I remember shouting him. I asked granny where he was. I ran over the back garden to our house. The door was locked. He had to be back over in granny’s house. I remember running back over the garden, in through the house and climbing up the stairs. I tried to open the door. It was locked. He was in there. He would be out in a minute…
I’m not entirely sure how much time passed between that and my next memory of that day. My sister and I were being walked down the stairs by someone taking us to the neighbour’s house. We walked past him on the way. He was lying there with nurses, doctors and some people around him. “What’s wrong with dad?” “He fainted, he’ll be okay”. He hadn’t fainted. He had a clogged artery. The next thing I know I’m crawling through peoples legs going into the room where his coffin was. It was packed. That night when everyone had gone back to their lives I watched my sister kiss his forehead and say goodnight. I held my mum’s hand and I could only say goodnight because at four years old I remember being afraid to touch him.
Something I learned at a very early age is that anyone can die. You don’t have to be 80. You don’t have to be sick. You don’t have to be a bad person. It can happen to anyone and for me, “Anyone” happened to be my dad.
When dad died he took a piece of us all with him. That day people lost a friend, a brother, a son and more than likely an enemy on the football pitch. He left behind a pub, a home and all of his belongings. That day my mum lost her husband and her four young children lost their dad.
I still take pieces of my dad with me everywhere I go – pictures, the teddy he got me, medals, shirts and lots of other things that remind me of him. Things that remind me he’s always there. I love hearing stories about him, I love seeing pictures of him and I always feel him with me when I need him. He left pieces of him with me – his love, his temper and especially his support for Man United. He’ll always be the first star I see in the sky every night. He’ll always be looking after all of us.
Everything changed that day and that day will always be the day that started shaping the person I am. It’s the day that I always go back to. I always try and see what could be done differently and I still think about all the ‘what ifs’. Every year that date will be the date that dad died. Every year that date is just one of the reminders that life isn’t fair and that you don’t get to choose when or how you die. You don’t get to choose what happens to the people you love when you die and you don’t choose what part of them you take with you.
My dad dying has meant that he hasn’t been here to teach me all these “Father-Daughter” lessons. But I learned life lessons far greater than those through his death…
- It’s okay to be happy again and to laugh at memories of him rather than cry.
- It’s okay to fight with your family as long as you make up again.
- It only takes a day for your life to change forever .
- Nothing will ever go back to “normal” when someone dies but it’ll be a crazy, emotional, new “normal” that you experience.
- · If you can get through the death of your dad then you can definitely get over the nail you just broke or the fact that your boyfriend liked another girls picture.