I will always remember when I was about 14 and like my friends, I had a MySpace account. There was a section titled ‘heroes’ and I wrote “my daddy – because he takes me to football and gigs”. He would always mention it, because it made him smile...
Another personal post tonight and strangely, I found it so easy to write – because although it’s a subject that’s difficult to talk about, it’s one that I love to talk about – even if it makes me feel contemplative, sad or even angry about afterwards. Tomorrow marks a year to the day my dad died.
If you’re a long-term follower of my blog or Twitter/Insta, you’ll know that my family are hugely important to me and my dad was no different. I honestly don’t think anyone really understood our relationship; one minute we could be like the best of friends and the next, totally at each other’s throats. Good traits and bad, I’m very much like him. I have his focus and grammar pedantry, as well as his food/holiday snobbery. We shared a love of football and influenced each other with our choice of music (film, not so much). He was also my blog’s biggest fan.
This past year has been nothing but milestones and on the whole, I think I’ve dealt with them okay. It’s the downtime when I over-think, or small things like a song, somebody on TV or even a photo or memory.
Father’s Day was only two days after the funeral and I think even at that point it hadn’t sunk in. My auntie and uncle were still over from Madrid and we went for a meal at The Viper, one of his favourite pubs. His birthday was July 9th and again, we celebrated with a meal at another of the pubs we frequented a fair bit: The Bell at Horndon-on-the-Hill. I was expecting Christmas to be really difficult, as we are a small family who have always had a traditional Christmas at home. We spent a few days in Madrid and my auntie and uncle made the time so special, it kept my mind off it. New Year was one of the times I got overly emotional – and I really don’t know why. Again, we’ve often spent the last evening of the year together, where we’d have a takeaway and watch a film or play a game before the bongs. I think I was okay most of the evening, it was the countdown that got me. And thankfully, my birthday wasn’t too bad to get through, as I was thoroughly spoilt – but while there were four of us at my birthday meal, it should have been five.
So tomorrow... the final milestone. I booked the day off work because I really didn’t fancy going in. The weather is supposed to be fine, so I will probably spend the day at the Burial Ground and take some lunch with me. I’ve actually not visited for a while, so I have so much to tell him. I’ll also have to get some fresh flowers to put in the pot. I was planning/hoping on getting some plants, but I’m not sure how the plot currently looks.
As time goes by, it does get easier – but the reality recently hit me when I saw the Rio Ferdinand documentary (if you didn’t watch it, I can highly recommend it). Like him, I never really spoke about it much. There are things like going to Barnet which aren’t the same, I don’t enjoy going on my own and the occasions that I have, I have felt anxious. When I have a bad day, I miss his humour. He never really met any of my friends, as they’re all in different circles and locations – and I’ve made some friends since that I wish he could have met. It makes me sad that he never met Ashley. And worst of all, even though my brother and I are now grown up, he won’t watch us progress and ‘properly adult’.
This post is now becoming a jumbled mess of words on a screen, so fairplay if you're still reading. And as I began my post with the introduction of my tribute, it's only fitting I end the same way.
...he complained he wouldn’t be home to watch the FA Cup final with me. So I went to visit and watched it on the tiny TV as I sat beside his bed. It cheered him up no end – but little did I know that would be our final memory. As I left, he kissed me on the cheek and said “I love you princess”. I love you too dad, sleep tight and thank you for being my hero.
Love, Lucy xx