I can’t believe I’m doing this again, so soon after Grandad. It baffles me, it really does. It makes me wonder – what did my family do to deserve this? Are we cursed?
As everyone is probably aware, given how so many of you will follow me on social media or know me in real life. My Dad sadly and very suddenly passed away on the 16th January 2019. Just three months after my Grandad left us. It’s something we never thought would happen. Hell, I didn’t think I’d ever have to write this post if I’m being honest.
But, as I said in my open letter to my Grandad, I find writing cathartic in situations like this.
This, is a whole new kind of pain. With Grandad, it was expected and we could prepare ourselves (the best we could) but this, it just hit us all like a tonne of bricks. It feels like I’m falling down a hole with no end. I try to keep level headed and I try to stay strong in front of people. When I’m on my own, I just crumble.
It was just like any normal day. Well, it started off as normal anyway. Until my Mum and Ryan came home from work and that’s when our world came crashing down. There was my Dad, in his favourite spot in the living room, almost as if he were asleep.
I’m not going to go into the details of the next hour after that because that’s something I want to keep private. All I’m going to say is that my Mum tried so hard to bring him back, so did the paramedics. They did all they could but unfortunately, my Dad couldn’t be saved. It hurts so much to the point where you will do anything to take the pain away.
A man who had so much to live for, gone. Just like that.
How do you even get your head around losing a parent so suddenly? With no chance to say goodbye. There’s so much I wish I did that day differently – like reply to his text message after I sent a video of Baby Holden moving. Instead, I read it and thought to myself ‘I’ll reply to that later and then give Dad a ring’. But, I never would get that to make that phone call. I never got the chance to say ‘love you Daddio’ one last time. I would do anything to be able to say those words to his face or over the phone one more time.
My Dad wasn’t ‘old’, he only just turned 54 in December.
He was kind, sweet, caring, happy-go-lucky. He was hilarious, he was a wind up merchant, cheeky as they come and full of life. Dad would light up any room that he walked in. A family man, who lived and breathed for me, Mum and my brother. My Dad would give us the world, even if it meant that he went without. As long as we were happy, that’s all he cared about. He was… Everything you would want your Dad to be. I was so incredibly lucky to have him as my Dad.
You weren’t just my Dad, you were also my best friend. It absolutely destroys me to know that I’ll never see you again. I’ll never hear your voice in person again, only in videos and my memories. Never again, will I get one of your cuddles, hear one of your jokes, your words of reassurance when I need it most. Our chats, it’s all gone. Everything. I am going to miss it all. It’s hard to even narrow it down to what I’ll miss more because you had so many incredible qualities that made you, you. You were so unique and so full of life, your wicked grin and laugh was infectious.
But even now, just one month on from your death, I struggle to even imagine what your voice sounded like. Does this make me a bad daughter because I can’t remember your voice already? I have to watch a video to jog my memory. When I watch the videos, that’s when I remember. It brings me so much comfort and then I hear your lisp. Your lisp was something I never, ever noticed when you were alive. To the point where I wouldn’t say you had a lisp. I guess it’s because I had grown up with it and was used to it. But now I hear it straight away. In around 90% of the videos I’ve watched, you’re doing something you shouldn’t, being mischievous, cheeky and just being you.
That whole night, is just a blur.
All I can remember is walking into the front room after the paramedics said no more could be done and seeing you laying on the living room floor, Mum was cradling your body and I was feeling sick to the bone. I remember crying uncontrollably into Kayne, who was trying so hard to keep it together for me. I remember a paramedic trying to examine me to make sure I was ok – being 34 weeks pregnant at the time. Everything else, was just a blur, to the point where it doesn’t even feel like it was real.
Your head was still warm, I sat by you (and got stuck on the floor, which you would’ve laughed at) and I kept stroking your face, trying to take in as much detail as possible. Every single wrinkle (which there were several of), your hair, your smell, your ears that you never did quite grow into… Your eyes were closed but I wanted to open your eyelids, just so I could take in your brilliant, piercing blue eyes. But I was too scared to do it, in fear that your eyes had already gone a dull grey.
