“I probably wouldn’t mind if he died” – I said one night as I was on a date getting to know a guy that would eventually become a 2 year boyfriend- I really did think that. When I said the words out loud I meant them. They weren’t said through hatred or resentment. It was just something I was resigned to. How could you mourn a man you never really knew? Distant memories of one fatal swimming lesson, a Boyzone album and a McDonalds Happy Meal does not a father make. So why would I be sad if he died? It’d be no different to a celebrity dying, whilst it was sad en masse, it didn’t make me sad and hell I saw any celebrity more than I saw my Dad.
Then a week passed and it happened.
Sadness is a weird thing, it can grip you from a thousand directions but grief is a different kind of sadness, and its one I can’t even put down in words, because like love I’m positive we all experience it differently. Grief for someone you love is hard, it’s choking and smothering, or at least that’s how I felt when my Nan passed away. I loved my nan, so when she died I was consumed with regret over things unsaid and actions never done, I was riddled with memories of happy times and tears over the potential future memories that were never made. But when my Dad died, that was a different kind of sadness all over again. I was told on Facebook, yep, Facebook Messenger at that. My half sister who I have never met messaged me with the following:
“hey emmm i have some bad news and i know its not the way to tell you on fb but dads dead he died a few hours ago granny phoned and let me know and shes gonna keep me updated on wen the funerel xxxxxxx”
So like that at 21:25 on the 23rd May 2011 I found out that my dad had died.
Today marks what would’ve been (I believe) his 47th birthday – and every year I’m surprised of how it makes me feel. I don’t talk about it much, it’s not a fun conversation and I pride myself on trying to be a fun person. I’m also a strong person – I think, and don’t like to really talk about all the confusion that surrounds anything to do with my “dad”. Are you a dad if you’re never there? And loads of peoples Dad’s die, so what makes me or my story special?
I’m sad that the last things I ever said to him were that he was a let down (it’s true but it still bothers me), I’m sad for everything he could’ve been, I’m sad for everything we could’ve been. I’m sad that I was his daughter and probably have the least memories out of everyone that knew him. I’m sad that I get sad over someone I didn’t really know.
But I’m not angry any more, and that’s the important part. I’m not angry he let my mum down, I’m not angry he let me down and I’m not angry he let himself down.
I’m sad that I never got to say Happy Birthday Dad, because he never let him be that person.