Grief, my journey: one year on.

It’s been just over a year now since I lost Dad. A whole year of living without him in my life has passed. Some days it’s just so surreal. Some days I sit and ask myself, ‘is he really gone?’ The answer is always the same. It still breaks my heart.

Grief really is a journey. It’s one I’ve travelled this past year. A global pandemic thrown in for good measure didn’t help the first anniversary milestone. Like Dads first birthday in heaven, his first anniversary was spent without my siblings at home, thanks to the pandemic. That’s been hard.

The anniversary came and went. For me the lead up to it was hardest. Knowing that day was coming was tough. The week leading up to it was a rocky road daily. I remembered every hour of every day as I went through that week. But the anniversary wasn’t by date for me, it was by day.

Daddy died on a Friday (not a Sunday as the anniversary date was), so I went through every single emotion possible on the Friday. That evening from 7pm I cried from the bottom of my stomach. I relived every second of watching Daddy gradually leave us. When 7.20pm came, I felt I’d lost him all over again. And I had. The loss was felt on that evening as strongly and as powerfully as it had been 12 months previous.

So on Sunday morning as I sat for Dads anniversary mass with Mum, my husband and sons, my emotions had settled. I felt strong enough to help them through the day. I actually did a lot of laughing that day. It seemed important. Dad made me laugh in life so I tried to laugh lots on the anniversary as I want this day to be a celebration as I go forward. I know there will always be a day near this date where I’ll lose myself in tears. Those days continue to be plentiful. But this day of celebrating the man he was, is so important to me.

As the first anniversary passed I began to feel a well of sadness growing. The days seemed to get tougher. They still are. People talked about how difficult the first anniversary was so I thought then the pain would start to ease. It didn’t. In fact I feel it’s gotten stronger. It’s more a case of accepting that he really is gone. There’s no end of the road. It’s just facing into another year without him, and another….

Regardless of the difficult time I feel this is, I want to focus on celebrating him. Moving forward with baby steps and doing something each day to make him proud. That’s something I’m certain of; Dad was so proud of me. I never have and never will doubt that.

As the second year of this journey begins, I plan on laughing lots at the crazy things we did. I plan to celebrate him by remembering him in all I do, the places I go, the people I see. I know there’s going to be many tears as I travel, but oh dear Daddy, there’s going to be many smiles too….remembering you.

G x

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