We Give You a Year


Losing anyone, is painful. Losing a parent, especially at a young age, is devastating. The summer I lost my Father, I somehow, packed my things and headed back to University. It was not something I necessarily wanted to do, I just did not know what else to do. I couldn’t be in the same house as my Mother at that time, and in a sense, I needed to run into a brick wall.

The first couple of days of school, things seemed to be going around me, but I wasn’t really there. I still had no feelings, in the true sense. I wasn’t crying all the time, nor was I overly emotional. I was either happy, or just bland. I was sharing a flat with a roommate, and had friends living 2 floors down. These years were supposed to be memorable, fun, exciting, and full of life. I just seemed to dread each day. As I began to suffer days of agoraphobia,  my roommates boyfriend stepped in, we were all pretty good friends, he looked at me and said ” We have all been talking, we will give you a year to grieve, that should be plenty of time to get it out of your system.”

I turned to him and laughed, uncontrollably. At first, I thought he was joking, but he was serious. Our group of friends had talked about my “condition” at great lengths. I was to be given a year of strange behaviour, and then, I couldn’t use the “grief” card.

It was the oddest, and probably the most insensitive thing anyone could have said to me at that stage, or any stage. Grief never really leaves you, especially a death in which changed the course of your life. When my Grandmother, and Grandfather died, I grieved, but my life didn’t change. I didn’t wake up needed to call them and ask for their opinion. I didn’t have long standing ice cream dates with my grandparents.

As my year quickly came to an end, and I spent the one year anniversary of my Father’s death sitting at his grave. I was nowhere near close to grieving, or finishing grieving.

Fast forward 10 years, and there I was, planning my wedding. My Mother never dreamed of my wedding, we actually never talked about it. My Father on the other hand, wanted to walk me down the aisle in full kilt, to bagpipes, and wanted our Father/Daugher dance to be to a John Denver song. He often talked about me getting married, and giving him grandchildren. As I sat there, looking at my invitations, grief struck, a pain so great I was paralysed by it. I couldn’t believe, my Father would not be walking me down the aisle. It was a surreal moment, I thought back to the ass who told me they would give me a year to grieve, and I began to laugh. Grief comes in waves, it never really leaves you. A parent is not supposed to die before all your major milestones, they are supposed to grow old, and leave this world having done everything, and met everyone in your life.

To this day, I grieve, I grieved the day I found out I was pregnant, because the first person I wanted to call, was my Father. I was elated and then struck by grief the day my son was born, because my Father, who had bought a christening gown for his future grandchildren when I was 12, was never going to hold his grandson. Every major moment in my life, I have a missing person, he might be my angel, but I only see him in my dreams, I can’t hug him or call him.

For all of those people, who have never grieved, and don’t understand. You simply can’t understand, but know, there is not a set time on grief. Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. People like me, never really stop grieving, the loss was so great, that every once in a while, I sit and shed tears for my Father.

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