Yesterday I should have been celebrating. I published my second book. Emilee. However at 7:20 am, I got a text from my step-sister asking me to call her, telling me it was important. I’m sure I must’ve known what she was going to say, we never speak on the phone, and yet nothing went through my head at the time.
No one wants to hear the words “I’m sorry to have to tell you but …”.
The majority of us (I believe) spend most of our adult life actively avoiding any thoughts of our parents dying, it being too big an emotional deal for us to cope with. For me, it was the opposite. I’ve spent years imagining how I would react, how I would cope, knowing that the first solid contact I would have, would be because of this. In recent months, my thoughts have crescendoed to the point where it became part of the story I wrote. As the words fell out of my fingers, it wasn’t Emilee who was stood in front of the casket as it disappeared behind the velvet curtain, it was me. It wasn’t her who flashed back to her early childhood, it was me.
And now it’s happened. Did I know? Did I have an inexplicable sense of what was about to take place? Even my dreams about him have escalated in recent times.
The messages of sympathy and condolences have poured in. I should find them comforting but I don’t. I feel guilty. Like a fraud. Because I didn’t go and see my dad. Because I couldn’t get over (or around) the person that he was. … A good person at heart but someone who just wasn’t that great at parenting. Someone who communicated at his best by shouting, and bullying. Someone who liked his whiskey too much even if it meant the rest of his family suffered. The person who gave up trying and let me go.
I’m jealous, of the people who got to see another side to him. A better side. Was I just not good enough to be allowed that?
I’M SO ANGRY RIGHT NOW.
This is supposed to be the time when I look back and see our time together through rose-tinted glasses and I can’t! My brain is scrambling to find enough memories to assemble just something that didn’t involve me being screamed at, or being told I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t trying hard enough. I’m glad you found those better times eventually, I just wish …. some of them could have been with me.
I’m feeling everything and nothing, all at the same time, the result is a weird numb paralysis. I don’t know what else to do but write.
I DON’T WANT TO LOVE YOU AS MUCH AS I DO. ALWAYS HAVE.
I want to go back to being 5 years old and I want you to make it all ok Dad! But you can’t. And now you never will.
I DON’T WANT TO MISS YOU LIKE I DO. ALWAYS HAVE DONE.
I don’t even have any proper photos of him. Nothing tangible to hold, or smell, or feel. It’s almost like you didn’t exist, and you did because there is this massive dark black hole in my heart that I have been trying to fill since the age of 15. And it never goes away.
I really want to run away right now … to anywhere, to everywhere, to nowhere … away from myself.
Maybe I’ll bring you back. I’m a writer. I can create any world I want to. I just would rather not be in the real one right now. I need someone to stop the ride so I can get off.