Yesterday was the 3rd Anniversary of my father’s passing.
Feels strange. Somehow three years have passed, when at the time, we wondered how we would make it through the next three days.
I remember at the time, wondering why the world didn’t stop? My world stopped. My world turned upside down, he wasn’t here anymore; and yet life went on. And now as I reflect on the past three years, I realise I am also living, not just surviving or blindly muddling through, but really living. For a long while I felt I was just treading water, consuming so much energy and not going anywhere. But this year I am choosing change, I am choosing to live and enjoy my life. Of course, he would have wished that all along. But it is something I am just beginning to feel comfortable with now, three years later.
I was at my father’s bedside when he passed. Though he’d been fighting a deadly disease, he always remained incredibly optimistic. When doctors told him his disease was terminal, he was determined to be the first to beat it. A young 51 year old, he had much to live for and couldn’t understand people who seemed resigned to give up on life. Although it was 15 months after diagnosis, still when he passed it felt too sudden- like a tragic car accident or heart attack. People assume because he had cancer that we were prepared or had time to say good-bye and set affairs straight. That morning, nurses had been making preparations to get him home to continue the fight. At lunch time I got a call to say “Get down to the hospital now” and 5 hours later he was gone.
His illness and passing has had such a profound effect on my life. In ways I could not have imagined. My journey in life has changed. Not a choice I wanted, but nevertheless has altered the course of my life.
I still feel very connected to him. I am a firm believer in the spiritual world and I am learning that everything happens for a reason. Through his journey, I have learned about health, wellbeing, medicinal food, sun smart, holistic therapies, bravery, gratitude, passion, friendship, humility, spirituality, strength, weakness, and above all, life. I have met some amazing people and learned the value of true friendship.
Grief is a funny thing. It affects people differently. Yesterday on the anniversary of that day, I did not feel loss. I acknowledge this is the date my father passed, but it is not a day I remember him more or miss him less. He is in my thoughts every single day. I deliberately choose not to recall those last few hours on this day. Those memories are forever ingrained on my soul and I recall them in moments of privacy and only when I feel the need. The anniversary is a date to me. It does not change the way I feel about him or the way I mourn him a little, every single day.
Interestingly, it is the most joyous occasions that bring the deepest sadness. The birth of my youngest son, christenings, birthdays, family gatherings, watching my daughter start school, listening to my children laugh and play together. Seeing my brother laugh, watching my mum grow as new opportunites and paths unfold. Sitting around the bonfire, searching the clear starry sky. These are moments I wish he was here. These are moments I know he wished to be here for.
I miss his big bear hugs and his warm smile. I miss listening to his favourite stories- you know the ones he told a thousand times but told them so enthusiastically and energetically, like you’d never heard them before 🙂 You will not catch me crying or dwelling on the day he passed. I will be enjoying and appreciating the time with my loved ones. I will be toasting a scotch in his name and laughing and sharing stories, reminiscing and remembering a wonderful man.
And on those frequent happy moments, when I miss him most, I will be sending a wish to Heaven, praying that he knows how proud and thankful I am to be his daughter, and that he will keep watching over us until we meet again.
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