In the 16 days since my Dad died, so much has happened in the world. So much that he won’t ever know and all I want to do is talk to him about it all, hear his opinion. I was in Foyles today and saw three books I want to recommend to him. I watched Springwatch last week and picked up my phone to tell him about a nature webcam they recommended. I will never see him laugh at Alan Partridge again, or swear at bad drivers, or play fight with his dogs, or do any of the multitude of things he was made of.
I can’t tell him things anymore, so all of my thoughts just sit in my head, nowhere to release them to. It’s one of the many things that I am struggling with in the wake of his unexpected death. The 30+ years that I have had with my Dad have just not been enough. I still have so much I want to talk to him about. It’s absurd.
His 2016 was 3 months spent in ICU, then a respiratory ward, a month or so at home, and then back into a cardiac unit. His second stay was supposedly for something relatively easy to fix, and that’s what we were waiting for. Things were so ‘easy’ that my Dad insisted that Husband and I went on holiday – I jokingly requested that he put any drama on hold for the week that we were away, and he promised that he would because there was no drama to be had.
My Mum and I had been to visit him in the afternoon. He was grumpy, eating his lunch, talking to me all about the Monaco Grand Prix. Standard Dad behaviour. I went home, out to dinner at the in-laws, and that’s where I got the phone call that he was dying. I still don’t really understand what happened, and I need to find out more, but there’s time for that. He died in hospital which was not how he wanted to die. Not how I wanted him to die.
At his Humanist funeral yesterday, the celebrant (who was wonderful) said that there has never been anyone like him, and there will never again be anyone like him. Not to go all “everyone is a special unique snowflake”, but I feel that way about our relationship as well. No one is really able to understand what I’ve lost because no one else had the same relationship. My Dad was my Dad – he meant something different to my brother, my Mum, my husband, my sister-in-law. And I’m certainly not saying that they’re not hurting as much as I am because I know they are, but it’s just different.
The thought that keeps me awake at night at the moment is that I will never again get to make him laugh. It was one of my biggest joys – that my Dad thought I was funny. He didn’t get to laugh much at all in the last month of his life and that is such a crime. His huge booming laugh, the tears that streamed down his face with hysteria, the infectious and mischievous giggling that got higher and higher in pitch. The warmth that came from his laughter. I am overwhelmed to the point of breathlessness at the thought of not feeling that warmth again.
I wasn’t ready for him to not be here. I don’t think I ever will be ready. I just still have so much I want to talk to him about.
I didn’t realise this until he’d gone.