I still remember the phone call I got from my dad telling me he was diagnosed with cancer. I was (and still) living in a different country. My world fell apart. Me and my dad were close, I was technically his birthday present with being born the day before him. I think because of that we had a special bond, plus I was his baby girl. When I got that phone call my mind went into overdrive. He told me that the doctors still gave him 10 years to live. It seemed a long time but it put everything for me into perspective. That week I booked a flight for a long weekend at home so that I could see him.
I went again just before Xmas and due to chemo, he deteriorated quite a bit. Yet I held on to the 10 years the doctors gave him. He was in and out of the hospital and my family kept me up to date with what was going on. That was the first time in my life that I regretted living in the U.K., despite it only being a 90 minute flight from Hamburg.
In March, just over a year after that phone call from my dad, I was at work and got a call from my mum to say that the doctors said for me to come over as my dad was getting worse. I went home I a daze, booked a flight and was on a plane to Germany the next day. My brother picked me up from the airport and we went to the hospital. To be honest, my dad didn’t look too bad. Yes, his body changed and he lost all his hair because of the chemo but he didn’t look that bad. I stayed for a few days, spending time with my dad. It still breaks my heart thinking about how fragile he was when he had his physio to get him walking again. At the end of my visit, I told him I loved him. That was the last time I saw him.
Around a month later I got a call from my mum in the middle of the night saying my dad just passed away. The next day I was on my way out to see my family. I can still remember the tube ride to the airport. I cried all night and all morning and it was such a bizarre feeling for me to go home but my dad not being there anymore. I honestly can’t remember much from that trip, my mind just shut down. It was the only thing it could do to cope with the pain and grief. I stayed for about a week, then went back to the UK. I talked to my employer and took some time off to deal with the funeral and my life in general.
Even now I can see bits of the funeral very clearly, me carrying the Urne my dad’s ashes were in and then giving it to my brother as it got way to heavy for me. I can feel the sunshine when we were walking to the place where he was going to be buried. (It rained in the morning so me and my brother were joking that dad made sure we weren’t gonna get wet)
When I got back to the UK I really struggled to cope with the whole situation. In between my dad passing and the funeral I turned 29, which I celebrated in good old ‘let’s go out for dinner’ style and honour my dad. This was also the time where I found yoga. I did different videos on YouTube which helped me take some time out for myself and got my mind back into life. A few months after the funeral I still wasn’t able to cope so my partner at the time practically forced me to go and get some help. I cut down my hours at work for a bit, saw a psychologist every week, tried to look after my mind as much as I could and started to slowly deal with the grief.
My point here is, do whatever you need to do to heal. One thing that I realised was that I really don’t care about money. Whereas I could’ve been quite fixed on money before, since then I realised that it’s more about the experiences and connections with other people. It also made me realise that I’m a lot stronger than I thought and that the mind will do whatever it needs to do protect itself and the soul.
That first year wasn’t the healthiest of my life but it made me a stronger person, who knows what she wants. For a long time, I felt like I’m a little kid waiting by the window waiting for her dad to come home. I still miss him like hell but it has sunken in that I’m not gonna see him again. Writing this has shown me that I still need more healing and a lot of times I was crying whilst writing (including on the train). However, I want to share my story with people and show them that life can go on. You just need to take one day at a time and you will slowly heal. Yoga has played a big role in my healing journey (which I’m still on) and I want to help other people deal with their pain.
Below are some links to charities that help with grief. You can also email me anytime.