On some days,
On those days,
On all the days,
I just miss the old days.
It’s been a long time between chats. Six years on the 28th of June to be precise. Six long years that feel like forever.
You have missed so much. Jesse’s 21st, Matthew’s 18th & 21st and of course all the birthdays since and in-between. Both boys have bought and sold several cars and they are well on their way with their future career paths. You would be so proud and interested in all that they are doing. I’ve had three jobs you know nothing about with some funny stories to tell about them all. You would have enjoyed me sharing them with you.
Babies have been born that you won’t get to meet and whom you would have adored.
A few more friends and family have passed away too – as the cycle of life, love and loss continues.
When I think of you it is mostly with a smile and a heart full of gratitude. I focus on what we had and how lucky I was to have had you for 49 of your 75 years. More time than a lot of people get together.
But that is not always so easy. Sometimes I am angry. So bloody angry.
Angry you left us so fast.
Angry that we don’t have you still.
Angry that it has been so long since we talked.
Sad that there will never be a “new” photo of you and me together.
Sad that you will never sit in my family room and have me make you a cup of coffee.
Sad that my seat at family dinners will never again be next to you.
I have conflicted feelings on being with you till the very end, watching you take your last breath.
Was that a privilege? Was that a gift?
Some days it’s neither. Some days it’s anything but. Some days it’s a traumatic event that must be suppressed.
Then, on other days…………….there is longing.
Like on days when I see a handsome, grey haired man wearing a blue flannelette shirt, or a knitted jumper. My heart skips a beat and I find myself swallowing a lump in my throat.
Or, when I see daughters with their aging Dad’s attending medical appointments together. On those days my tears are usually impossible to hide and I think of all the time we spent together in hospital waiting rooms. The best of times shared during the worst of times. To be able to laugh and find the humour in such situations you think would be hard but we did easily. Oh, how we laughed together.
Those days………………there is immense gratitude.
Dad, we are yet to get back to your beloved Isle of Wight thanks to a virus called COVID19. The world and how we live is certainly quite different since you left it. Because of this virus we missed Uncle Andy’s 85th birthday and the chance to visit you and your “tree”. I feel quite panicked about not being able to get back to you. I know you would find that, “absolutely bloody ridiculous”. I’m smiling because I can hear you saying that, but that is how I feel.
The pull to the IOW for me is strong, almost magnetic. I think about going there all the time. The family connections that bind me to you are there and how I miss the Milligan/Turner/Russell clans. The IOW is so well represented in my house now – you’d love it. From photos, paintings and prints of the island to trinkets of yours now treasured by me. All meaningful little things that keep my connection to you in a tangible way. Even the annual IOW calendar you always looked forward to receiving now comes to me thanks to Ann and Uncle Andy.
I have started painting by numbers like you once enjoyed. Uncle Andy thinks it is cheating but I have to say I am enjoying it. I found a picture of an IOW field covered in bluebells and got it printed onto a canvas. With my music playing in the background, sometimes your Johnny Cash songs, and away from phones and devices I think I truly relax as I concentrate on painting over those tiny numbers. It is yet another way of feeling close to you.
No days ever go by without thoughts of you but I have grown around my grief. I have learnt to walk around the big hole you left and the pain in my heart is not always as sharp as it was the day you died. But, make no mistake, my life is divided into before and after you died. And life before was infinitely better. You were the glue that held our family of four together and as time has passed the three of us left do not navigate too well together without you at the helm.
Death ended your life but not our relationship and my irreplaceable person you forever remain.
I will continue to feel angry and grateful. The two are not mutually exclusive. That is grief. Love with nowhere to go.
And, on some days, those days and all the days………….I miss the old days.
Until we meet again.
Love Lory xx