This weekend was/would have been Dad’s 67th birthday. I mentioned it to a few people on twitter and got a couple messages from people asking how I was and mentioning I’d not blogged lately, when I checked back this post is long overdue. What to share really, well at the risk of stating the obvious, time is a funny thing, it’s strange to think that seven years ago we were so oblivious to what was to come. It feels like the longest and shortest period of my life, especially since Dad died, feels like yesterday in some ways, and so long ago that sometimes I worry I’m forgetting Dad and he’s turning into one of those people remembered through constructed stories and not actual memories.
This weekend was a bit emotional for me, and I’ve no idea why really. I was over tired thanks to an amazing week away with JusticeforLB the week before, and that played its part, but I found myself unable to shake a deep sadness.
There is something incredibly freeing about losing a parent, I’ve blogged about it before. Paul Clarke sums it up beautifully in this talk here:
To steal Paul’s words, in case you didn’t watch it (but you really should):
I wonder if perhaps the last gift a parent gives you when they leave you, is a real message that nothing is permanent. The thing you thought was most permanent, your Mum, your Dad, they go. So nothing is permanent, so nothing has to be cast the same for the rest of your life, for the rest of your career.
The ying to that yang of course is the emptiness of life after a parent. This sadness or gloom was precisely because nothing is permanent.
I guess I felt intensely sad that I’d never have the chance to talk to Dad again, sad that I could never get his advice, or receive a hug, or reassurance. Given it was his birthday I stopped to recap all that had happened in the twelve months previously, the places I’d been, people I’d met, work and social and campaigning I’d been a part of. It’s not just me either, it’s the rest of my family, Gran still with us at 94 but growing increasingly frail, my amazing Mum and how much she has thrown herself into giving more and doing more with the hospice, my bruv and sister and their lives and families. Most of all I guess my gorgeous nieces who Dad was so proud of, all he really wanted when he was diagnosed with bile duct cancer was to become a Grandad and I’ll be eternally grateful that my little sis and her husband delivered on that dream.
The other day Libbie said to her Mum that she’d had enough now and when was Grandad coming back? Some days I know how she feels, there aren’t many people who love you unconditionally in life, and some days the loss of them just sits like a thick, heavy cloak all around.
The last week has made me question how I’m spending my life and how I’m approaching my own impermanence…. more on that in due course I’m sure. So I guess that’s how I’m feeling right now, coming up to two years since Dad died and I miss him terribly.
Life moves on though, and Dad was very realistic about that. He wouldn’t want us moping around, I feel sure (most of the time) he’d be proud of me, of us all, and I guess that’s what matters.