I’ve always felt incredibly lucky to have such fantastic parents. Actually, that’s probably a lie – it’s always been there, but I didn’t fully realise how remarkable they are until I left home. I have always had a feeling of belonging to them, and of belonging to my siblings too. My parents aren’t perfect and have never professed to be. Since I can remember they have asked me regularly: “How can we be better parents?” – it’s something I admire them for, and want to start asking my own children.
Even though I am 28, they continue to parent me. Even though I am married and have a family of my own, they continue to parent me. It is something I am so grateful for. They have a wealth of experience, advice and knowledge. They inspire me in every single way – as parents, as friends, as grandparents and as neighbours.
Sadly, my dad passed away unexpectedly last week at the age of 67. To say it was a shock is an understatement – he took his health seriously – was busy, happy and enthusiastic. My dad’s funeral date isn’t something I planned to have in my calendar for at least another 15 years. I was there when he passed away – when the doctor said there was nothing left for them to do and when his heart rate went flat.
His love, his advice, his wise words, his humour, his unusual dress sense, his vision, his kindness and dedication to family will be deeply missed, but seeing my parents laughing, dancing, singing and walking together will be what I miss the most. They were a team, so different, so independent – yet completely united.
A new chapter has begun – one I enter with no expectations. I’m determined to just be. To not read anything about how I should, or shouldn’t be feeling. I have never felt so inspired to be the best version of myself, and the best parent I can be to my two boys. I also know that I will not let myself feel guilty for being happy – my dad simply would not approve. If I smile and am happy I’ll embrace it – if I feel sad and empty, I’ll embrace that too.
I’m a Christian and I know I will see him again. I know he is well. I also know that he has left me with ten siblings and the best mother in the world – eleven wonderful people I have to share memories and the rest of my life with. I cannot believe I get to call them family.
Since he passed away I have been completely filled with gratitude for having such a brilliant dad. I’ve been thinking about the quote: “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” a lot, and I have to say in this instance – I don’t agree with it. I feel like I knew exactly what I had and I tried to cherish it. I knew him, appreciated him and tried very hard never to take him for granted.
He has left such a legacy behind, and my one wish is that he will always feel proud to call me his daughter.