You looked peaceful, like you were asleep. When it came to the funeral directors taking your body from the house, I just remember latching onto your chest and sobbing uncontrollably. All I wanted was for you to wrap your arms around me and say that it was all one massive joke that went too far but that never happened.
After what felt like forever, we were finally able to go and see you at the funeral home.
It was harder than seeing Grandad, you didn’t ‘look’ like you. This, I think was down to reasons beyond our control to do with the post mortem – again, something I’m not going to go into.
It was horrible. I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t handle seeing you laying there in a coffin. It just didn’t feel right at all. You only really associate ‘old’ people with coffins and death because it’s the circle of life. Not your Dad who was only 54. How Mum was able to see you every day, I’ll never know – she’s a bloody tough cookie, I’ll say that much.
I felt terrible after the first time seeing you, like I had let you down because I couldn’t go near you, only to say goodbye. I couldn’t even look at your coffin and didn’t want to leave it like that. The last physical memory of you, I didn’t want it to be that. I wanted to see you again to say my proper last goodbye in person. This time, you looked more like you. You looked very peaceful and like you were literally just sleeping. This made me feel a lot more at ease. Mum had very strategically placed your favourite Man Utd top over you, which definitely made you look more like you. That was comforting.
I spent a few minutes alone with you to say my private goodbye. Everything I said to you, I’ll never repeat. That’s for me and you to keep secret forever. I stroked your head and it was ice cold to the touch, when I think about it – my hand goes icy cold, like I’m stroking your head again. Sorry for the snot and tears I got on you too, I know you would’ve grumbled about that and called me a minger…. But, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders after I had my alone time with you.
I’d be lying if I said it was easy to leave the Chapel of Rest with you laying in the coffin. I didn’t want to leave the room but time was pressing on and Ryan and Mum needed to say their goodbyes. I still struggle to process it, that night was the last time I’d ever see you as you again.
Even Kayne came to see you at the funeral home. Which I’m still surprised about. He doesn’t deal well with this stuff as you know and you could see how uncomfortable he felt in the room. But, Kayne wanted to say goodbye to you too, he adored you and loved you. He did, after all know you for 12-13 years and being with me for 8.5… You were practically a second Dad to him. You had a lovely relationship. The same as us, he is shocked and still in utter disbelief. I know you always joked and said that no one will ever be good enough for me (typical Dad behaviour) but I know you approved of Kayne and thought highly of him too. He’ll look after me, don’t worry.
Your funeral, as far as funerals go, you would have loved it.
We know you didn’t want a fuss. You never did want a fuss. After all, you did tell us that when you die, you just wanted us to wrap you up in some black bags and chuck you in the docks… Well, I think authorities would’ve had a lot of issues with that and also, we wanted to give you the send off you deserved.
With the bag piper leading you in, your foot would have been tapping away.
Always so proud that you were Scottish. The weather was beautiful, so sunny and warm. I’d like to think that was you. It was quite the turn of weather from the morning – strong winds and heavy rain, it was like you put a stop to it. There were people in their football tops, although you would’ve had some choicier words for those in Liverpool and Celtic tops… We played Take Me Home United Road, which you would have also loved. People were singing and clapping and waving their scarves. If you closed your eyes, it felt like you were at a football match.
So many people came for your send off. You were so well liked and you always said no one liked you! When it came to leaving your coffin. God, that was hard. I just wanted to stay in the room with you, just so that they couldn’t take your coffin away for cremation.
You would’ve laughed at how many people tried to stroke my bump in the Garden of Remembrance. I had to do many tactical dodges to avoid unwelcome bump rubs. You knew how much I hated people touching my bump without my say so.
You were about to become a Grandad for the first time.
