This post is part of the ‘Tales From The Other Side Of …’ series. There are so many stages, achievements, milestones and heartbreaks we go through as parents and whatever we are experiencing, whether good, bad, exciting or terrifying, it’s always nice to know someone else has already done it and come through the other side. To find out how you can get involved and share your story/tips and tricks click here. Today we have the lovely Gemma from Mummy’s Waisted sharing howshe has coped with the loss of her father.
Now I’m not going to lie about it, losing a parent is not great, at any age, whether you’re five or fifty five. But in a way, you can come out of the experience being a better version of yourself.
My dad passed away on the 3rd February 2018, he was 66 and I was 34. He was a 20 a day smoker, so no-one was expecting him to live a long and healthy life. We were lucky in that his ‘being ill’ period was actually quite short, from starting to go for tests between Christmas and New Year 2017 to passing away peacefully six weeks later. Although he hadn’t got the results from various biopsies, I felt in my heart that his time was short, and thankfully managed to visit him for one last time with our children (aged five and 2.5) and also in the hospital with my husband to say goodbye.
Since his passing, it’s not been any easy ride for any of us, but I do feel that I have learnt a lot about myself and have become stronger as a result. It was very hard to take at the time, but I knew that dad had hidden the extent of his illness from us all for a long time. For him, it was so much more important to see his family enjoying our children’s birthdays and Christmas without the niggling worries about them being ‘the last ones’.
That was comforting to me, as I feel that that is how I would like to be in the same situation. He didn’t want a big fuss or drama, and I’m the same. My family’s happiness comes before my own, and I would do anything in my power to protect that. Because of that, we didn’t tell our children that Grandad was really ill until he had passed away; primarily because of their ages but also we didn’t want them to treat him any differently (although we did stop them jumping on him quite so much). The latest Macmillan ad campaign is so true – a Grandad with cancer is still a Grandad.
I’ve not experienced the loss of anyone close to me before, so I did not know how I would react to the conclusion I knew was coming. I’m proud of myself for staying strong, for my husband and children, plus my mum and sister. That strength allowed me to read a poem at the funeral, despite my usual fear at public speaking.
There are some that would say I’ve bottled up my grief, but in fact I can’t be sad at the life that he led. There is not one person who met him that wouldn’t tell you what a caring and lovely man he was, always going out of his way to help others. It’s those moments that make me miss him the most; the fact that my daughter’s bedroom needs decorating – he would have jumped at the chance to come and do the wallpapering; and endless advice about gardening. I’m so pleased that the beautiful flowers that he helped me to buy and plant in the autumn are starting to bloom, it’s a lovely reminder of him.
I don’t think I will ever ‘get over’ the fact that dad is gone; it’s just getting used to a new normality without him. But this event in my life has taught me so much, and I feel that maybe I am a nicer person as a result.
Thank you so much Gemma for sharing your story. I think choosing to focus on the life your father led, rather than the sadness of his passing, is both beautiful and inspiring.
Gemma is a mum to two children and has recently changed career from accountancy to internet marketing. She runs Waist Trainer UK and blogs as Mummy’s Waisted, which features family life and The Busy Mum’s Guide To…..