Turning Loss Into a Positive

It’s 14 years since my dad died. He passed away at home 10 months after being diagnosed with cancer. He was misdiagnosed as having IBS for over a year before that. By the time the doctors found out it was too late. I was  20 and midway through a degree. I was devastated and crippled by the shock and grief. I was in a bad place mentally and physically for around 2 years.

I felt angry at the doctor who misdiagnosed him for years – a natural part of the stages of grief. Angry for a long time about lots of things 

…but eventually I let go of the angry emotion and was able to start a process which helped me turn my life from a negative to a positive. 

This is the first year I have not thought about my dad and his death every day on the lead up to the anniversary of his death. Some say time heals. I don’t think it heals, you just eventually learn to live with the grief. Your life (eventually) moves on along its own journey. Whether allow yourself to sink or swim is your own personal battle.

I still shed tears. And often when I hear a solo pianist playing it makes me cry, as memories flood back of my dad practising on his baby grand piano at home every Saturday and Sunday morning for my whole life with him.

The loss of losing my dad before I had even turned 21 has brought moments of sadness to many wonderful events in my life I have experienced – my graduations, my degree exhibition, my engagement, the birth of my two children and my first published articles as a journalist (he was a musician and writer) to name a few.

Beyond the joy of these fantastic experiences in my life, I always wish he had been there to share it with, to be there by my mums side -looking on feeling proud of me and sharing in the joy.

I have a tear in my eye at every wedding I go to when the father walks the daughter down the aisle and when he gives his speech as I think of my own dad and how it would have been to have him share that special day with me.

But I take something positive from having such a huge loss in my life at a young, pivotal age. 

It has left me with the knowledge that life is not a dress rehearsal. You must enjoy each day as if it is your last and really appreciate the smallest things that bring you joy – the vibrancy of each day, colours and sounds, laughter, the touch and love of family members, spending time with friends – the list is so endless of the things I feel grateful for every day.

I tell my children and hubby I love them countless times each day and show them in acts of love and kindness. I hold my babies close and savour every moment I have with them. Life is an incredible gift and should be treated as such and enjoyed. 

My dad had great plans for his retirement. He never made it that far. He was 52. 

I hope to pass on to my kids a get up and go attitude – don’t keep putting things off – that day might never come. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t rely on luck  – opportunities happen when you create situations for yourself and work at it. Believe in yourself and let your light shine. 

Carpe diem dad. Your memory lives on. Xxx

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