When I found out I was pregnant, out of everyone – I was most afraid of telling you, being Daddy’s little cupcake and the fact that you said you would break Kayne’s legs if it ever happened. But when I told you, God knows you could see the excitement, proudness and happiness just pouring out of you. Your face was a thousand words. You were over the moon. So, so excited to become a Grandad for the first time and you were so involved from the get go, just as I knew you would be. You never, ever let him go without – before he’s even born! Whenever we said anything to you, you simply responded with ‘only the best for my Grandson’. I know you would’ve been the best Grandad ever to him and even though you’re not here in person, you still will be the best Grandad ever.
We’ve made a ‘Grandad shelf’ for Baby Holden’s nursery.
The shelf just happened to be a cloud shelf, so it’s like you’re always watching over him. Fred the Red Devil teddy that you got him from Old Trafford is on there, along with a photo of you and a couple other bits that’s sentimental.
It’s been bittersweet, the last few weeks.
We’re so excited about Baby Holden but yet, I feel so guilty for being excited and happy at such a sad, confusing and uncertain time. We’ve been getting his nursery ready but there’s sadness surrounding it too. You helped us pick the nursery furniture and it hurts to know that you won’t see it.
You would’ve laughed your head off watching us trying to fit it all into two cars when we picked it up. Mum was basically driving with half the cot on her shoulder. When we (Kayne) built it, I got so excited and even said ‘I can’t wait to send Mum and Dad photos!’ Then soon realised that only Mum could ever see the photos now. That really hurt.
It’s hard being pregnant and losing a parent. You just go through the motions of your day to day.
Eating, drinking and sleeping because I have to do it. I have to take into consideration that there is a baby inside me, that is totally dependent on me. I don’t feel like I’ve been able to grieve properly for you Dad because I’m keeping myself focussed on Baby Holden, like you would have wanted. It’s when he’s here that I’m dreading. I’m scared of how I’ll be mentally and how I’ll handle it. But, I know that you’ll be with us every step of the way.
It’s incredibly painful to know that all the plans you had for him won’t become a reality now. Taking him to Old Trafford, to Disney, sleepovers at your house, to football practise, days out and more. This perfect vision in my head of you holding him for the first time, has been ripped away from me. All these memories that I had already created in my mind what would’ve become a reality, will never come to be. He will know everything about you. He will hear about how incredible you were, he will hear all the stories. The stories of you playing pranks on us, from our holidays to Florida, your funny little ways and the things you used to do. Your memory will always live on.
Losing you Dad, has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to come to terms with.
Just a day or two before you passed, we were at your house, laughing and joking. Taking the mick out of each other, as usual. You were just being you, like always. Sitting there in your No.1 Dad Pyjama set, your iPad games on the go to the right and to the left, Kayne was sat next to you. You were giving him some look and ripping into him for something I wish I could remember. How can we go from being like that? From you being totally fine, to you then being gone within 48 hours? As quick as a flash, you were gone. There’s so many questions I have that’ll never be answered. So many years robbed from us. We never got to say goodbye, that’s one of the things I’m struggling with most.
You were always so supportive of everything I did.
You were like my own personal cheerleader. When I graduated in Lincoln Cathedral, despite there easily being over a thousand people there, I could hear your screams and cheers above everyone else. You could see how proud you were. Whenever I was upset, you were probably the only one who could talk some sense into me. You just always knew what to say at the right time.
We had so many little ‘things’.
One of them being our obsession with Barney the Dinosaur. Even though I’m 24… We still sang the lemondrops and gumdrops song on a regular basis to each other – sending videos of us both doing it. When we were in Florida, we saw Barney Live, we were the oldest family there and the biggest kids of them all. Mum and Ryan were hiding away at the back pretending they didn’t know us. There we were – singing at the top of our lungs and showing them how it’s done.
We would quote random things, especially Monty Python.
After taking you to physio, 9 times out of 10 we’d end up in Tesco and we’d get Krispy Kremes or chocolate. If we were driving by on a weekend and you weren’t working, we’d pop in to say hello to you… One-two hours later we’d still be chatting away about everything and anything. You were just so easy to talk too.
