Having lost my Dad – my hero – has now meant my journey through life has a tear through it.
I am now the before and after of myself.
Before – when I had my Dad around.
Before – when we’d Facetime every single day and cheekily gang up on Mom – who doesn’t understand the nuances of subtle sarcasm and dry English humour.
Before, when anything that caught my attention, made me laugh or was something I was questioning; my automatic response was to hit “Dad” on my phone contacts and talk to him; sometimes just for a moment “Haha – you dickhead!” Dad would laugh and hang up, leaving me smiling and shaking my head in amusement…or sometimes for hours when the Philosopher in me met with the Philosopher in Dad and together we’d “unpack” ideas and come up with plans, share stories and debate morals and values.
Before…when I could hear Dad singing along to his favourite songs on the radio in his deep, gruff voice.
After being tossed and turned in the 80-foot wave that suddenly appeared and changed the landscape of everything I thought I knew into one of swirling sand, rough seas and struggling for breath I wasn’t even sure I wanted to take.
After…when I hated the sun for daring to rise when only hours before, my Dad had been torn from life. I couldn’t believe people still went to work that day. I was so angry and dismayed that bins got collected, cafes opened, people strolled in parks or swam in beaches. People everywhere going about their days – unaware that the entire world was…without.
How could this be? Didn’t they know? Wasn’t the world told? My Dad just died!!! How was everything ok???
After...when I’d ring Dad anyway…crying from the depths of my soul at his familiar voicemail greeting “Hello…this is Gerry Daniels from Scarborough painting. I’m not available just now, but if you would please leave your name and number, I shall endeavour to return your call…*shuffling noises* um…how do I turn this thing off?”
After…when I’d look with a broken heart at all the photos I have of my Dad, and rifle gently through the letters he’s written me over the years; crying because his dear face and scraggly handwriting are so familiar and yet, I’ll never see Dad’s face again in my lifetime. I’ll never get another silly card in the post from him again. I wish I’d kept more of them, I really do.
After…when certain smells…these unsuspecting wafts of scents belonging to faded memories would hit my brain like hammers, sending me spiraling into a dark abyss of pain that felt like my bones were being twisted. Paint tins, Old spice,worn leather seats, Guinness, meat pies, sun cream…all of these were innocent at one time, but now, all had sharp edges… punching painful holes between my ribs and my heart.
There is only before and after now.
Oh Shoot. It’s taken me this long to realise I haven’t answered the “prompt” yet.
How has losing my Dad changed my perspective?
It’s split me into the girl before…and the emptier version after.
That’s the effect losing a parent has had on me.
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