A couple of weeks ago - 16 March - was the anniversary. THE ANNIVERSARY. Of my dad's death. And it's a weird one these days. 12 years on, I know that people think I'm flogging a dead horse - or a dead dad I suppose. After all, it was aggggges ago. And, besides, I must be getting over it by now. And people die every day, Debbie. An ex-employer said that to me when I was annoyed at being phoned while at my mum's new partner's funeral about a fucking internal communications pitch. Christ, it's hard to give a rat's ass about that stuff when you're not at the graveside of someone while watching your ma grieve all over again.
And I must confess that even I feel like there's nothing else to say. He died. So what? It happens to a lot of people. Losing a parent I mean. Not death itself. Death happens to all of us. Apart from me. I'm a special snowflake.
Maybe I have finally moved into a new phase of grief. I went to a bereavement counsellor in the immediate aftermath. I don't remember much of what they said. But they definitely drew a diagram illustrating the stages of grief. I think I was stuck in denial for about three years, and am slowly coming to the end of anger (after a mere eight years - totally normal I'd say). Which brings me to what? Acceptance?
Well, I don't have much fucking choice do I? The worst thing about grief, the very very worst thing about it, in among the pain and the loneliness and the guilt and the horror is the powerlessness. It's one of the very few situations in your life where there is literally nothing you can do. Nothing. At all. Where there's life there's hope you see. Where someone is still breathing you can try to change whatever situation you're in with them. And even if you fall out with someone, or your lover leaves you or someone cheats on you or whatever emotional pain is happening... even if you never see that person again, you know they're still out there, breathing, somewhere. And there's always the chance that, one day, reconciliation will happen. But death. It's just so bloody final isn't it?
And I simultaneously love and hate the fact that I dream about dad so often. Hate it because it makes it extra difficult the next day. Love it because I get to see him. I dream about him so often - partly, I think, down to the drugs - that it doesn't seem like 12 years since I spoke to him.
I'm coming up to the age when he had his first heart attack. Now there's a sobering thought. I'm almost 37. He was 39. No age at all. And that's when everything changed really. Nothing was ever secure again after that. And he must have felt like me - no age at all. It's hard to even absorb the fact that you're pushing 40, without your fucking heart giving up on you out of nowhere.
During my recent short story class it became clear that everything I started to write was bound up with death, killing, futility, nihilism. All the fun stuff. I think maybe I need to get it all out of me in one big, FUN book and then I'll be able to write something else.
I might get that lady who hates my uncheerful blog to give it a read over for me. See what she thinks.
Yeah, there was no point to this post. Except, death is a fucking suckfest and it totally changes your life. Makes your emotions ricochet like a pinball machine and leaves everything looking relatively pointless.
And nothing I can ever write would ever sum up how it feels to have lost my dad. He was an excellent, hilarious, kind, stroppy, loving, impatient person and I miss him every single day. And I don't care if my repeated tributes, mentions or moanings about it are boring. It was true 12 years ago. It's true today. And I daresay it'll be true until the day I join him.