My Dad has Died.
In the last 10 months, some of the most important people in my life have died. Last year my Granddad died after a short battle with cancer. Then on New Years Eve my godfather passed away. Both were older men, both had a health condition that was deteriorating, and as heart breaking as their loss was, we at least had some time to prepare. Even if we didn’t know exactly when it would happen, we at least knew that we should prepare ourselves for the worst. Whenever we lose someone we love, it is a dagger to the heart. Something that feels as though part of us has been ripped out and can never be filled, only held in its empty state until we too disappear from this world. We can take only the slightest relief that their pain is over, even if ours is in top gear. But it’s the sudden deaths that can really throw us, catch us off guard and hit us in ways we can’t imagine before we hear the news.
When my Nan died at 61, no one expected it. She went to bed one night and didn’t wake up in the morning. Her loss hit me so hard I could only deal with it through my work, through writing. And though I miss both my Granddad and Godfather, I have been able to come to terms with their loss with a little more ease than with my Nan. Because it was sudden, unexpected and a complete curve ball no one saw coming.
Tonight, or yesterday depending on when or even if I publish this, I have been thrown another curve ball.
My Dad has died.
My life story, like everyones, is far from simple. I have had two Dads in my life- the biological one and the one who was there since before I can remember. My biological Dad- for reasons that I’m not going in to here- left when I was a baby and I didn’t hear from him again till I was 16. Not meeting him till my 20s. We didn’t have a standard Father/ Son relationship. It was more like friends and we haven’t spoke for coming on two years. We don’t get on and I think we’re both fine with that. He is still alive.
When I was less than 2, my mother met a new man and they quickly realised they were those mythical “soul mates” we hear so much about. Before long he adopted me and I was, as far as anyone was concerned his son. And he my father, my Dad. We may not have always seen eye to eye- but then what father and sons do? I remember one time when I was being bullied at school, he marched in and faced the teacher head on ensuring they put a stop to it. He made my mum happy and has been a solid rock whilst she deals with her own health issues.
He wasn’t a man in complete health, but not health problems that would lead any of us to believe he would pass so suddenly and so young- a man in his 60s and relatively healthy but for a minor complaint that required medicating. I am not going to go in to details of his passing, but that he died suddenly and unexpectedly this evening is enough to say.
I cannot fathom how my mother is taking this. In the last year she has lost her father, an old family friend and now my Dad. The one man who was a constant in her life and who supported her without fail or hesitation.
A couple of years ago they renewed their marriage vows. And it was clearly one of the happiest days of their life. They have recently- thanks to my brother- had two grandsons with a granddaughter on the way. A child that will be born into this world never knowing her granddaddy or him her. I still myself do not know how to react to this. I am going to give my mum a few days to deal with her own feelings and thoughts and head down to be with her – I have been advised not to rush off.
My Dad has died. And I feel numb and shocked. He may not have been my biological parent, but he was my dad in each and every way it counted. Blood doesn’t make family, blood makes relatives. Losing someone we love is hard, but there is a monstrous extra burden that comes when it is so unexpected and sudden.
Please bear with me whilst I get my head around this.