On the 17th October 2001, my Dad passed away.
Although each anniversary of his death is difficult, this year is particularly hard as it marks seventeen years since he died, and I was seventeen years old at the time, meaning that I have been alive with my dad in my life as long as I’ve been without him. The sad thing about this fact is that now every year will be more and more of my life without him.
If I’m honest, I think that I’ve felt like I’ve been without my Dad for longer than it’s been. Generally we don’t remember the first five or so years of our lives so those memories, particularly of my Mum and Dad together, have been taken away through no fault of anyone. Every year that goes by I feel like I forget a little more: the sound of his voice, the way he felt when I hugged him, details and it’s almost like he’s imaginative, a character I made up. This makes me feel sad, angry, guilty…a whole range of emotions.
Luckily, his memory lives on in the conversations I have with Lucas, and will have with Sienna. Lucas would have been his first grandson and my little boy is very aware of his Grandad Chris who we tell him “lives in the stars“. It’s so difficult explaining death to kids so this was how we decided to do it. Being the innocent four year old that he is, sometimes he floors me when he says “I wish I was with Grandad Chris in the stars.” or says “I’d like to play with Grandad Chris“. A lump in my throat forms and I take a moment to compose myself before telling him that I know that Grandad Chris would have loved to have played with him and he doesn’t want to be in the stars because he wouldn’t be able to see anyone else.
No one could never replace my Dad, but I’ve been lucky enough (and unlucky in some ways) to have had people in my life who were father figures and they’ve helped me through a variety of events in my life and given me some great memories. Unfortunately, those two men are not around anymore, sadly one joined my Dad in the stars and the other…well he turned out to be a massive disappointment and not the person I thought he was. The less said about him the better. Not having a father figure in my life does leave a gap but I am fortunate to have a strong, bloody awesome family and I don’t feel like I miss anything by not having a male parent, My lovely Uncle gave me away on our wedding day and I’m forever grateful for that. I just miss my dad as a person and there’s nothing anyone can do about that.
Since my Dad passed away I’ve completed A Levels, been to University and got a degree, passed my driving test (finally!), trained to be a teacher, resigned from being a teacher, had two long term relationships and a few not so long term, met and married my husband and given birth to two beautiful children. All that in itself is a lot of miss out on and it’s not even counting all the birthdays, christmas’ and father’s days. It’s been so long that I don’t know my life any differently and I sometimes wonder what impact my Dad would have had on my adult life. His wife is wonderful with Lucas and Sienna and her love for them is clear which I really appreciate as she is a strong link to my Dad, along with my sister Claire. Step, half or full blood our moto has always been “family is family“. She’s never tried to be my Mum (I have a bloody good one) and she never wanted to be called Grandma or Nana, not that I would have minded if she had because despite not having the title, that is the role she takes and it’s nice for my children to have that link to my Dad’s side of the family when we don’t see the extended family as often.
So today, on the anniversary of the day that my Dad slipped away and went to live in the stars I just want to pay tribute to him. It’s a complete shitter that he was took from us so soon and unable to experience so much of life and the people around him but I know that he would have been rediculously proud of us…although maybe not that I became a Huddersfield Town fan! Ha ha!
Cancer is a f**kwit. It’s evil, unforgiving and unstoppable. I know and have known so many people whose lives have been impacted by it. My Dad’s brother had his life cut short only a few years ago by it and, more recently, it’s reared its head with people I love and care about. I won’t let it win. My Dad’s memory will live on in me, my sister and my gorgeous children and we will keep fighting against it. F U Cancer!
Please feel free to share memories and stories of loved ones that you’ve lost because of cancer. I’d love to read them and help keep their memory alive. Comment below or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.