10,950 days without you.
The 15th of January this year marked 30 years since my Dad died.
In the thirty years that have passed I have started Kindergarten, finished primary school, completed my high school certificate, travelled solo overseas, worked in numerous different jobs, completed a bachelors degree, bought houses, sold houses, got engaged, got married, had two beautiful children and self published three books.
How many days during those last thirty years have I thought or wondered about my Dad – the whole 10,950 of them.
It’s funny the saying ‘time heals everything’. I definitely think you learn to live with grief but it is always there, sometimes in the distance or sometimes knocking at the door wanting to remind you of the beautiful person you have lost. But I believe with grief comes compassion. When you know what it feels to lose someone dear to you, you have a deep understanding of loss and a yearning to help and comfort others.
I’m not sure if I was just too young to really remember or maybe my mind is trying to protect me but the sad thing is I don’t really have any memories or times etched in my mind with my Dad. I 100% know he was a beautiful man who was respected by so many but I often wish I could listen to a song, smell a certain scent or look at a particular movie and be reminded of him or a moment of time with him. I love hearing stories from his friends and family of the mischief and good times he had but it would be so nice to have a memory that is mine alone.
My eldest daughter is so cute and sometimes asks me ‘what did you like best about Poppy Martin?’ – I try to answer the best I can with what I know but deep down inside I wish I could retell stories of funny things we had done together or places we had been but many of my stories are ones I retell from others.
The good part (if you could say that) of not remembering is I don’t remember the months he spent sick, the hospital visits and the heartache that surrounded his passing. (I do remember though on the night he was to leave the earth my Aunty massaging the ‘growing pains’ in my legs so that I might get some sleep)
It’s funny over the last thirty years I have not really come across many other people who have lost a parent at a young age. I am sure there is sadly plenty of people out there but it is something not often talked about. When people talk about their parents I don’t often question if there is both a Mum and a Dad or if one is missing why that is because there is so many reasons that could be.
I may have a large hole in my heart that yearns for my Dad but I have a really good life. My Mum did such an amazing job bringing me up, I have a beautiful sister and an awesome family.
There is no denying though that losing a parent at a young age (or any age) changes you, maybe in some ways it has made me a better person as I feel a deep connection with other that have suffered loss. I treasure each and every person in my family and feel so lucky to have them on this journey with me.
It has though, made me fear death. One of my greatest fears is myself or husband dying and leaving my children without a parent, Why? Because when you lose a parent a small part of you goes with them.
It may or may not be true depending what you believe – but I do think my beautiful Dad is watching over me and my family and providing us strength and wisdom when we need it. If someone I love dies, I also find comfort in knowing that maybe somewhere up there Dad will welcome them with open arms and a cold beer.
I have never really opened up much to anyone about my Dad but writing things down provides me so much comfort and if reading this can help someone else feel not alone then it is all worth it.
This beautiful quote was provided to me by Ann-Maree Imrie in memory of her son Xavier for my Remembering Me Book. It resonated with me, and I think it will resonate with anyone that has lost someone close to them and the journey of grief that follows.
“Sure, the intense pain that was present in the beginning has died down to a dull roar. Maybe even a quiet hum. But it’s a quiet hum that never goes away. Even in the loudest room, on the happiest occasions, surrounded by the people I love…there is the hum. Even on a good day, behind the biggest smile…there is the hum.”
I look back on my Dad’s 37 years on earth in wonder and know that tonight like every other night he is heaven’s brightest star guiding me through life. Cherish the time you have with your loved ones and give your Dad an extra special hug tonight.
As my Dad wrote:
“Go about your lives and weep no more for me, for really it is I who is the lucky one”.
‘Cherish - A Book About Us’ was made in memory of Shaela’s Dad.
”It covers all the things I would have loved to known about him over the last thirty years, so that others can tell their story to their children or grandchildren. On this, his 30th anniversary I would love to sell as many as I can, because your story just like his, is important to tell.”