On the 17th October 2001, my Dad passed away.
Although each anniversary of his death is difficult, this year is particularly hard. 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. What’s ever more sad is that everyone has a cancer story these days, it affects far too many people and that makes me quite angry.
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. 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. Then I tell him that I know that Grandad Chris would have loved to have played with him. That 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. 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. I am fortunate to have a strong, bloody awesome family.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. I’ve passed my driving test (finally!). Trained to be a teacher and resigned from that career. I heldtwo long term relationships and a few not so long term. I met and married my husband and gave 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. I sometimes wonder what impact my Dad would have had on my adult life. His wife is wonderful with Lucas and Sienna. 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. I wouldn’t have minded if she had. Despite not having the title, that is the role she takes. It’s nice for my children to have that link to my Dad’s side of the family.
So today, on the anniversary my Dad’s death. The day he 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. He was unable to experience so much of life and the people around him. 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. Too many people with a cancer story who should have one. My Dad’s brother had his life cut short only a few years ago by it. 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. We will keep fighting against it. F U Cancer!
Please feel free to share memories or your cancer story of loved ones that you’ve lost. I’d love to read them and help keep their memory alive. Comment below or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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