My dear son has written this piece about his feelings now, 3 years on, about the loss of his father. His dad, my husband, died suddenly and it has taken time for all of us to come to terms with the loss. Loss of your dad is something that everyone will have to face sooner or later, and I hope that my son’s wise words will be of comfort to everyone who reads them.
There are in a lifetime, simply countless days, moments, minutes, seconds, simple glances, smiles and even silences that all add up to become our catalogue of memories of our relationship with our fathers.
Some are lucky enough to say that when they face the time to say goodbye to their dad, that every moment, minute, every second and every glance between them counted towards something richly rewarding, nurturing, loving and importantly unique between the two of you. Countless moments in life shared between father and son, from which each unique and very special relationship is built.
I can say that.
Yes, indeed I am very, very fortunate. Very fortunate and proud to say that my relationship with my dad was always a happy one. He was consistent, fair but firm, a great mentor, teacher, very practical but also educated and meticulous. A generous, kind-hearted man who always gave me every assistance and encouragement to take all opportunities and to experience everything life has to offer as fully as possible.
I have a great respect for my father developed over nearly 46 years of my life, and an even greater love. I am very fortunate that I had 46 years - many will have much less time.
I have happy childhood memories growing up in the UK and particularly happy memories of my high school years. I learnt a great deal from Dad in this period of my life as I became a teenager, finished school and subsequently had a taste of independence moving into my own first home in London. During the following couple of decades I found myself living and working in Switzerland then Austria and subsequently Sydney, Australia. However the distance only strengthened the relationship.
It only became apparent to me later in life just how much a young boy becoming a man absorbs from his relationship with his father. Not simply practical skills but life skills, emotional strength and attitudes, the basis of your fortitude and indeed some of the foundations of your personality.
We are so profoundly tied to our fathers in so many ways it should not really be a surprise that for many losing your dad can be amongst the hardest of life events. But it was a surprise to me because I wasn’t ready, my dad just died suddenly, unexpectedly and unannounced and it hit me very hard.
Upon reflection I can now share my thoughts about how I have learned to cope with this profound loss. Initially I don’t think I coped very well at all with my loss but given a little time, it’s now been 3 years, I can see how one can benefit from coming to terms with loss from a healthy, positive perspective whenever possible.
By building your unique catalogue of memories and strengthening them each day. By adding to them each day little by little, until, by reflecting, you do not well up in the sadness of the loss but rejoice in the detail and happiness of everything you shared together and everything you learned and became as a result of his influence in your life.
I continue recounting the days, the minutes and the moments in my mind each day, counting and recalling every glance, every smile, each memorable moment. With each photo, each clipping, each quote I find or remember, even mistakes made and every argument.
Every home, holiday, place and every change of place. Every person who relates to him, every connection from anywhere or anyhow and every direction, as long as it brings forth new thoughts of him. Unrelated thoughts and paths are dismissed, no dead ends. All thoughts must resonate with a recall of another moment between Dad and me.
Me and my dad, a massive catalogue of memories now gathered and more easily recalled and fondly remembered.
After all, I am a complex product of my life experience coupled with my wonderful parents who instilled their goals, hopes, dreams, standards, morals, worries and traits into me.
Traits . . . we all have many. We can thank our parents for those initially but later we hopefully learn that with maturity and experience that it’s how we develop them and pay them forward that becomes important. Pass on, use and appreciate, never waste the talents developed from what you are as a result of being your Father’s son.
I am so truly thankful that I am who I am, that my traits, morals and values were distilled from my mum’s and my dad’s.
Nobody can make claim to a complete collection of the most appropriate traits and talents for our modern world. Impossible. . . but what we can do is strive to do our best with what circumstance and luck have given us.
I count myself as one of the incredibly lucky few who can look at that circumstance and honestly say I would never have wished things any other way.
Until he is gone you will possibly not find yourself truly appreciating everything that your father is to you. I’m just so glad to say that I was one of the lucky individuals that never doubted I had a precious and unique bond with my dad that is so hard to explain, so hard to express, and so desperately hard to let go of.
For everyone who feels this loss of a father as much as I do, I hope that by understanding that reflecting on positive emotions and memories, you will begin to rejoice in all that you value, remember and hold dear from that relationship and pass on the best of what you learnt from that relationship to another.
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Make sure there is plenty of space to plant this majestic oak tree. They can grow to 70 feet tall. But what a memorial it would be for a loved one.
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