I know my friends, family and people I’ve grown up with have had days like today this year, so I wanted to write to you about mine. It’s been 3 years to the day since I last held my dad’s hand. That thought has pervaded my mind a lot today…whilst I was taking the register or waiting for one of my classes to settle down it came up and punched me in the throat. Coughing it back down wasn’t easy and being the fragrant crier that I am, I’d have much rather have had a sob (I’m not sure it would have done much for my street cred with the kids though).
My dad used to ask me to hold his hand when we crossed the road to protect me right up until I was 16….after that I think it was more for his safety. I’d spent years telling him it was embarrassing or begrudgingly making contact with an elbow if we’d had an argument. The last time I held his hand all I could think about was all the times I’d resented all the hand-holding. I’d have done anything to feel him squeeze back. And so, on the 16th of April, unlike many of the other days each year, disturbing and sad thoughts come to me, uninvited. Today’s not just the 3rd anniversary of dad passing, it’s also the 4th of his terminal diagnosis – I know…a huge bastard. I’d really like to have pulled the duvet over my head this morning and re emerged on the 17th but it’s also been the first day back after the Easter holidays at school – I must have been a massive shit in a past life to deserve this combination. That’s really the kicker with grief, it’s uncontrollable and difficult and you don’t always get to take days off as an adult to deal with it.
The more days, months and years that go by the more we forget the dates of those others have lost. I’ve found myself having forgotten the anniversaries of my friends parents passing. It feels so awful at the time, as you’d love to have been able to give them support. But from the other side, I’m really glad it’s been my piece of information for the day. I deliberately made it so – It’s given me time for quiet reflection with some really beautiful weather. That’s often the blessing the 16th of April bestows upon me.
Whilst I really cannot say enough, how important it is that we talk more about our grief, I take a lot of comfort from privacy. On my way back from my easter break with family, I had a nice long cry along a big expanse of motorway (It’s nice to have an ugly cry without worrying you’re making everyone around you feel helpless/repulsed). Still….I’m trying to strike a healthy balance.
By writing today, I hope I make it clear that once you have been through grief it does change your life beyond repair….but that doesn’t mean it can’t be healed into something just as meaningful and happy as it was before. By confronting the most horrible feelings of guilt and desperation on these days and reaching out to our friends and family we are not only serving ourselves – The conversation spreads. We will all be affected by this at sometime so, if you have been able to listen to someone who has been touched by bereavement, you may be able to forgive yourself on your 16th of Aprils.
Today, I forgive myself for nearly crying in front of year 8’s. I also forgive myself for thinking there would be anything wrong with that. I hope by sharing these bumps in the road, as they come, you find the inspiration to share your struggles with someone else. It’s like that pass on the kind gesture thing…but there’s no free kit-kat attached. So now that I’ve got all of that off my chest and taken a procrastination walk in the sun. I’ve really got to get down to lesson planning. I hope to write more regularly but as has already been the case this year, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I hope this post was of some use to you.
Enjoy the sunshine.