Dear Dad… It’s been four years without you

Dear Dad,

Four years, how has it been four years since you died?

Four years since I last saw your face.

Four years since I held your hand.

Four years since our family, the six of us, sat for our very final time feeling whole, feeling like us, the us that felt invincible, unbreakable, the us that felt like with love alone it could last for eternity.

I never understood the enormity of your death until you were gone. We thought we were prepared, we chatted, we’d even chosen a coffin whilst we journeyed end of life care for seven weeks together. You wanted a plain carboard box, you didn’t see the need in a fancy coffin, so many inappropriate deathy jokes were made between us all but eventually when we took it for what it was we all settled on an eco-coffin covered in images of the sea; your favourite place to be, the ocean, the water, it bought you peace like no other and let’s not forget you strictly telling us that we were to continue those sea experiences in your absence by getting what you called “sandy toes” …..I truly hope you’ve travelled everywhere with us these last four years.

Since you’ve been gone so much has changed, the worlds almost unrecognisable in so many ways from when you were here and the absence of your presence is most definitely what has altered more than you can imagine for us all….You have two new Grandchildren and another on the way in the spring. It hurts mine and Murray’s hearts as your children to know how you would have adored all of our children. There would have been so many precious memories made and it seems stolen from us and them to have never had that chance with you like we did. To feel the love we felt, to explore with curiosity like you did, to travel, to learn, to share, it’s something we wish for them whenever you enter our thoughts and it’s hard to ever feel any acceptance of that unreachable future with you.

Leo misses you; he misses you so much. It’s hard at times to see him sad when he speaks of you and how it makes him feel but I know it’s something I want to encourage as the thought of him ever forgetting how much you loved him and he loved you is almost as unbearable as your absence. The three years you shared together were nothing but magical to witness, your little Lion you called him on the day you first met him in the hospital, your reason to fight a little bit harder, your reason to stay as long as your human body would let you. You both were a gift to one another that could only be appreciated when seen, it was truly special.

Mum’s still heartbroken without you, we all are. I don’t think any of us understood how much this would hurt still years on. Memories flood my mind around your anniversary of so many brutally hard times during your end of life care journey but equally there are moments of beautiful memories too. Some of these flashbacks fill me with a deep, deep pain, a grief that words could never describe, but some make me smile, some make me laugh inside and when I do find myself trapped in the moments of the darker times I hear your voice instantly speaking words of wisdom or comfort and pulling me out of the dark like you have done the whole of my life.

I’ve tried so hard to find a purpose in my grief since you left. The gap you have left has altered my being completely and how could it not when so much love is present the loss is huge. You see Dad, you did so much to inspire and see others that to not carry on and do the same in your legacy felt like a whole new loss entirley. That’s why I now lead my life the way I do, the writing, the coaching, the retreats, to try and give a little of what you gave so many, what you gave our family, what you gave me, back to others. That feeling of soul encompassing love no matter what the story, that feeling of safety no matter how scared another could be. You showed up for every single person you knew and that for me is one of the biggest gifts you could have ever left me. The ability to see another on a level that’s beyond human consciousness, the gift to hold compassion rather than judgment to people walking their path and the courage to speak freely and openly about my pain and struggles so I could help others feel less alone in theirs- I’m grateful for it everyday, the gift of you, the essence that remains in everything I now do, the way I choose to live, everything changed this day four years ago and parts of that I hold gratitude for as you have made me who I am today, your loss, your lessons, your love, makes me who I am and that’s something I could never wish away.

Every single life you touched now carries a part of you, a part of your beautiful heart and we are forever grateful for that journey with you. We all wish it had been longer, we wish it every day, but we will never lose sight of what really matters above all else and that is the gift of you, Simon Gale, an incredible man with an incredible story and a gift to see people like no other.

I love you, Dad, here’s to you, always x

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