6 Years gone
The 31st of August is the day my dad died, this year it's been 6 years since we last held his hand and told him we loved him. He had been unwell for what felt like a lifetime, and one of the last things I said to him was that it was ok to let go and die. It was one of the hardest things I've ever said to anyone and it really wasn't ok, but I knew his death was coming and I wanted him to know we'd be ok.
Are we ok though? The world feels so different now, there was no Brexit, #metoo, Fake news, and Alt-right. On the flip side, when he died we had one son not two, a grandson he never got to meet and love as much as my Mum does. We've also gained a Nephew and his beautiful family since then.
Both of those pieces I find hard to read, and they still ring true for me, he's with me, I think of him most days, I can hear his laugh, his tut. I hear his laugh coming out of me at times, something that stops me in my tracks, it's a good and bad thing.
I'm constantly reminded that grief is not a straight line, recently in the kitchen at work I was speaking to a woman about death, her Dad had just died. It felt really lovely to share with her what I'd gone through, and what my family had gone through. Listening to how much her Dad had meant to her, and what they had shared really struck me. At the same time, I felt the usual bullshit in my head stopping me from getting too emotional, as we all know that us men need to keep such crazy emotions in check and suck it up. (There's a wee bit of sarcasm there).
My Dad's death certificate confirms he died from a tumour in his liver, and that's true. His death was also caused by poor mental health, that's something I believe runs deep in our family. Do we as a family talk about poor mental health? do we seek ways to help each other? I'd like to say yes, but the truth is we're typically Scottish and need to get better at being honest with each other. It's one of the reasons I run, there's something about being outside and focused on one particular thing, perhaps it's also the silence and no one speaking to you or asking you questions that allows your mind to wander and to take in the beauty of your surroundings. The photo at the top of this piece is from tonight's run down Cramond. I feel running helps my mental health, and I think about my Dad when I run. I've been aware of my family's poor mental health for a long time, and always thought I need to take steps to avoid becoming like my Dad. As much as I loved him, he held too much in, took too much of the burden on himself and failed to ask for help when it could have made a difference to him. I never really saw him cry, even when he must have been in a lot of pain he was stoic.
I loved my Dad, and I wish with every fibre in my body that he was still here, my heart aches to think of all he's missed, I wish I could hear him and speak with him one more time. I want to tell him how brilliant his Grandsons are, how resilient my mum has been, and wish he was still here to help bring my Brother back into the family.
He's not here though, he's gone. We will carry on and we will be ok.