The day my dad passed away, we all left the hospital to head home to start organising the funeral. I didn’t want to leave him, but I didn’t want to stay either. I was about 32 weeks pregnant, I had only slept a couple of hours on hospital pull out sofa along with two of my siblings. The ‘passing’ was traumatic. There was nothing peaceful about it. We knew deep down it was coming, but it felt so sudden, way too sudden. The heart monitor beeped flat – I screamed, my mum screamed, my sister screamed. We all screamed, and we didn’t care who heard.
On the way home Jared and I popped into a shopping centre where I bought some new maternity leggings (my current ones were riddled with holes), a new shirt and some earrings. I remember walking around the shop feeling like I was in a bubble, and I wanted to tell everyone that my dad was dead. I had seen it. I knew I was delaying heading back to my parents house, and it probably seemed like a strange thing to do. I didn’t want to see my mum the day that the love of her life passed away, or see the heartbreak of my ten siblings. I didn’t want to face the emptiness, or face planning a funeral I didn’t want to go to.
I got back in the car and changed immediately into my new clothes. This is something I often do when I buy new things, but this time there was so much more meaning behind it. I wanted to arrive home feeling refreshed, and ready to face reality. I didn’t think much about the earrings I’d just bought, but over the next few weeks they became really important to me and I couldn’t take them out. A subtle reminder of the day that he died, and I felt that I had a small piece of him with me at all times. After his funeral I took a single red rose from the casket arrangement. I kept it safe and now it hangs discreetly by our front door. Another subtle reminder that he is not here, and something I will treasure forever.
My dad loved music of every kind – organ recitals, opera, big orchestral pieces, George Michael, Elton John, Robbie Williams, Pavarotti, The Beach Boys, Madness, Lighthouse Family and his all time favourite, Elvis. It is impossible (I’ve tried) to go through one single day without hearing a song that reminds me of him. When I go into a shop, when I listen to the radio, or am just out and about. He loved dancing, and had a number of anticipated moves. He is literally everywhere, and I’ve come to realise this can be such a blessing.
I’m not ready for pictures of him in our house. I wish I was, but I’m not. I don’t want any more reminders that he’s not here. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish he were here, and I missed him so much on our recent holiday. I kept wondering what he would be doing, what jokes he’d be cracking, what he would be doing and things he’d be talking to me about. I missed him telling me where he would be taking me mum on their day out together, and providing dark chocolate for us all.
It really is the little things you miss when someone is gone.