We had an amazing relationship. Our relationship was as ‘daddy’s little girl’ as they come. I could do no wrong in your eyes (mwuhahaha) I used to love driving to take you to work or pick you up from work because it meant I got to have some time with you. We’d just chat about our day, about baby Holden, everything. Then, you’d tell me some terrible Dad joke, then I would be too busy laughing and go flying around corners in 4th gear as opposed to 2nd… I don’t think I ever did recover all those wine gums that fell out of your hand and mouth when that happened. Oops!
It was a laugh a minute with you. The room was never quiet. If I ever needed you for anything, quick as a flash – you’d be there. Whether it was just to talk to you or for advice or to help with something in my home. You were always there. Nothing was ever too much of a problem for you.
Not only will you never see your Grandson or any other Grandchildren, but you’ll never walk me down the aisle.
You’ll never get to make ‘that’ speech at my wedding, which I know would have been absolutely amazing. I hate myself for it. The timings, just everything. It all went wrong. We couldn’t get pregnant for so long, we called off the wedding because of the venue’s crappy attitude and now you’ve missed out. We’ve missed out. There’s so much we’re going to miss out on. But it’s all beyond our control.
I just wish we could talk. That’s all I want Dad, is to talk to you again and see your face. If we were able to speak to each other, I know you’d tell me that everything will be fine. That you’re ok, wherever you are and that you love us all. You’d tell me to stop being a big lala and stop crying. You’d tell me to be strong and keep going with life. It’s hard Dad. It’s hard to do all this without you but I will do my absolute best.
Amongst the intense sadness, I feel so incredibly angry that this happened.
Why did they choose you? Why did you have to go? Did heaven/God/whoever controls our lives – did they really have to take you? Was it really necessary? You had so much to live for and so many more years left in you. Why did we have to lose our Dad? Why did Mum have to lose her husband and soul mate? Baby Holden lost his Grandad, did they really have to take you from us? It’s not fair. Your death, should not have happened. It was beyond our control and beyond your control. None of us knew, not even you and there was nothing that we could do to try and help you. I feel like I failed you.
I know that we’ve been told that you wouldn’t have known anything about it.
That you would have just fallen asleep and slipped into an endless dream. But there’s one part of me that constantly niggles away at the back of my mind ‘what if?’. Life is cruel and unpredictable. It’s a rollercoaster. Life is always changing and ongoing, constantly throwing obstacles in your way, full of unexpected twists and turns with no way of getting off until you meet your end. The horrible thing is, your end came and that end was way too soon.
I keep forgetting that you’ve died. Not in a horrible way. I’m just so used to you being here, I keep acting as though you’re still around. The amount of times I have thought to myself ‘Oh I haven’t rang Dad recently, I’ll give him a quick call’. After my midwife appointments, I start typing out a text to you. I soon realise that I can’t do this now. It’s little things like that, it’ll take some getting used to. I’m so used to being able to see you and speak to you, that when I realise I can’t do it anymore, it’s a new wave of pain and emotions every time.
It brings me some comfort to know that you’ll always be around, whilst you’re not here physically in person anymore, you’ll always be in our thoughts and our memories.
I just wish we could’ve had more time together. I feel robbed that I only got 24 years with you, when there should’ve been way more. Time, unfortunately, was against us. I don’t know if I’ll ever come to terms with your death and if I do, when that’ll be. All I can do is look back on the last 24 years of my life and smile and be grateful for the time we did spend together. All the memories we made, all the happy times, all the things you did for us. I’ll look back on them fondly and smile that I was lucky enough to have someone as incredible as you for my Dad. I couldn’t have got luckier if I tried. I know that you’ll watch over our son and you’ll always be with him. I’m sorry it all happened this way.
The memory of you will always live on.
Our lives will never be the same without you, I just hope that we continue to do you proud every single day. I know that you’ll be with us all, every step of the way. We will meet again someday, but for now I’ll see you in my dreams. Sleep tight Dad. I love you and miss you more than words can ever possibly explain.
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