Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go…
Twenty Years is a long time… On the 23rd of December it is 20 years ago since my Dad died. I was 28 years old. It really was kinda young to lose my Dad… I remember some things vividly and others I have to search deep to remember. I do remember my mum calling in the early hours of the morning to tell me, well she couldn’t actually say it to me, she told Daz. I did answer the phone. You kinda realise that some shit has gone down when you answer the phone in the early hours and your mum says ‘get Darren…I just can’t tell you!’
Dad passed away two days before his favourite time of the year. Dad always let down his guard at Christmas. The family would all get together. He would head to the bottle shop and buy some, well many, nice bottles of wine. Mum would cook up a feast and we would all enjoy each other. Dad would be social and talkative and funny…that wasn’t a normal thing for Dad. He was a serious type. Or maybe I don’t remember him ever being like that.
What does Dr Phil say? … something about your perception being your reality? Maybe I just don’t remember him being social, others might have seen or known something different though.
I can’t say I had a relationship with my Dad. He worked away most weeks and was home for the weekend mostly. I was the fifth child and guess that both Mum and Dad might have been over parenting by then. I would have been, lol! Yes, he loved me I am sure, but I felt I had no relationship with him, possibly if questioned he might have thought differently. Over time I have realised all of that is ok, as life and parenting IS tough at times.
So, from my experience when you lose someone important in your life that you didn’t have a relationship with, it’s a bit tricky. Mind you, loss always is tough isn’t it?
Firstly, I grieved for him as a man. I was sad as Dad had plans. So many plans that he wasn’t able to fulfil. He also would have been very cranky to die, especially just before Christmas!! After all, he had already been to the bottle shop!! How mad he would have been that he didn’t get to enjoy his favourite Chardonnay with his son and son in laws… He had also just had his computer linked to the internet. He was ready to surf the web… imagine! The changes in IT over the last 20 years has been incredible and he had a great interest and passion for all things IT. He loved gadgets, he actually had one of the first mobile phones, you know one of them the size of a brick and came in its own bag! Mind boggles on what that man would think of the world now!
Then you grieve for the relationship that you could have had. The relationship you were hoping to form in the future. The relationships I was hoping for my Dad to have with my children, who were very young. I had seen his love to his other grandchildren, not so much with mine as they were little. But first hand I had seen him really engage with his Grandkids. I do know for sure that he would have loved exploring so many things that our boys were interested in. I could have imagined him out with the telescope looking for Mars…digging rocks for dinosaur bones and he would have greatly appreciated sharing IT knowledge. That is one of my greatest losses.
I also grieved for my mum. Mum didn’t have many connections with people. Her support group was her adult children. Ok, guys, 28 is an adult but when I look at our son he is turning 24 soon…28 is young. My mum was a stoic woman, she was just amazingly strong after Dad died. I have vivid memories of how strong she was when everyone went back to their lives. I can’t say I would be the same. We did live close so we supported her greatly and it was a privilege, a responsibility and also a challenge. That’s what family does though. (ps hope I have showed my boys that lol) Mum only passed away a few years ago so she outlived Dad by many years. She was very happy to be alive, but she was pretty cranky to be without her love of her life, Murry.
Ok, I guess people would say, well your Dad is watching over you Delys. Um, nahhhh, Dad was an atheist and even if he was ‘wherever/heaven’ he certainly wouldn’t be admitting that there is something after death. He would NOT admit to that. BUT he is certainly in our genes and I see him throughout all the men in my family, and my 21-year-old son is Murry all over… (I will say after writing this blog I had a visit from Dad…he sat on the end of Daz’s side of the bed. So that blows all that outa the water doesn’t it?)
So, as I head towards the 23rd December I am having a sook about my Dad and Mum no longer being with us. I reflect on the fact that many years have gone by, but the grief is still floating around the place. I have been reflecting on the loss for our family and the love that we all had for them. I have also been reflecting that Christmas is just not the same and I don’t mean just because we don’t have good Chardonnay purchased by Dad anymore! Lol… Life is full of changes that you need to get use to.
As I head towards Christmas I am reflecting on the fact that as life changes it is best to focus on the cheer. Yes, it is important to reflect and possibly sook or sulk but to focus on the cheer is so much better for the old mind … so, I am shifting my focus to the cheer ahead.
Its nearly time for the 23 December Christmas celebration with Bestie and her family, friends that have become family. Now that is a bloody blessing and damn cheerful! My greatest cheer is, of course, the opportunity to spend quality time with Daz, B1 and B2, Lily and Murry, family and friends during this festive time. Plus, guys, Santa comes…remember!! And champagne, champagne is very important! Christmas Cake, shortbread….yummo… plus Boxing Day Sales…the cheer goes on…
Merry Christmas to all of you, Merry Christmas to your Mum and your Dads, Nanna and Pops, Aunts and Uncle, Nieces and Nephews, Puppies and Pets and a special mention to all of your mates. I look forward to reflecting and creating with you more in 2018!