Saying goodbye to dad’s house.
I write today’s special blog post with the recent and now familiar feeling of wet tears streaming down my cheeks, underneath my glasses, falling into my lap as I say goodbye to the end of a beautiful era and another milestone in the death of my wonderful, special and loving Dad.
This is the first time I have been able to write about my dad and my loss but feel today is the day. I am now comfortable to share my experience despite my continuing grief.
This milestone today, I am reluctant to let go of, but know to move forward that is exactly what I need to do. Grieve the loss, walk straight through the middle of the pain and the uncomfortableness and continue with one foot in front of the other.
Today I am one more footstep through my journey in grief and it is a long winding journey with many peaks and troughs and surprise emotions popping up all over the place waiting to be acknowledged.
My beautiful dad, my most favourite person in my world passed away seven months ago tomorrow and the deep sorrow and grief that this has caused is difficult to comprehend and harder to explain. I often still feel like it is all surreal as I contemplate my now new reality without him in my life.
For two months I looked at his funeral card with teary eyes every day and could still not come to terms with the fact that it was my dad in the photo, not my dad. At seven months it still sits by my bed but I have an acceptance at some level of the significance and meaning of the card.
If you are lucky like me, my dad was loving, kind, generous, fair, funny, fun, family driven and my rock in this world. He was my go to person when I needed advice or someone to talk to.
I am blessed to say that my dad to me was perfect. He never ever let me down, he was always there and always consistent. He always allowed me to be just me. He never judged me and instead he lifted me up when I needed it and continually believed in me.
Just by being the person he was, he role modelled to me love, loyalty and respect and in his own unique way he was able to instil his family values in all of his family in a natural and fulfilling way.
Events and milestones
When we lose someone special we have a myriad of events and milestones in the journey through the grief and the times that follow.
The date of his death will now forever mark my calendar as the day my beautiful Dad died. Giving me new anniversaries to mourn or celebrate depending on how I move through my grief. This day has now changed my life forever.
The first event, the funeral was a chaotic emotionally intense filled week. I have learnt that planning a funeral can be like planning a wedding but with only a week to do it in. There is so much to do and even though this was almost a welcome distraction from my grief at such an early stage the stress it created nearly tipped me over the edge.
The funeral day itself I was overwrought with emotion at the loss and overwhelmed at just trying to get through the day whilst hanging onto every minute and worrying I would forget something. I felt like I was carrying my emotions around wrapped in a soft rug close to my heart, they were so tender, so vulnerable and I felt so raw and exposed.
Next was the reading of the will and the logistics around that entire legal mind field that requires urgent attention by someone and in my case that was primarily me, adding additional stress on top of an already emotionally fragile soul.
From there I remember the first family dinner, when the emptiness that sat deep in my gut, bubbled up to overflow through my eyes as I come to realise that the familiar chair at the end of the table will never again be filled by the one person that for ever in my memories and lifetimes had occupied it.
I came to comprehend that I will never hear the laughter that I looked forward to so much, or the customary words or sayings that were so familiar and so him.
I would never again watch him get animated as he talked about his life passions, trips and family stories, that could entertain me for hours, just bathing in his happiness and infectious nature.
I accepted I would never walk into his house again and see him at the hotplates whipping up a risotto Milanese or a polenta in a special pot that my grandfather made with his own hands in northern Italy, near the Austrian border in the early 1900’s.
I would never play a game of backgammon, cards or scrabble with him and watch him laugh almost uncontrollably across the table as I would try so hard to joke with him about his cards or that I was better than him at the game if I won the hand, which I rarely did.
Harder than that though, I would never again hear him say “I love you”, and knowing that he loved me probably more than anyone else ever would or ever will.
He was the one who from the moment I opened my little eyes in this world straight from the womb, smiled his smile and I knew I was loved and welcomed into the world and his arms for my entire life..
Today as a family we went to dads house and had a picnic in his much loved home of 30 years with no furniture as tomorrow is settlement day.
Only seven months after his death his house is sold. The house that my sisters and I spent many many fun filled loving times in, where we received so many loving hugs and felt utterly safe, will no longer be a physical place of comfort and love that we can visit.
We will need to revert to our memories and our hearts to feel the safety and the love the house represented and Dad provided.
We left our keys and slowly and sadly closed the door of our safety nest for the very last time, today, the day to say Goodbye to his house had arrived.
After all the family left I remained, I sat in the driveway and accessed my emotions on how I truly felt. I felt ok, but I felt sad.
Deep below the okayness was a bigger sadness that wanted to be acknowledged. Of course it did it was thirty years’ worth of memories, plus I had lived there for ten years. Giving myself permission to seek out my feelings, I could suddenly feel a sense of loss so huge welling up inside me, and out it came. More tears.
After the tears
The tears which I had become accustomed to of late, came hard and fast and then they cleared, the sadness for now had abated.
As I sit here now I understand that I will never hear him say “I love you” again, and that hurts. I do know however I was very loved and that I will always feel his love in my heart.
As my lovely sister once said and I echo this statement, “I will not always remember everything that he did or said but I will always remember how he made me feel”. And he always made me feel so unbelievably loved.
Once the tears clear the sadness, the love and the gratitude flow in. The aftermath of the tearfest is a pure, light, warm and loving sense of how much I was loved in this world and in turn how much love I have to give.
I have a gratitude for being blessed with such an amazing father to live my live with. I have an appreciation for all that he taught me and all that he gave to me. I have thankfulness for all the beautiful memories we created that remain in my heart. I have gladness that he has allowed me to access my vulnerability and my sensitive soul through my grief. I have absolute pleasure that he was my dad and he loved me.
I know there will be more tears but more now I am basking in the aftermath of feeling my feelings and shedding my tears at another big milestone passed, because, allowing myself to walk straight through the middle of the pain of grief takes me to what is waiting on the other side which is the gratitude, joy and love for the person that I love, and for that, all the tears in the world are worth it.
Dad, thank you for being my dad, I was so very lucky to know you, I love you to the moon and back. You are forever in my heart filling it up with love and happiness. Rest safely till I see you again. xx Your darling daughter Lara
With Pink love, thanks and respect Lara and the two cute puppos Suzy and Chelsea. xx
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