No clichés, my dad died 5 years ago and I need to talk about it.

On the morning of the 1st of January 2011 my dad, at 48 years old had a seizure, caused by a meningitis infection he had contracted some 3 or 4 days previously. He was taken into hospital that morning.

This was also my mothers birthday.

Over the next two tumultuous months my dad was moved between two hospitals, where after weeks of terror and hope, he tragically passed away on March 10th 2011.

Although my dad stopped physically living on the 1oth of March, I can honestly say that the man I knew as my father left us on that new years morning. He made some amazing attempts at recovery and for a while we thought he would be coming home. Although I refused to acknowledge it at the time, if my father had come home he would have been severely disabled due to the massive damage such a severe disease causes to the brain. Stephen Reay tried so hard to get back to my family and I but unfortunately, that was a fight he ultimately lost.

I have dealt with my grief in numerous ways over the past 5 years and gone through changes in my life that have each been effected differently by the loss of my father. As I’m sure anyone who has lost their parent young can tell you, the dull ache never truly leaves, it just plods along with you every day. Yet, it isn’t all doom and gloom and the feeling is sometimes temporarily muted when you’re at your happiest, experiencing the life your parent would have absolutely wanted you to lead with or without them. Sometimes it isn’t always clear that you’re grieving, I often find myself hysterical over some nonsensical melodrama in my life, and it will suddenly occur to me hours, weeks or months later that perhaps my real issue was something far deeper that I am still too scared to recognise.

However, one continuous pattern that I have come to notice every year since my dads death is a shift in my mood during the two and a bit months he was in hospital. For that time, my normal life was twisted into constant hospital trips and terror while pretending to everyone including myself, that my life was normal and that I was fine. My absolute refusal to acknowledge this huge thing that had irrevocably changed my life forever has become a habit of my grief, one that has sheltered me but also shackled me down. Writing this blog is in some way an attempt at purging myself of this pattern. Or perhaps embracing it?

For January through to March, a fog descends on me. True, I have never really enjoyed these cold post-christmas months but this is different. Every year I am thrown back in time. Each day I’ll remember what we (My mum, two brothers and I) were doing that day, it can be something like whether I went to see him in the hospital or whether we thought he was doing better or not. I will sit reminiscing without even noticing, more vividly and more accurately than I do throughout the rest of the year.

I would like to go through the motions of these months. I am going to write down what I remember, if anything, and see what happens. I am hoping that by writing down my thoughts and reflections on myself and my grief and the universality of loss, I can appease this constant nagging cloud. Perhaps my subconscious is telling me to properly deal with my grief, or perhaps it is an indication of my readiness to continue living happily with my fathers memory alongside me, always. Could be both!

Tomorrow I will start with probably my most easily recalled memory, the morning of January 1st, where I woke up (hungover) to the sound of my mums screeches.

Ramble over. Purging begins.