Everything changes when you lose the man that’s meant to see you off on the day of your wedding or simply pick you up when you’re down. A piece of you is taken with them when they go, and it’s an irreplaceable space that remains in the pit of your stomach long after they’ve passed.
Life without a father figure goes on, of course. You go to university or you try for that job. You build relationships and friendships with people they’ve never met. And you live everyday even better than when they were here because you’ve become harshly aware of how short life can be.
You follow in their footsteps or you create a path you envision them seeing. You think of them on big birthdays, when you finally get that job, and when you build the life you always discussed with them.
Life’s predictable trait of throwing a spanner in the works only prolongs the hurt. You long for comfort. You long for words of knowledge and understanding.
You search for advice in the form of a red robin perching on a hedge or the car they used to drive braking in front of you. You look for signs that somewhere, they are communicating all the love you shared. You search high and low to find a piece of comfort that says they are still there.
They naturally come up in conversation. Whether it’s a nostalgic feeling when you return to an old favorite spot or retelling the memories and tales that caused laughter and moments of happiness.
Sunny days bring back times spent in parks and on beaches. Rainy days bring back memories of hot meals shared and meaningful conversations had.
And sometimes, you can be driving along or washing the dishes, and suddenly you’re overcome with emotion. For a split second you forget that they aren’t here. It may have been a couple of months or five years, yet the realization will still come crashing down as harshly as it did that day.
Every now and then, your heart bruisingly aches for them to come back for just one day. To see that smile once more, and keep the sound of their laughter with you for the rest of your days. It’s a frustration that can never be tamed, and maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe you will wish they were here every single day. And maybe that’s okay.