I haven’t posted a blog in a while, the last one was before Christmas. It has been a very busy few weeks, as I recovered from a month of illness and generally lots going off in life. I decided to put myself first, all of my writing has been just for me, to cope.
I do not like this time of year. January 13 is the anniversary of the death of my Dad. This year is the fifth anniversary and it has been weighing heavily on my mind the last few days. It feels so long ago that I last spoke to him, yet that dreadful day is also so vivid in my mind, that it feels so recent. I’m not even going to pretend I’m doing ok – five years seems to be hitting hard for this date. This week for me is about getting it done, doing what I need to do and looking after myself. I’ll regroup next week!
I think my Dad was a great guy. At his funeral, we had 300 people turn out and I like to think that is good measure of who he was. The last time I spoke to him was New Years day 2018, it was one of those conversation that was nothing special. We were all ill, so it was a conversation to cancel dinner plans for that day. I often replay that conversation in my mind. I’d say it has also changed my life. It reminds me to never put things off. If there’s something I need to say, something I want to do or indeed somewhere I want to visit, I just do it. That is what I take away from my final conversation with my Dad. You do not know how long you have left.
What have you achieved today? This could be the last day of your life.
I’ve learned not to put things off, and I always try to say the things that I need to say. Its not easy, but its my life, my way.
I wish I could give great advice on how to handle a loss and bounce back quickly, but from my experience that just is not possible. I strongly believe that bottling things up does not work. We have a range of emotions, and I simply have to let them happen. 13 January is just a date on the calendar, not one I celebrate, as it’s the anniversary of loss. But I choose to remember who he was.
Andrew Stevens taught me so much. He taught me the pursuit of happiness in life is paramount. Dad taught me the joy of exploring and travels. He told me to be who I want to be and not let anyone direct my life. Five years ago I lost him, but these messages carry strong with me today. I get asked what prompted me to do work in mental health and positive wellbeing, it is because of him. Its not because I lost him, is because he gave me the strength and skills to be me. He taught me that just being myself is enough.
I gain so much inspiration from my Mum and her support. None of this was easy for her, she is the strongest person I’ve ever met. Her experience of this loss has been immense and difficult. I know she feels his absence every day. We talk often of positive memories, the things he enjoyed and what he might think about situations in life.
I do know this much: he would be happy I’ve started a new job and I think he would be proud of the person I’ve become. I miss him loads, that won’t change.
We do not know what the future holds, we may only have a day left or we might have many decades ahead of us. I want to remind you, one last time to live for now. Say it, do it, visit it.