Losing a parent is horrible. Actually horrible, doesn’t even come close. It can almost break you. I lost my dad when I was 12 years old. My brother was 16, mum was 48 and my dad also 48 years old. When he passed away it crushed our household. My brother shut himself away. You could see my mums broken heart. Me, I didn’t deal with it, I went off the rails and I have only just recovered from his death this year.
May 16th 2008.
It was a normal Friday evening! My brother M had gone out with his friends. My mum cooked tea and I went upstairs to eat it whilst mum and dad sat downstairs watching TV. A short while later I hear my mum screaming my dads name downstairs. At first I thought he was pissing about, he’s always been a joker, but my mums voice got louder and more shakey. So, I went downstairs. As I enter the living room my dad is in his chair having a heart attack and mum is desperately trying to bring him back to consciousness. I didn’t realise he was having a heart attack. To me, it looked like he was sleeping, but the noise he was making was like a very loud, unsettling snore. Looking at my dad, nothing really sank in, but looking at my mum, I realised he wasn’t just sleeping. He wasn’t pissing about. This was serious. So I stood there and cried. I cried and cried. I turned around and walked through our hallway and sat on the bottom of our stairs. I sat there telling myself that it was real. He was just pissing about. Once I had stopped crying, I collected myself and walked back to our living room. I entered and the realisation of what was happening hit me again. The shock hit me harder this time. I rang the ambulance and spoke to the lady on the phone. She was lovely. She kept asking me questions about myself. I tried to answer her, but I couldn’t take my focus away from my dad. She explained that we needed to try to get him flat on his back. My dad was about 6ft3 and built like a brick shit house. My mum is about 5ft3 and I was just 12 years old. We had no chance. So the lady asked if I could go get a neighbour, so I did. I ran across to the house opposite. No answer. I ran to another house and the guy came out but by the time we got back to my house mum had managed to get dad on the floor on his back. I just stood there and cried and screamed that I just wanted my dad. My mum told me to wait at the top of our drive for the ambulance. So I took the phone and waited. I stood there still in my school uniform, red faced, bare footed with tears streaming down my face.
Once the ambulance arrived I ran in and told mum. Dad was still ‘snoring’ and not responding. He was just on the floor, in the middle of the living room. The doctors came in and I went and sat on the stairs again. I could hear them, but I was numb. I was fully aware of what was going on around me, but I was just staring at the floor. Completely zoned out. I saw them carry dad out and they went into the ambulance. Me and mum stood outside and of course all the neighbours were out. Staring at us and the ambulance. We watched the ambulance. It stayed outside our house for about 10 minutes, shaking every now and again. I knew that wasn’t normal. My heart was telling me he was gone, but my head was still trying to convince me it wasn’t as bad as it looked. My mum told me to go upstairs and get changed out of my school uniform. So I did. I composed myself, got changed and went back downstairs. One of the doctors came out and informed us that they were going to the hospital now, so me and mum followed them. The car journey was awkward. Mum was trying to remain positive and I sat there in silence.
We arrived at the hospital and they took us to a little private room. Then the doctor came in and informed us that dad had died. There was nothing they could’ve done. I screamed out in pain. Tears rolled down my face and I threw myself into my mums arms. The doctor said we were allowed to go and see him, so we did. He took us to this room, pulled the curtain back and there dad was. Lifeless on a metal table covered in a white sheet up to his chest. I went and stood by his shoulder, looked down at him and hoped for a reaction. Something that would take all this pain away, but nothing. I tried to talk to him, but nothing. I couldn’t be there anymore so the doctor took me back to the room and mum stayed with dad for a bit. I knew that my dad had died, but I was still in denial.
May 16th 2018.
I have been dreading this day for the past few months. During my counselling sessions this year, we focused on my dads death. It took a toll on my personal life. I’d spend my nights crying. I’d randomly cry during the day. My anxiety was through the roof. There were times when I couldn’t face leaving the house unless it was for my horse. I shut myself off. The majority of my days were spent in bed asleep. I felt broken. I had to re-live my dads death over and over again in order for me to be able to process it. There were times where I thought I couldn’t carry on with this heart ache. It was physically painful at times but it would be! Almost 10 years worth of bottled up feelings, thoughts and emotions. Of course I was gonna feel like shit. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. When we were coming towards the end of our counselling sessions, I was excited but nervous. Excited to finish the sessions and to start discovering my true self. Nervous because I’ve never known myself to not have a mental illness. I knew I would have finished my sessions by May 16th, which was why I was dreading the date. I didn’t know how I would be. Last year I was on the verge of a breakdown, the year before that I was fine and the year before that I was a fucking state! I was scared in case it broke me and I couldn’t recover from it. I was scared of being thrown back into that black hole.
But today, I’m good. I’m not great but I’m not bad. Sure it’s shit that I lost my dad at a young age. I grew up angry at the fact that I wouldn’t have a dad to see me get through high school, pass my driving test, finish college, move away from home etc, but I’ve accepted that now. There’s no point holding onto anger for something that you cannot change. Trust me, it wasn’t as easy as just accepting what had happened, it’s been a long journey but it’s been an experience too. It’s opened my eyes, mind and soul. Life really is too short to be focusing on the negatives. There is no point. You can end up wasting your life away, still being caught up on the past.
I know I’ll still have moments where I grieve for my dad. He was my dad after all, but all that anger, heart ache and pain has finally gone.
Forget or forgive but please just don’t keep hold of something that needs to be let go.
Love you all so much,