As I approach the third anniversary of my father’s death I feel despite everything the ground beneath me disappeared for a while. In fact this week feels like the hardest and I have yet to get through the day itself.

It has been a while since I have felt so melancholy and sad like this so much so that I am struggling to snap out of it though I know I will. This year so many things have been positively uplifting and I have had more days of feeling I am close to being at peace with my loss. However, the fall is higher  when it does happen and that is probably why I feel like this month couldn’t end soon enough for me.

I am beginning to realise the depth of my connection with my father. We live through so many changes as not one moment can be the same as the next yet the one constant love in my life was that of my father since I was born. The light of his presence never flickered he was always there looking out of me no matter what. He understood my heart and I realise now that what I had with him I will never ever have with another human being.

My father is irreplaceable nothing and nobody can fill the big void left in my soul. Not even God.

My father was 95 when he passed. He was incredibly independent until the age of 92 so I only became his carer/ daughter for the last 2.5 years of his life. What I miss now is all the years he and I had when he was my soul mate, my buddy, my teacher and  my companion. We were on the same wave length on many subjects yet we were very different also. That said if I was the apple of his eye he was my hero nothing ever came between us that’s how strong we were.

I have been thinking how to mark the third anniversary but I felt out of source of late. I have kept myself busy as I knew I would struggle a little this month with it being Christmas, then the anniversary and what follows is the reflection before the new year comes in.

My energy levels are so depleted I am as a close friend said running on empty so I am keeping my head down and keeping things low key. I have invited my closest friends who are the closest to being my own family. Together we will have tea and we will remember the happy times we all had with my father as he had a special bond with each of us.

This journey is a mix of inner growth I know how much I have learnt about my own strength and resilience and how much I value the beauty I am surrounded by. Yet it can be equally emotionally exhausting. It is so tiring at times that I just go into self preservation mode I pull the shutters down and wait until I am ready to face the world.

To help me through Christmas I kind of had a plan to get by. It is said that when we know we are about to hit turbulence it is helpful if possible to plan the day in advance. On Christmas day I decided I would spend the day delivering hampers and visiting the over 90s in my neighbourhood who are housebound and have no visitors. They thought I was doing them a favour in fact they were doing me a huge favour by allowing me to enter their lives and home for that hour. I went, I engaged and I learnt about their individual strengths and hardship. I came away feeling what I was doing as a volunteer was a mere drop in the ocean and how glad I was that I was there for my father when he needed a hand for the last lap of his life . I realised how much there is to learn from our senior citizens who have been through the war and have worked so hard all their lives to provide for their family yet in their last days they are so alone and often next door to us but we hardly know they are there. It does not reflect well on us as a society if we have older people in our neighbourhood who are frail and vulnerable without any visitors to share their Christmas day with. In fact it is a shameful fact of today’s life which we need to remedy. I am not saying this to cover myself in glory I am merely pointing out an issue which is close to my heart.  Why are we not empowering the elderly to thrive and have a decent quality of life?  if we live long enough we may face the same!

The second thing I did to get by was to read Sian Williams book called ‘Rise’. She is a well known television journalist and in her book she talks about the deep inner growth that happens from adversity as she came to terms with cancer. The book is a magnificent tool box for anyone going through a personal crisis. For me it was reassuring to know after reading this book that I was doing all the right things and I was on track yet why does the ground beneath me disappear but I guess this too is part of the journey.

I know I am not done and I probably will never be done with missing my father and missing the love we shared. And I won’t apologise for that either.

My best friend said the other day that happy memories are like gold dust amidst life’s challenges and that is so true. It is the gold dust that gives us purpose and meaning. The love we receive from those closest to us should never be underestimated it is the gold dust we will miss when we part company and it is the memories of those happy times that becomes our life line to keep us going when the going gets tough.

Having got through Christmas day my next challenge in two days is my father’s anniversary. For this day the plan is fluid I will do what I can to get through with the help of some kind friends. I have not been able to plan this day with any great detail. I am wise enough to know that sometimes I just have to let it be and let go of planning and resisting.

To conclude this missive I come out of this three year personal journey of mine bruised, washed and battered yet strong and determined. Nothing will phase me as I know I have my father’s invincible spirit and appreciation of life. This life is a gift we are here to grow and make this world a better place. Our individual contribution no matter how small can make a difference to us and to those around us. I don’t know about tomorrow but I am grateful about yesterday and today.

If you are reading this and are on your own challenging journey may you have the strength to keep going. Don’t compromise just be yourself and respect yourself the rest will come together. Peace be with you.

29.12.16 DMP Copyright.