A Moment

We are left walking around, feeling like an alien visiting a new planet, trying to make sense of the new world without the one we loved in it. Wondering if the pieces left crushed and broken will ever feel whole again. 

What’s in a moment. What feelings happen within one single moment. What changes can occur? I used to read a phrase that was often on social media “Be thankful for today, because in one moment, your entire life could change” I used to read it and honestly I never sat there and thought, “oh wow that’s so true” and then made a huge effort to change how I did things that day. I used to read it, feel the words for a few seconds at the most, and then go about things as normal. But it’s true, that saying is so true. That one moment, that one change can completely stir your entire universe as you once knew it. And that change is permeant, you can’t reverse it, you can’t chase it to bring it back. You lose someone you love so dearly, and everything is reshaped forever and right then in that very moment, we are left walking around, feeling like an alien visiting a new planet, trying to make sense of the new world without the one we loved in it. Wondering if the pieces left crushed and broken will ever feel whole again. 

The saddest truth to it all is that you won’t ever feel whole again, that’s impossible. How can the loss of someone so so incredibly precious to you leave you feeling the same as you did when they were once there. In some cases with death, you may have had those times like I was lucky to have, to say goodbye, to say those final words, to embrace that one last hug. And for others of you, you may feel cheated from that chance that felt ripped away so cruelly, so quickly, never getting to have those final farewells. 

Every death has its own story, its own journey. There are so many last moments that you and I both share now, as equals. So many of those complex, mazed emotions that we now can both relate to. And suddenly that phrase that we see so often, that one simple phrase becomes our story, it becomes a part of us, a lesson that you and I feel so deeply. 

Within my new chapter now without my Dad, and others I have lost who are also so precious to me I notice more and more the void that has been left now without them, especially my Dad. No birthday will ever be the same, no Christmas will ever be the same, no wedding, no birth of a new family member, nothing we ever do now, moving forward within this new part of our lives will ever be the same. And wow, that’s a hard reality to swallow, the ache I feel within my heart whenever I think about this, whenever I let it sink in, that reality is almost so painful that it feels unbearable. I guess I just always expected for every special moment that would take place within my life, that it would be shared with all those special people that I love, I just always thought my Dad would be there, I never saw it any other way. And its such an obvious absence isn’t it. You have to force yourself to come to terms that whenever you have these special moments that the structure that you all use to fall into so easily just doesn’t fit anymore. It just isn’t the same anymore. You feel as though the family, the circle, your safe place has been totally and ferociously shattered. None of you know how to be anymore when that absence is just so blankly obvious. 

It’s so hard to find that braveness inside you, to find that new motivation to begin to re-sketch a new life. You have to dig deep within, to find that joy, the joy in the celebrations where you feel those you loved should be, you feel they had the right to be. Your family now has to adjust to new roles. You need to find that new normal within you all, each stepping up to new challenges, new expectations. I never fully contemplated what would happen “after”. I always felt because of how perfectly we all fitted together, and how our family felt so incredibly strong as a whole that it wouldn’t change us. I’d never considered how the 5 of us would be effected within the normal rhythm of our family once our Dad had gone. I knew that inevitably we were losing Dad and I couldn’t control that, but I never realised we’d lose that unit, that feeling of being whole, the impact on our family circle was something I just never prepared for. We all needed to learn how to be again, as a family, with such a huge part missing, and that is so hard. 

But there is one thing I can say from this all is how much more you treasure those little moments and the big ones too. One of us is often there saying ‘Dad would love this” and that makes me take a second to absorb that few seconds reminding me of how truly lucky I still am, we all are. Yes life is so different now, and yes it is extremely hard, but how blessed I am to of had the chance to make those moments to remember with you, those moments to remember with one another and those moments that we are continuing to make. Notice them, it all can change so quickly. 

A section from the book “The Gift” 

The gift of the story you never got to write.

Stare up to the stary sky, watch the sparkle shine from within the stars. Take a deep breath, feel that breath. Feel that gratitude for all the memories and moments you’ve been able to make with those you love most. The earth is a magical place ….if you take time to notice. 

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  1. Ruby
    May 10, 2020

    So beautiful again Phoebe, every time I read your blog my breath catches in my throat for a second and my eyes begin to fill.
    I really resonate with this post. The birth of Mabel and the whole pregnancy leading up to the moment I met her was filled with thoughts of how my dad would have reacted, what would he have said when I found out I was pregnant, that I was having a girl, what words of wisdom would he have passed onto Lee? – a nervous dad-to-be expecting a girl (in my dads shoes 30 years on) and now – everyday, every moment shared with Mabel that he has lost out on.
    Losing dad has thrown in my face in the cruellest was how to cherish every moment with my little family.

  2. celia d
    May 11, 2020

    Another insightful eloquent message Phoebe, mAde me think of my Dad’s passing 27 years ago this month, I was your age, two young kids, and it happened in a heartbeat, totally unexpectedly. This post, in particular, has really resonated with me and cast me back to that time to revisit the memory, sadness, gifts and lessons learnt.
    This is a huge gift Phoebe, from you to your readers, thankyou from the bottom of my heart.

  3. Susan
    May 11, 2020

    Again so real Phoebe. The experiences you express so authentically draw us together, death and grief is part of life and your writing and sharing encourages normality around it, which in turn brings peace, deepest gratitude and love to you 🙏🏼

  4. Charlotte
    May 16, 2020

    Thank you for putting feelings into words and creating a space with such honest understanding of the human experience. ‘Feeling like an alien visiting a new planet’, this couldn’t be more accurate. I don’t doubt you’ll be helping so many with your writing.

  5. Niamh Gale
    May 17, 2020

    Such a beautiful piece. Powerful words written with love and Openness xx


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