Every now and then I gasp for air, I’ve lost my breath and my heart feels heavy. Losing my father has taken me by surprise, more so than I had anticipated. Just now as I was working away and had to fill in security questions, it asked what my father’s middle name was. Bang, it hits me, this thing called grief and the tears flowed so unexpectedly.

It has only been seven months since my Dad has passed and so much has happened in my life since then that I feel I haven’t quite had the time to let go and fully grasp that I have lost a parent. At times, it can be conflicting. Conflicting because he hadn’t actually been in my life for years. I mean, I always sent him a Christmas and birthday message and politely he would reply back with a thank you but we were estranged. Our relationship had certainly been tested what felt like my lifetime, yet with many magical and loving memories along with heartache and sorrow.

Those around me I felt didn’t expect me to get so upset, or perhaps narrowing that down to immediate family because he had been absent and classified “not a great father” so to understand the grief I felt was hard to ascertain. I have felt alone with my sorrow on most points and it’s been hard. My son has been lovely and has tried to understand my loss. We both connect in having the absent father and in some ways, it can often be only he and I that are on that same page. In particular, it’s be hard on days like today when I’m hit with sadness knowing I will never speak to him again. I’ll never hear his accent or English humour nor will l ever hear him sing or play his guitar which was a highlight in my life.

What is good is that I don’t live in regret. I know all that could have been done and tried my end was done and I am at peace with that. In his last years arriving back in the UK after living in the USA for many years, so very unwell, allowed me to let go of the hurt and disappointment. It served no purpose for me or for him as he couldn’t remember anyways. Although through distance, we regained a connection, we spoke regularly and at times terribly hard to listen to his confusion and pain, we connected. He still called me “Shellybubba” at times and always thanked me for calling and returned my love you.’

On our last conversation, it wasn’t too long which was normally the case, however, it will be the one I will always remember. You see, I hadn’t called for a couple of weeks, partly due to my life crumbling apart with my own issues but also I was in fear he would forget me. I couldn’t face that he wouldn’t remember me, his daughter. After the years of heartache, feeling he wasn’t there physically or emotionally, the selfishness, the silent abuse, the manipulation – whatever it was, I was his daughter and we loved each other no matter what.

I called and we spoke about nothing really as it was hard to make a conversation with him many of the times. Sometimes better than others but often my questions were met with one word answers and then he’d become confused and excuse himself off the phone. It often broke my heart to hear what once was a strong, forthcoming, extremely intelligent man talk like a child and feel so confused. I apologised for not calling and tried to explain my reasoning and then admitted to my fear of him forgetting me with a quiver in my voice and obvious I had tears. There was a moment, this beautiful moment where he became the dad again and me the little girl. He said, “Shellybubba, I would never forget you, never. Come on now, stop those tears” and then he was gone. Back to the confused soul needing to get off the phone and go back to his comfort zone in the home. We said goodbye and told each other we loved one another.

I will never again have a Dad, my Dad here, even if absent, he’s gone.

💚 💚 💚

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Published by Shelly Smith