I know this is primarily a book blog but I hope you will indulge me in posting about the loss of my boyfriends Dad who sadly passed away on 6 April this year. Tuesday would be his birthday and I guess with that approaching I am feeling his loss even more. It is more of a personal post and a bit of therapy so you may wish to stop reading now....you have been warned haha.
Isnt it strange how time can seem to go so quickly, yet also feel so slow. It is 22 weeks tomorrow since John passed away, and in some ways it feels like forever ago, but yet it feels like only yesterday since I saw him last, and was asking Simon about him.
This time 22 weeks ago I was delighted that I had managed to get out of bed and see him for the first time in 4 months. I was planning to go back the next day and spend some more time with him. I had no idea that at Sunday lunchtime I would get a call telling me he was gone. I was up late and didnt go to sleep until the early hours. That haunts me every Saturday night now, that as I was drifting off to sleep, he has losing his. Its a horrible feeling that I hope in time will get better.
I hadnt seen John for 4 months as I had been in bed ill, but something pushed me out of my pit to go and see him that Saturday, and I will always be glad that I did. I was petrified leaving the house about whether I would feel well enough etc, but I just wanted to see him. I had the loveliest time, albeit a short time with him. We had a laugh, he was relaxed and seemed happy, and ironically, seemed better and healthier looking than I had seen him in at least a year. His son and daughter arrived so I decided to leave them together as a family. However, I was determined to go back the next day, but sadly it wasnt to be. I had no idea that when leaving I was saying bye for the final time. Infact I didnt even say goodbye, it was more of a see you soon. Would I have acted differently had I known? I have pondered that, and no. It was how it had always been between us.
I have been with Simon for almost 11 years and known his father for 9 of those. As with most people, I was petrified of meeting my Boyfriends Dad. Would he approve of me? would I be good enough for his son? But I needn't have worried, he never once appeared to judge me or disapprove. What he actually thought I will never know, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed his company, and he seemed to enjoy being around me as well. He was very funny, even when he didn't mean to be haha. There was nothing pretentious about him, what you saw is what you got.
I met Simon at football. We were both die hard fans. Simon and his Dad had travelled up and down the country every Saturday for years following Wimbledon and you could clearly see the love between them, and the enjoyment of being in eachothers company. I feel quite honoured to have become part of that, and towards the last couple of years as his health deteriorated and he stopped going I missed him being there. When Simon was away I went with him and few times, and have memories that will have me laughing forever.
John was an integral part of my relationship with Simon. Most weekends after football we would go out for dinner with him, or go to the cinema, or just get a takeaway and hangout with him at home with a DVD. It was always relaxed and happy. I never felt ill at ease with him, and never stuck for something to talk about. He was a very interesting man, and we could always talk about all manner of stuff, particularly football, or aviation, particularly once Simon trained as a pilot....that gave us many jokes, usually as Simons expense :-) I loved how I was always welcome up at the house, perhaps because I would make him lots of tea and wash up haha. But in seriousness John, you never once made me feel in the way or unwelcome.
It's even sadder that, having been ill myself, I missed out on spending time with him over the last few months of his life. I do, and will miss the times with him, checking that he is ok, and even nagging Simon about him (yes, I do nag haha). I wish I could go back in time and fix that.
Grief is a funny thing in that it tests people and relationships like nothing else. It is extremely powerful in either bringing people together, or pulling them apart. Everyone grieves differently, and you never know how you will be affected until it happens to you. I always thought I would be supportive and know what to do if someone close to me was bereaved. Not at all....the complete opposite! His loss has blown everything I thought I knew out of the water. I havent been the supportive person I would like to have been to Simon, and I have been hurt by some of the things that have been said to me by people I thought I was close to, or should I say I thought knew me, and understood me. Time will tell if any of it is salvagable. But the one thing I am sure of is how I felt about John, and nothing can take that away from me.
It has been a very hard time for his family. But it has also been a very hard time for me.Nothing in comparison to their loss, I know. I have found that I have no one to share my grief with, or to talk to about him, and share anecdotes. It has been very lonely and I feel like I havent had the chance to express what he meant to me. I used to post on his wall on Facebook, or email him, but I can understand why that would be inappropriate, or not acceptable. Not being able to go and see him has left me a bit in limbo....
It has also bought my losses to the surface. I miss my Aunt and my Nan every single day. I love them with all my heart and always will. Losing John has made me realise that I havent yet come to terms with their deaths, even though they were years ago.
I have had to hold in all my grief. One because it has not been appropriate for me to show it and be sad when it was his family who were going through the loss, and I needed to let them grieve. But also because I have perfected wearing a mask to cover how I feel. I dont like people to see me as vulnerable or anything other than bubbly and nonchalant. I bought A Chorus Line last week. I will always remember him by it. Sitting there insisting I watch it because he couldnt believe I had never seen it. I cant bring myself to watch it now, but one day I will.
I am also growing pansy seeds that were given out at his funeral. I used to share progress by posting a photo on Facebook, but know that caused distress to his family so have stopped. When they bloom (hopefully) I will bring you one. This is how they are doing now:
I am taking this as a chance to let it out, pay tribute to you John and I suppose say goodbye. You have been a very important man in my life the last few years. I can honestly say I loved you and enjoyed our time together. You are a very special man and irreplaceable. Thank you for your friendship and all the laughs.
You were the epitome of family, you were the glue that held the family together and I loved that everything you did was for them. You adored them, and they you, and you will always live on through them. I know you will be delighted with how close they have become. There is nothing more important in life than family and they are irreplaceable, Thank you for making me feel part of that family. It was very special to me.
I will always see your cheeky grin, your sense of humour, the way we could tease Simon, but equally your naivety and the way we could tease you and wind you up too. One day he may get a hat eh Johnny.
You will always be Johnny Boy, who never said goodbye, but would leave you with a cheerio, bye for now, or see you n on. So, this isnt really goodbye John, more of a cheerio.
Rest in peace and thank you for all the happy memories.
Oh and happy birthday. I know you love cake so here you go, this is for Tuesday.