Sunday, 19 August 2012

Waiting for Daddy to Come Home

As I have mentioned before, I didn't start to miss my Dad until over a year after the accident. For a long time, I didn't realise that it was okay not to miss both of them at once. Whenever I was upset about the death of my sister I said, "I miss Louise and Daddy." Professionals always lumped them together, which just made me feel like I was bad because I didn't miss Daddy.
Daddy with Louise

The reality is that I never miss them both at the same time. There are periods of my life when I miss Daddy most, and periods when I miss Louise. Times spent grieving for Daddy will be interspersed with days of desperately missing Louise, and vice-versa, but I never cry for them both at once. They are separate, and that is okay. Who I miss most depends upon what is happening in my life at the time, who's absence is asserting itself most overpoweringly.

In the first year or so after the accident, I spent most of the time trying to find a way to stitch my world back together after the section containing Louise had been so violently ripped away. As my identical twin sister, her death was all-encompassing- it swallowed me whole. I couldn't contemplate existing without her,  so I got through each moment by refusing to look at the bigger picture of what I has lost.

Daddy used to work long hours, and often got home after we had gone to bed. Sometimes he would get back in time, and we would run to him as he came through the door. One of my happiest memories is of him crouched down in the hall hugging me. I loved the smell of his aftershave. It smelt of safety and love and home.

After the accident I felt like he was still at work. I used to sit in Louise's bedroom (it became mine after she died, but I always thought of it as her's) and wait for him to come home. I wasn't sad, I didn't miss him. I used to feel upset about Louise, but not him. When he didn't come I just though, 'Never mind, maybe he'll be home in time tomorrow." It wasn't until we moved in with my step dad in our new house in Yorkshire that it really hit me: Daddy was never coming home.
Daddy with Louise (right) and me

I think partly I didn't miss him for so long because he was such a constant part of my life, parents are the solid foundations that hold up the world. When he was gone everything came crashing down on top of me, I felt like I was suffocating under the rubble which crushed me. I had needed time to deal with the immediate, instant loss of Louise before I started to process the removal of Daddy. He was at work a lot, but we saw him in the mornings before he went, and every second at weekends was magical. In my eyes he was perfect, and as my father he offered a steady source of protection and comfort. Without him, my safe little world was gone.

In some senses I find life without Daddy even harder to comprehend than life without Louise. There are so many times when I need him to help me, when I desperately need his advice or for him to come and save me. I still feel like I'm waiting for him to come back for me, to protect me from the things in the world that I don't want to see. Maybe that is the hardest thing about him dying: learning to survive in a world where I need him with the knowledge that he will never come. The smell of his aftershave is gone.

On the other hand, there are times when I am glad that he died. As you have probably noticed, I refer to him either as my dad or Daddy. Never Dad. He died when I was five, I will always remember him from the viewpoint of a little girl. He is perfect, the most amazing man I have ever met. He died before I went through the 'stroppy teenage' phase, so I never said anything to him that I regret or that wasn't true. He died when I was young enough that I only have happy memories of him.
Daddy, Mum and Dan on his christening day

Knowing that I have to live the rest of my life and that he won't see it is hard. On my wedding day there will be nobody to give me away. If I have children he will never meet them. My GCSE results come out next week, and I want so badly to tell him about them. I want him to hug me and tell me he is proud of me. I don't know what will be inside my envelope, but I can tell you that Daddy won't come.

1 comment:

  1. Life is full of so many odd ironies. Daddy once said in a partners' meeting at work (when the others were complaining that they didn't earn enough money) that he had all the riches he needed - rich in the love of his wife and his three beautiful children. At home, Daddy would tell me that all he wanted in life was to live long enough to see our children grow up. He used to say it with such fear, as if he really believed that he might not. I miss him, but my biggest sadness comes from you and Dan having to grow up without him and also because he has missed out on the many great joys of being a parent. His absence on Thursday when you get your results will be one of those occasions. And I can make the usual platitudes and tell you that Daddy would be proud of you but I know that it's no comfort. I guess that's one advantage Daddy had by dying when you were still young - at that age, a parent can make the world right again and so he never let you down or found himself unable to make it better. There's a lot to be said for that and for that and that alone, I sometimes envy him!Mum xxxxx