This is my first Father’s Day without my father.
My dad and I had a pretty normal father daughter relationship. I was his “little baby” the youngest of five. I always knew my dad was that little bit older than the rest of my friends dad’s, and the thought had crossed my mind that I may not have him around on my 50th birthday, however nothing can prepare you for when it actually happens.
My father passed away on July 20, 2014, I’ve been spending most of my time thinking about him and the events that led up to that day. I think about the last 25 years, having him in my life and how lucky I am to have seen a man, especially my father, overcome extraordinary obstacles – so many times. He had beaten a heart attack, triple by-pass surgery and a stroke while my mother was going through chemo treatment for breast cancer.
It was that awful disease cancer that took his life at the age of 68. When we found out about the cancer it was too late. It was stage 4 and all the doctor could do was apologise. I was told the news by my sister the day before Christmas Eve. I had just moved to Toronto for work a month previous. All I wanted to do was to go home and make everything better. I believed that if I went home I could somehow cure this and everything would go back to normal, as if we had never received the news before. I honestly believed he was going to be ok, even though friends and family told me otherwise, I didn’t want to listen. This was my father, the strongest man I knew, he had been sick before and he fought through it, just like he always did.
It all happened so quickly. I’m still processing his loss and I’m shocked by all the emotions I’ve been experiencing. I’m definitely not an expert on grief, but I do know there are many phases when losing a loved one. You can be fine one minute then the next it hits you in the face, like a truck. You can’t control it. Being alone can sometimes be the hardest time.
One thing that comforts me now, is knowing I got to spend his last three weeks by his side. He got to see me and he knew I came home for him. He had his whole family around him by his bed side day and night. There was nights where we got no sleep or we slept on the floor of his hospital room. We were all together and I am so grateful for such a big family with older siblings. In the end dad held on for two weeks, when the doctors told us he should have passed long before. That was dad though always a fighter and so stubborn.
He was a very proud man and rightly so, he raised a close knit and hardworking family together with my mum. He would not like to see us upset. He had a saying which he finished off his speech at his 60th birthday with “We aren’t here for a long time we are here for a good time!” Something I try to live by – Happy Father’s Day everyone I hope you get to say it to your own dad in your own way.