TRIGGER WARNING – loss of parent/family member, Fathers Day, grief/mourning, emotional trauma.
This time of year is generally a bit shit for me. For the past few years, I’ve not had my biological Dad in my life. For reasons unknown to me, he’s chosen not to keep me as a part of his life. This was a gradual thing, slowly happening until it culminated in me calling him out on it some 3 years ago (via Twitter, something that I’m not proud of but these things happen) which led to him completely excommunicating me. Before this, we only spoke on Birthdays and Christmases. It felt like we were just keeping up appearances.
During the time we’ve not been in contact with each other, my Grandpa died. He didn’t tell me, and I found out by Googling my Grandpa’s name in order to find his address to send him a card over Christmas last year. He died a year previous. I’ll never forgive him for taking away the opportunity to say goodbye and pay my respects.
Fathers Day, and the weeks leading up to it, are a constant reminder of the above two facts. I become grumpy, a bit withdrawn and a bit teary. Shops are filled with banners and displays about saying thanks to the Worlds Best Dad and for people like me who don’t talk to their biological Fathers, who may have lost their Fathers or who have never known their Fathers these things can really take their emotional toll on you. With my Grandpa dying (my Father’s Father), I can only imagine how difficult this day could also be for my Father.
I am lucky, however, to have an amazing Stepdad. Andy is and has been a mentor, a saviour and an inspiration. He has helped me emotionally, financially and physically through some of my darkest times, and celebrated with me through my achievements. I am extremely, extremely lucky to have him, and I thank my lucky stars that he’s here filling that gap my Biological Father left. I of course take this time of year to thank him and let him know just how appreciated he is.
Many Mothers do the role of both parents – I like to call these SuperMums! They will be your Mother figure whilst doing all the typical male roles that might be needed – whether that’s being your protector, your sports coach, your mentor or your muscle. SuperMums should be celebrated every day of the year, but those who have them choose to thank them on both Mothers and Fathers Days because if you’re a double life bad ass, wouldn’t you want two days in your name too?!
Some people aren’t as lucky as those with SuperMums or Father Figures in their lives. I need to ask you all for a favour. If you have a friend who has lost their Dad or who no longer has a Father Figure in their life, or maybe they never have, just keep an eye out for them. Ask them if they are alright, spend a bit more time with them, talk to them and just be there for them. This time of year is tough.
If you’ve experienced the loss of a parent, there are a number of places and organisations that can help. The NHS Choices service has this article on Dealing with Loss, and there are organisations such as Cruse Bereavement Care (0844 477 9400) and The Samaritans (0845 790 9090) who can help you. My comment box is also always open, if you need a chat.