My dad was the strength that kept me going, and that was true even when he was alive and I was oblivious to it.
The photo above shows a picture me and my sister took on the last Christmas we shared with Dad- ‘the best wrappers in town’ being a reference to the fact that we are in fact, two of the worst Christmas present wrappers in town. Tiny detail you might have missed, but now you know.
Perhaps the presents would have been more memorable and extravagant if we’d have known it was the last one we’d ever have with him.
Perhaps we’d have spoke to him more often, besides on an iMessage group chat.
I know many of my family members have more to feel guilty about than I do when it comes to Dad, but when you lose someone, you pick at stupid little details that no one else cares about and dwell on it, like missed phone calls and ‘what ifs.’
Fucking what ifs.
He lived in a snowy place, which excited us stupid little kids no end. Sledging and throwing ice cold mounds of snow at each other (and sometimes random strangers passing by because we were evil like that) weren’t uncommon activities. As we all got older, well, not so much.
Not my photos, Dad sent them to a group chat and I found them a year later.
They have such good weather where he lived- snow in winter, sunny and hot in summer, perfect balance, you know? Also we lived on a new estate built right near 2 supermarkets and KFC and Maccys so just a bonus.
Fuck, I haven’t seen that place in a year now. I remember the streets like it was yesterday, I could give you specific directions on how to get to places we frequently visited.
Little version of me, washing one of Dad’s many cars over the years. Shot years and years ago, surprised it’s not visibly blurry, so blurred you can’t see me. Most cameras probably were. He owned a hell of a lot of cars, each time saying ‘I’m not getting a new car this time ‘ only to surprise us with yet again, another new car. The grey one in the snow photo is the one he stuck with, because it was heavy enough to pull our caravan. He loved taking us out in the caravan, usually to the Lake District, but other places were visited too.
Holy shit, this was all so long ago.
I’ve had so many dreams where Dad would just turn up at the house, to pick us up, like he did every Friday. Acting normally. And while I was dreaming, all that was going through my head was ‘Dad’s alive. It didn’t happen. Nothing happened. Dad’s alive.‘
Then I’d wake up and as my vision cleared, I saw that it was back to normal. Normal. Dad was still dead.
People say those dreams where you’re falling then you wake up before you hit the ground are bad, but these dreams, that i unofficially named ‘Dads Alive Dreams’ are far worse. Because instead of waking up and feeling relieved, you wake up disappointed.
That’s what’s at the base of it all.
A pit feeling in the bottom of my heart that I let everyone down. That I let Dad down.
There was so many things Dad could have done with his life. He wasn’t old, he was young for being a Dad of 2 kids, and he was healthy. It was so unexpected, one day he’s alive and he’s picking us up on Friday to celebrate Father’s Day, next it’s Saturday and he’s not with us anymore.
It really is something else when it happens so suddenly.
There was nothing I could do to sto it, because I wasn’t there.
I wasn’t there.
I wasn’t there.
I should have been, but I wasn’t.
You can’t shove a price tag on life. Especially the life of a loved one, someone you held in your heart all your life then they disappear and leave a hole in your heart that can never be filled.
I wish I could see him again. I don’t believe in wishing on anything, because it’s not real, I’m old enough to know. But every star, every time it’s 11:11, every dumb childhood way of wishing you can think of, I silently say ‘I wish to see my Dad again.”
It’ll never come true.
I’ll never see him again.
Everything felt so normal.
It was a regular weekend. I’d gone shopping with my sister, we’d been happy. While our Dad was dying. While our Dad was dead.
Writing a blog post isn’t going to bring him back to life, I know that.
I think what hit me the most is that it wasn’t just for now. Its forever. He’s never going to be part of my life again. For the rest of my life, I have no father figure at all. As I grow up, he won’t be there to see it. My dad was the strength that kept me going, and that was true even when he was alive and I was oblivious to it. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate him when he was alive but I only realised what I had when it was gone. Too late for a last message or last phone call, we couldn’t even have that last weekend.
Not even a last weekend.