Nothing you ever love will ever truly leave you. Yes, it will physically at some point leave, sadly death is inevitable. But there is nothing in this universe that can ever remove that bond, that connection, that deep-set feeling within your soul. You and the person that has left are intertwined in an endless weave of blissful light. The light you have within you reaches them, keeps them with you. Nothing with that much power, that much strength, can ever truly leave you.
I remember my Dad’s funeral like it was yesterday. A phrase that is overused so many times, but I do. I remember it so rawly as though it just happened. The memory of that day is something I think about often, maybe sometimes too often. The day I said my final goodbye to you, is a day that will never leave me, and it haunts me. I’ve been stamped with a seal of heartache from that day. I remember it all, the sounds of the people who were there, the music, the stillness, the sorrow, the smells, the feeling of my tears flowing from my eyes uncontrollably, the wails from your Mum, from my Mum, I remember my cousins and family members across the room seeing tears streaming down their faces, I remember hundreds of eyes watching me and my brother stand to say our words we’d written for you, I remember the readings read for you by others who loved you, and mostly I remember just looking at the box which held your body, a box decorated beautifully with landscapes of the oceans as you wished, but looking at it and feeling overwhelmed to know that a man, who is my absolute entire world, lay inside there. No longer in my reach, no longer able to touch your skin and feel the warmth of your hand in mine, no longer would you be able to hold me in your arms, no longer will you give me a kiss on the cheek goodbye, no longer will I feel that warmth in my heart seeing your beaming smile when I showed up at your door, no longer will we stand on this earth united as Father and Daughter. You are now inside a box, and although I know in my heart your soul has parted from your body and all that remains is just the case which carried your spirit, that knowing it’s the last time I’ll be with you in this lifetime, is unbearable.
After my dad passed away at home we sat with him until the undertakers came to collect his body, it was a time I feel immense gratitude and immense sadness to all at once. On one hand, I’m laid with you, laid with my head rested on your chest, sobbing, knowing that your no longer here, listening so intently to see if maybe we’re wrong and you are still breathing, waiting to feel my head lifted by a breath, but you’ve really gone, you’ve spread your wings in the stary night sky, and peacefully flown away to a land unknown to me, you no longer feel pain, we no longer have to watch you struggle to gasp for each breath, we no longer have to wait to be awoken to the reality that you’ve gone. I feel so lucky for a moment, so lucky that the 6 of us are sat together one last time, so lucky we can see the peacefulness in your face, so lucky we can lay and give you that one last cuddle, so lucky we can share a moment together, our family, the six of us, for one last time. And on the other hand, the reality that your no longer here, seeing your body laid on the bed which no longer really seems like you, overwhelms me with pain. To watch my brothers sob at your side, strong men that you’ve raised so well, look weak, and defeated. To hear my Mum scream in tears at your side, holding onto your lifeless body, knowing that her soulmate, the love of her entire life, has left her. I felt a complete mix of gratitude and deep sadness that day.
Planning a funeral is chaotic, there’s so much to think of in such a short space of time. I feel within this time we almost put our grief on hold. We put our pain aside to make the planning of the final farewell the priority. We want to do them proud and give them the day they deserve, we want to make sure every detail is carefully thought of, so I feel with all this, we don’t really allow ourselves to travel into a journey with the extreme sadness we feel at that time, it’s only after the funeral has passed we begin that part. It’s a protection and coping over ride that almost kicks in, we know we have so much to organize, so many people to see on the day of the funeral, it’s only natural that we suppress those feelings until the chaos of the storm we’re living in has settled, and we can grieve in our own way and in our own time.
My Dad’s funeral is a day if I’m honest, I felt at my loneliest. So many people had shown to give my family and me, their support, and their love. We were embraced by so many of our friends and family, so many hugs that should feel safe to us, hugs that should feel warm, hugs that should comfort us, but nothing could fill that emptiness we all felt inside, without a doubt, I have never ever felt so, so alone. I was lost, I was broken. I wanted to hide and not have to be present at the funeral, not to have to stand with so many and walk behind the coffin which held my dad, not have to stand with braveness, stand with honor. It felt unbearable to me, unbearable to be suffering already so much, yet now having to be with hundreds of people as a witness to that, hundreds of people to see me at my most vulnerable. It was painful, so very painful.
We left at the end of the funeral and went to witness the cremation of my dad, just me, my mum, my sister, and two brothers. It’s something we’d promised to our Dad, a promise that we would be with him on his journey until the very end, and to us, the cremation of his body was the end of his journey. The end of his amazing life, the end of our amazing lives with him, and the end of a beautiful tree of memories we had created together as a family. To watch this was painful, but also I felt a sense of freedom, a sense that I could breathe slightly easier knowing he was truly at rest now. Whether we choose to be buried or cremated I think in both these choices it provides us as the families, a sense of completion, and that is so very important when coming to the end of that part of the journey.
I normally end my blogs with a positive note, something that enables us to cope, something I feel can help give us the determination to carry on living our lives to the fullest without the ones we love here, but with this topic, I struggle. I have gone to write so many times, for months actually about my Dad’s funeral, and even now I don’t really feel I’ve said all I needed to say. The funeral of the one you lost will be a memory tattooed on your heart, it holds feelings of such deep pain, it holds memories of such intense sadness. So all I can say is, we are all doing the best we can within grief. Grief isn’t ever going to be easy, saying that final goodbye wasn’t ever going to be easy. After all, heartache is the price we pay for love. And to be given the chance to love my Dad for 30 years is something I would do over and over again for the price of the heartache I feel now, I wouldn’t change a thing. To love in life is the greatest gift of all x
The promises we wrote and read to you that day. Promises we will keep for our lifetime. We love you Dad….
We promise to always remember you with the most amount of love.
We promise to comfort the ones you loved when they are feeling in need.
We promise to live life to its fullest, following our passions as you did.
We promise to always stay strong and determined and embrace every opportunity.
We promise to always think of you with a grateful heart and feel blessed that we were chosen to share life with you as your children.
We promise to constantly remind ourselves of every beautiful memory we made together and talk of you every day.
We promise to remind your grandchildren and the ones you’ll never get to meet how special you were and how you would have given anything to share a longer life with them all.
We promise to explore the world, explore food, and embrace all there is on this planet. To keep your feet on ours, and take them wherever we go and get sandy toes.
We promise to always look after each other, to support one another as you’ve always done for us.
We promise to always love one another and keep the incredible bond and connection the 6 of us shared, as a family, alive in our hearts forever.
Until we meet again dad, we will be with you always. We will love you forever. Rest peacefully, our angel x