It started with what felt like a hole that had suddenly appeared in my heart after being told that my Dad had lung cancer. That hole was made ever larger each time I saw him because with each visit I could see he had become sicker as the cancer slowly sucked the life out of him and at the end of each visit I wondered if that was the last time I would see him as I lived so far away. He never complained about the pain or about the cards he had been dealt although I know he was devastated when he learned that the chemo wasn't working. Every waking moment was filled with thoughts of how much pain was he in or how long before he lost the fight and how difficult would it be to cope with once he was gone.
The fight was lost one year ago today!
I thought that the hardest thing I had ever had to do in my life was sit around the breakfast table and discuss Dad's funeral arrangements - with Dad. But that was nothing compared to how difficult it was to carry his coffin on the day of his funeral. As the service was finally coming to an end and the curtains began to close around his coffin I heard someone yell out in pain. It turned out to be me! I didn't realize it at the time but it was at that moment that the hole in my heart started to close until now it is a crack slowly being stitched by time.
There are still very difficult days when out of the blue the grief hits me like a train that I didn't see coming. I also know that even though I am doing far better than I was a few months ago, an important part of me is missing and I will never get it back and as a result I am not quite the same. I have less patience and I actually feel like a selfish person because despite knowing there are people far worse off than me I will continue to wallow in my own self pity until I am able to snap myself out of it. I miss the person I used to be and I want him back almost as much as I want my Dad back.
A picture of the two of us sits proudly on a piece of furniture in my living room but I still can't look at it for too long because the longer I gaze at it the harder it becomes to understand that he isn't here anymore. For my entire life I always knew that I would find it difficult to come to terms with losing him whenever that time came and now dealing with his death is is just as hard as I always thought it would be. Unfortunately that knowledge has provided very little comfort.
I have cried and I have mourned his passing but I have also celebrated how fortunate I have been to have him as my Father. A true hero is someone who teaches us things like respect, compassion. Someone who can seem so much larger than life when all they are actually doing is just being themselves. My Dad was all of these things and so much more and I feel proud and very lucky to have had a Father who I consider to have been MY hero.
His name was Rex which is Latin for King. No other name could have been more appropriate.
Thank you so much for reading.