Today is a day I used to dread. Normally by now I would have woken up in tears and I would be lying in my depressive hole for the rest of the day. I would normally go on social media and see people posting their tributes to their dad and I would either get angry at the fact that I couldn’t do that or upset that I didn’t have a dad anymore. In the first few years after his death my anger of fathers day would be directed to my dad. I was angry that he left us so suddenly. Then my anger would be diverted onto myself. I was angry at myself as I felt I could have done more to prevent his death. In reality there was nothing more I could have done. It took a while for the anger to go away. I had to realise that situations like that happen and there was nothing anyone could have done to change it. Once the anger went I was constantly upset. I suppose that’s when the grief set in and instead of being angry at my dad, I was annoyed at myself for spending those years angry at my dad. My own dad who I loved dearly and who loved me fondly I was so angry at for leaving when neither one of us could have prevented his heart attack. My dads death kick started my PTSD as I witnessed the ordeal. Back then I didn’t know what PTSD was and to be honest I don’t think many people did. I think it was a mental illness only really associated with war veterans. In my eyes it’s a mental illness that has only recently started getting more attention. My PTSD was active pretty much everyday. The memories I had of my dad before his death faded away and the memory of his death took over. Whenever people spoke of their dads, that was the memory that came into my head. Whenever I was in a lesson at school, that memory popped into my head. Whenever fathers day came around, all I could think about was the day of his death. How normal the day was till the event. That one day took over many years of my life.
My first fathers day after my dad died was the hardest. It was heart breaking seeing all the adverts on TV or out and about. Hearing other people discuss what they were getting their dads for father’s day and every so often someone would ask me “What are you getting your dad?” and sometimes I didn’t have the guts to tell them that he died a few months prior so if I didn’t really know them I used to make up some bullshit excuse. It seemed easier to do that than to make them and myself feel awkward. I was still absent from school at this point and my mum and me decided we’d go down to his grave. It was something mum did fairly regularly but something I hadn’t done since the day he was buried. Just before we set off I bottled it, broke down in tears and said I couldn’t go. I didn’t want to. So I stayed home and my mum went to see him. It was too hard for me. My first fathers day without my dad was strange. It was too much to get used to. I still hadn’t accepted the fact that he died, so fathers day brought a huge mixture of thoughts and feelings to me, some of which I couldn’t understand.
Fast forward to fathers day in the past few years and I was filled with jealousy. I was extremely jealous of all these people who still have their dads but didn’t actually appreciate anything that dads did for them. This angered me. I would’ve done anything to have my dad back for even just a minute and the people who never showed any appreciation for their dad pissed me off royally. When fathers day came around it reminded me that I my dad has missed me getting through high school, college, passing my driving test, getting my first job etc. It reminded me of how my future will be different. If I ever get married I won’t have a dad to give me away, I won’t have a dad to talk to when my mum has pissed me off and I won’t have a dad to see me succeed in life and that was hard to come to terms with. I was a daddies girl, but I never realised it till after his death. His death made me realise how much time we actually spent together and how much we had in common. All of this added up and made me jealous and envious of others. In all honesty I think I wanted someone who could relate to me also. When fathers day came around it made me feel more alone. I felt like I couldn’t express my gratitude and appreciation for my dad because he died, so I used to think what was the point? It would only lead to pity or sympathy which I hate and I was so paranoid of other people thinking I was seeking attention, so I never bothered.
This year however is different. Very different. My counsellor taught me acceptance. Acceptance of my dads death. I have accepted that there was nothing I could have done differently to change the outcome. I have accepted my thoughts and feelings. Processed the memory and my emotions built up from that day have been released. This year I woke up, went on Facebook and saw many posts from friends about their dads and I went happy for them. They have a dad in their life who loves and adores them. They have a dad who they can go on adventures and share secrets with. My counselling experience with his subject was difficult. Like another level of difficulty that only some others may know about but it has taught me a lot. It has made me realise how negative thoughts/feelings can effect our outlook on life and change how we live our lives. Don’t get me wrong I still have my negative moments, but my mind is in a positive place 95% of the time now.
I feel the death of a parent can either make or break you. It very nearly broke me. There have been many times where I thought I was past the point of being fixed, but thankfully I am surrounded by the most amazing friends and family who saw that I just need a bit of professional help and guidance. I would love to have my dad back in my life, but I know that isn’t possible but I also know my life would be extremely different if he was still here and I am so happy with how my life is right now, I wouldn’t want to change that. My dads death challenged, pushed and tested me over the years but I feel like it’s all led up to this point. This point where I have now reached clarity and understanding of my past which is helping me shape my future.
I’d like to wish a happy fathers day to all the dads out there and to my own.
Sending positivity and love to you all,