Take me back to the start, the start of it all, the start of this journey when you were still here, the time I could see you, the time I could hug you tight in my arms, take me back….
Somebody said something to me the other day, and it really hit home….
“Everyone will have a last day with you”
Those words, as soon as they were spoken, felt like taking a bullet. Everyone will have a last day…. the last moment, the last kiss, the last I love you, the last hug, the last exchange of words, the last everything, and as painful as my last day was with my dad, it’s a day I would re-live over and over again every single day if it meant I had just one more chance to be with him again. To just sit in that moment and take in every single detail, knowing it was to be our last moment, it’s something I long for.
My mind wanders to this day frequently, it’s strange because it’s a day I remember the most detail from. I didn’t even know it would be my dad’s last day, but somehow my soul must have known because the things I remember are immense. They replay in my memory in the times I miss him most, the songs, the words spoken, even what I ate.
I remember saying goodnight that night. I remember looking at my dad’s face, he looked so peaceful, so still. I looked at all his freckles, smiling to myself because as a child I always thought he was just really tanned, when in fact it was just thousands of tiny freckles joined together, giving him his beautiful glow that I loved so much. I remember seeing how skinny he had become, evidence of the battle he had endured for the last seven weeks, his cheekbones, his eyes, every bone was so obvious, but still cloaked with his beautiful freckly skin.
I kissed his head that evening, with the biggest lump in my throat. To see him this way broke me beyond belief, it was agonising, to watch the strongest man I knew in the world lay there so, so weak. I remember the warmth from his skin, I remember stroking his hand as I went to leave and whispering “I love you Dad, have a peaceful sleep” I never said I’ll see you in the morning, and at the time that didn’t even occur to me until I realised I wouldn’t.
I remember picking up my tiny newborn son, Gabriel, to walk up to bed and looking back at my mum and my little sister laid either side of him, their heads rested on each side of his bed. The look of defeat, of great tiredness, the look of devastation. Our family to us was meant to be invincible, we were meant to see this crazy life out together until my parents were old and grey, but life didn’t have that plan for us, it wasn’t in our control.
To go back to that final moment, as painful as it was, is something I would do in a heartbeat. To see his freckles, to stroke his hand, to give him a kiss goodnight, just one last time, I would re-live that again and again if I could.
Everyone will have a last day, never take a moment for granted, because when all you have left are the memories of that final day, it becomes so clear what matters most. Hold your loved ones tightly, tell them you love them, take in all their beauty, love them with every inch of your soul, kiss them, hold them. We will all have a last day, so make every one count.
A section from the book “The Gift”
The gift of the story you never got to write.
In the morning, when I am not here, please don’t panic there’s no need to fear,
The worlds we live in are different now, I’m not sure I can tell you but I can show you how,
Allow yourself to dream with me, close your eyes and you will see,
I’m a part of you, I’m all around, you’ll hear me in the wind, you’ll hear me in its sound,
The way we’ll speak is different now, but its something I taught you I know you know how
Use your heart and I will hear, trust yourself, don’t fall to the fear,
Remember the words, the words from me, do not feel sad, for now, I am free.