Life after Bobby: the first six months

Today it is six months since Dad died. I can’t quite believe it, one minute it feels like yesterday and the next like it was years ago, six of the longest and shortest months of my life. Time is a funny old thing, especially where grief and loss are involved. To mark the occasion this morning I went for a dawn walk down Meadfoot Beach, one of Dad’s favourite places, and I was there enjoying the view thinking of him at the time he left us.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about Dad and loss and grief this week. When Dad first died I started making a list of the things that I’d have liked to share with him, I don’t keep up with it these days and in a way that feels like less pressure. Some days I still catch myself saying ‘Must ring Dad later and tell him about that’ or ‘Wonder what Dad will say about how I should fix X or Y’, it happens less often but it’s like the new neural pathways aren’t worn in enough yet for it to be default. One thing I’m confident about though is that Dad would be proud of us as a family, and particularly of my Mum, for how she is handling life.

I think my Mum is the living definition of resilience at the moment. The thing I think he’d be most proud of is how naturally she has taken to her newest acquisition – an iPad mini. My Dad was a bit of a technology fiend, or would have been if he could have afforded it. He used to love Tomorrow’s World and was a sucker for a new gadget! I remember him coming home pleased as punch with a CD player when they were very first released. Of course he could only afford one CD to play on it for months, but it was the feeling of being ahead of the game that counted for him. I’d held out from buying an ipad mini for the best part of a year (I’m not so interested in being cool obviously), I was waiting for v2 to be released but decided to stop waiting last month! As soon as Mum saw mine she was smitten, and less than a week later she had her own. She’s busy listening to her choir music on it, emailing, shopping, banking and kindling and touch typing like a digital native. Every time I see her use it I feel proud, and get a warm fuzzy glow just thinking of what Dad would say.

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It’s not all been plain sailing though, especially the last couple of weeks. Yesterday, we had to have Dilys, my parent’s gorgeous, dignified, graceful and beautiful cat put to sleep. The vet said something rather lovely about Dad wanting his cat back, it made me shed a tear at the time (don’t worry it was a Cheryl Cole one) but it was such a comforting idea! Dilys knew when Dad was dying, she wouldn’t leave his bed the night before and last week she’d started sleeping in the room that he’d died in. We tried everything to get her to eat but in the end she decided herself that enough was enough. I watched on in awe as my Mum dealt with yet another loss with such dignity and resilience.

Since Dad died I’ve been trying to rebalance my own priorities in life. My ‘Work Less, Live More‘ board on Pinterest now has 45 things on it; I’ve only crossed one thing off so far (to watch a live Cross Country Ski race) but there are a glut of things that should get crossed off in the next month! Mum was always complaining to Dad that despite years of serving in the Army Cadet Force he never once took her camping, not properly under canvas. So next month we’re righting that wrong and my Mum, sister, my two nieces and I are going glamping! I can’t wait, I’m sure there will be lots of laughs, reminiscing, new memories formed and no doubt one or two crossed words, but I’m really looking forward to it. I also have a couple of birthday treats planned, more on those in due course.

So, it’s six whole months post-Bobby, life isn’t the same, the Dad shaped hole is still very rough around the edges, but I do think it’s getting easier with the passing of time. Like one of those pebbles down at Meadfoot this morning, the constant rhythms of life washing over us is gradually smoothing the jagged hurty spikey bits away.

Here’s to the next six months of building new memories and remembering the old ones.

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