. To tell him it was okay. That i had checked. Made sure.

To reassure him that he could go.

Now i can scarcely believe that i visited just hours after being told he had gone.

Perhaps shock and numbness helped. Maybe it was the perfect day to do it.

I remember descending the staircase to the mortuary, into the dark underbelly of the hospital. An experience so surreal.

My husband asked if he could come in with me. I declined firmly. Somehow it felt disrespectful. I wanted to preserve his dignity.

On entering the room i staggered in shock. I remember a feeling so powerful, primal, physical. None like anything i’ve experienced before or since.

2 weeks later, the day before the funeral i visited my father again. This time at the undertakers. To say a final goodbye.

I remember being filled with the most overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Of thinking “Oh Daddy it is so wonderful to see you. I have missed you so much”.

And i had.

No longer shocked to see him there. A strange kind of familiarity. Able to say all the things i had wanted to without fear.

And i said goodbye for the 2nd time.

And i’m so glad i did.