Wowsers, 16 years ago. Sixteen whole years have passed since the final night of my father’s life. He was very much a strong influence in my life. As of today the 23rd of March, this marks 16 years deceased.
We were all around him as he gasped his last breath, he died from lung cancer. In the end we were almost happy to see him go as it was hard to watch him go downhill so fast during his time in chemotherapy. My father was 56 or possibly 57 (I cannot recall precisely ) when he died. A young man to fall ill to cancer and die.
That night though, that night was something. The following morning I caught myself as I was walking across the hallway to his room, I caught myself as I was opening his door and it snapped back into my head that he was no longer there. His body was there where he had taken his final gasps the night before. Somehow during the night as I was sleeping I forgot all about the fact that my father had died. When I caught myself in that moment though, eveything changed. I saw life through a different lense, my lense cap had changed, a diffetent filter had been applied. I saw life in almost like high definition or technicolour. I had never felt something that could be labelled “surreal” before.
My point and the purpose to share with you today, two fold. My father’s 16 year anniversary 23rd of March. The second is, at that moment when I had forgotten that he died and I was going to wake him to see would he get up today and have a coffee and a cigarette. These were the small pleasures he might or might not get out or bed for into his later days. The second part of it all is that when that moment occurred for me that morning, I believed I would never see happy again.
I didnt know the excact emotions inside of myself on that morning though have later and ever since to be honest, I have learned what they were. I have learned what is shock and trauma to the system. I learned what surreal is and I learned how a simple thought can open the flood gates to guilt and sorrow.
I am certain that many of you have lost a parent and it has been a very tough day when it comes around.
16 years later, I can tell you with great confidence that I smile many times in my days now. I have known much laughter and many days of happy coupled with content. It does not mean I do not miss my dad nor does it mean I have forgotten him.
Through my life in the 16 years that my dad has been gone, the rollercoaster keeps on chugging along. Chug chug up to some high points in my year and then there have been two too many rapid gut wrenching plummet experiences too. The overall journey has brought me to many great moments and to many not so great moments.
The point I wish to share with you is that, during my life learning about grief and loss I have become an expert in overcoming these pains. An expert in dealing with grief and loss. Times when I never ever thought I would see Happy again.
I believe it is good to feel our feelings and if these are centered around a loved one who has passed on, I want to let you know that even though I can remember my dad’s passing that night. I can assure you that through 16 years since there have been many happy times. Many fond memories and the burdens and shocks start to become less.
Happy is always close by and always ready for you when you are ready to be happy again.