It’s been 4 years today, and there is still an emptiness in my heart. A void, an unfulfillable void. When you died, so did a piece of me. A fragment of my heart, nonpareil and forever lost in a spiral of fading memories.
There isn’t a day goes by, when I don’t think about you, or wish you were here.
And yet, it still doesn’t feel real. I see your face in a crowded room. I can hear your voice calling out to me. Only to find, it’s not your voice after all, it was someone else. As I look a little closer, I realise I’m never going to see you, speak to you or hold you again.
I remember the phone call that changed my life forever. It’s as vivid as the day you said those two words. After that, everything became a dream, a nightmare. From choosing your coffin to watching those final curtains drawer, it was one prolonged, agonising dream. It may have finalised the end of your existence, but your presence still surrounds me to this day. Comfortably haunting.
Before you died I promised I’d take care of mum. No one could prepare me for how difficult this was. To see someone you love go through so much pain. All I wanted to do was make things better. I watched my mum travel through the predetermined stages of grief, but all I felt was numbness. Reflecting back, I was too preoccupied to grieve. I still can’t bring myself to think about you, or look at your pictures. I even find it hard to talk about you. The sadness I feel gets suppressed deep inside. It only emerges on those special occasions, like today.
In fact, every special occasion is tainted by this intense sorrow. My children’s birthdays are a reminder of the years you have missed watching them grow. My birthday marks another year you are gone. The festive season is the worst, as we spend yet another, supposedly joyous occasion, without you.
I feel sad you couldn’t walk me down the aisle, I feel sad you couldn’t meet my youngest son. I feel sad your grandsons have no memory of you. I feel sad you were unable to take that much-deserved retirement with my mum. Life can be so cruel sometimes, and yet death is so natural and inevitable. Yes, you were taken too soon, but I feel incredibly blessed and honoured to call you my father. I feel privileged to hold pocketful’s of happy memories. And yes, those pockets are becoming worn, and the memories seem to gradually trickle away. However, there are some memories too precious. Those memories I will die with.
Reminiscences and a handful of old pictures are all I have. As the years go on, I find it ever more challenging to recall exactly what you looked like, the sound of your voice, your mannerisms, your character…everything has become nothing more than a blur. I find myself clenching hold of every memory with all of my might, trying to savour those moments I spent with you. Never letting go.
Like quicksand in an hourglass, as time trundles by, so do our memories. There is no pause or rewind, the hands of time can only move forward.
So now I’ve got all the ‘sad stuff’ out of the way, I wanted to tell you I’m in a better place now. Mum’s in a better place, too. We both miss you more than you could ever imagine, but yet, we realise we must move onwards with our lives. It goes without saying, you’re always be in our hearts. No matter how many years go by, no matter what our future holds.
You will be happy to know your grandchildren are all thriving. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by sadness since Maxi reminds me so much of you. His trousers are always falling down to bare his ‘builders bum’ – much like you, dad! He also has his granddads temper. When the cheeks go red, it’s our cue to step away! I’m not sure you’d approve of Phoebes diva ways. She thinks she knows everything and she is ALWAYS right! (well, at least she thinks she is!) another trait passed on from her granddad. She will be 10 this year, and she still talks fondly of her memories with you. Alex will be two in a few short months. It’s amazing where the time goes. You would have loved him. He has the most infectious laugh. Full of character and life, he is incredibly cute. The kind of cute in which you want to eat his cheeks!
As for me, it’s been a tough few years – one heck of a roller coaster ride. However, I have jumped off those rickety tracks, and I’m taking a break from all the drama. For the first time in a long while, I can honestly say I am happy with my life. There will always be an emptiness in my heart, but your death has taught me the most valuable lesson of all – to make the most of every minute you have left with your loved ones. You just don’t know what’s around the corner.
Thinking of you always…