Life After Losing My Dad


I was 18 when I lost my Dad to bowel and secondary lung cancer; he was only 47. Fresh out of college after leaving to look after my dad, I was left to fend in adult world alone, with my older sister only aged 21. The past two years of my life had seemed like a whirlwind. My dad had only just begun to see what adult life had in store for me when he only knew I’d been given a job as a trainee dental nurse, however he never got to see my first day.

I start this post two years into my dental nurse course.

I continued my journey into dental nursing and for the first time in five years my life is actually somewhat stable. I can say that I am doing okay, my job’s lovely, I’ve made some amazing friends who love hearing my funny stories, the interesting ones too.

My sister and I have a really close bond and I’m really enjoying that and there’s a lot of positives happening right now. This is where I become frustrated because of all the good things happening I wish my dad was here to see. These are all of the things my dad told me would happen. The fact of the matter is I’ll never be over the death of my dad, because no matter how good my life is going I’ll never wake up one day and say “hey dad, I’m doing good” because I’d actually want to tell him what’s going on, and there I am, back at the start of the grieving cycle.

I’d want to hear what he’d have to say about my life, maybe even tell me about myself a little. His opinion was and always will be the only thing that matters.

As my life continued a year later meant I had to deal with the first of many things without him, our first father’s day, his first birthday without him, mine and my sister’s birthdays and of course Christmas and new year. It literally feels like one thing after another, I didn’t even have time to sit down and actually comprehend everything that’s happened.

I don’t feel normal and I don’t feel like I’ve cried like other people have, what’s wrong with me? Did he really prepare me that well that I am maybe okay with him not being here or am I just completely avoiding the whole subject and choosing not to feel these emotions, I’m frightened for when it will actually hit me or will it ever?

It did, seven days before my nineteenth birthday. I was having a really shitty time, I had a full time job and I was getting through day to day life through the skin of my teeth. It seemed that I could go for days sometimes weeks even, and feel okayish. Then suddenly without any trigger I’d become overwhelmed with sadness and it ruined my whole day, I was unable to work, speak or even function. On days like these I would mainly sleep off my sadness as fatigue over rules all, some days even now I’ll sit and cry for hours. I know I can accept the fact he’s no longer with me but being able but being able to function without him is what I’m struggling with. Now I’m not sure if that makes any sense but I don’t know what else to do. I’m not really one for sitting down and talking about my feelings. So this is a big step for me.

Does it ever get better?

The answer is yes, it does get better. You won’t notice it though, I’m currently two years after my dad’s death and coming to the end of my dental nursing training. Ziggy is now two years old, and as crazy as ever (typical cocker spaniel) Family drifted back into their own lives and those who stayed close are my saviours, although there are very few. I am pretty content and confident that my dad would proud of all I have achieved so far in my life. I find it fascinating that if you stop constantly watching everything happening to you and just live for the moment.

Looking back I don’t know whether it was because I was young and young people tend to make thousands of mistakes but I realize that I was incredibly lucky to have a dad who was so wise and managed to give the greatest advice when he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.

In my long 20 years of life I learnt some words of wisdom that I honestly believe I wouldn’t have found anywhere else. Like most teenagers I openly admit that I genuinely believed I knew everything, I very quickly learned I didn’t and never will. I found that now I no longer had my father to help guide me I had to start making my own decisions, in enough time to ensure that I didn’t make any drastic mistakes.

I hope that if you are reading this and are or have gone through a similar situation to myself, firstly god bless you and secondly make sure you listen to your parents whether you agree or not, you don’t even have to be in your teenage years, just please listen to them. I can assure you one day you’ll want that advice, and you’re going to want to remember it word for word.

I write this as an acknowledged lesson learnt and an appreciation post for everything our parents do, because you only realise when it’s a little too late.

Not only had I started to acknowledge my appreciation for my father’s handy work in my life, I also started to realise the reality of adult life. The reality that was changing everything over into mine and my sister’s name, notifying a hell of a lot of people of his death, replaying those moments over and over. Bringing up a new puppy (Ziggy) which he met once, starting my new job as a dental nurse without a good luck text from Dad, the list goes on.

Unfortunately the honest truth from this situation is that I’ve just learned to deal with it, I cannot spend my life dwelling on the simple fact I cannot change any of it. I can only go with the days I have, and make the best out of what I have left.