In four days I turn 38. Your probably wondering why I'm so excited. People do it everyday. It's not a milestone birthday it merely means I'm growing older. What could possibly be exciting about that!
Well you see my Dad died when he was 37 years old. It was a number that I was scared to turn and I number that I can't wait to be over. Don't get me wrong my 37th year of life has been pretty good but in the back of my mind I am always wishing and hoping to make it to 38.
I know I'm not the only one. I have heard of other people who have been anxious when they were at the age of their parent's death. It's sad but I think it is something that comes with losing someone you love when they were in their prime.
I look at my life now and 37 really is so young. My children are only small and there is still so much in life I want to do and achieve. Dad never asked to get sick. No-one does. Life is full of twists and turns and the truth is none of us know when our journey is up.
I see and hear so many people complaining about getting older. I get it. I'm not a big fan of the grey hairs popping up but for every year I get to be on this earth I am grateful.
As of the 2nd of May I will have already outlived the age of my Dad. Pretty sad, huh. But for every year I live past 37 I want to celebrate. Sadly my Dad never got the chance to see my sister and I grow up but I still get that chance with my own children.
Don't be afraid of getting older. So many beautiful people don't get the chance.
I am sitting typing this on my computer at 11.50pm at night because I couldn’t sleep. My mind is filled with so many things I want to share with you.
I am so sorry that this awful disease is shortening your life.
I’m so sorry that there isn’t a cure yet, If I was a scientist, I would spend every waking hour trying to find one.
I don’t know what it feels like to be you, but I do know (in some degree) what it feels like to be your child. My Dad died when I was five years old from a brain tumour. This life you have now is nothing like you had imagined but you have been given one precious gift and that is time (however long or short they may be).
I can only imagine you love your children more than life itself and would do anything to make them happy. I understand that depending on the age of your child their understanding of what is happening will be different. Be completely honest with them. Children are way smarter than what we give them credit for.
With this precious time, you have left you have the opportunity to give your children some amazing gifts – these are gifts that will stay with them for life.
Some precious gifts you can leave for your children:
You may be looking at this list and feeling a little overwhelmed. Please don’t be. Call on your family and friends to help you if you need. If you don’t want to do all of them that is totally fine. I am begging you though, please don’t say its all too hard and do nothing. These suggestions above will be treasured beyond measure by your child.
Depending on the age of your child some of these things might not be so relevant now but I promise you as they get older their meaning and power will grow exponentially.
Your life matters. Although you may not be physically with them as they continue to journey through life you will always have a very big piece of their heart and nothing will ever change that.
Sending out lots of love.
I am thinking of you and your family. Please reach out if I could do anything to help.
If you are looking for a journal that allows you to write down many of the ideas listed above, please check out Cherish – A Book About Us (It was created in memory of my Dad, Greg)
Cherish - A book about Us is written in memory of my Dad, Greg. Thirty years ago my Dad passed away from a Brain Tumour, I was just five. I have a precious handwritten letter my Dad left to me but being so young, I sadly do not remember a lot about my Dad, but love hearing stories from his family and friends.
Over the last thirty years many questions have come up about my Dad, about his life, what he loved, what he didn't, his favourite things, what he loved doing with me and more.
I have now have two beautiful children of my own and I think just as they are getting that little bit older the realisation of what happened so long ago is so vivid. I look at my children and think imagine their life without their Dad, How did my Mum do it all on her own. Often when I am having a challenging day with my children, I often think about my Mum and how hard it must have been on her also.
This book is bringing together everything I would have loved to have heard or known from my Dad. It is not just letters but lots of different things. It is designed so that a loved one can handwrite in it and gift it. It gives a little bit of insight into the person writing it (so often we realise how much we don't know about a person, when its too late to ask). There is also a chance for that person to tell the other their dreams and wishes for them, their favourite memories together, letter, photos, favourite holidays and so much more.
I would so much love that every child had one of these about each of their parents. This book is a priceless gift of love that would be treasured beyond measure. How long we have here on earth is such an unknown, start your written legacy now and continue to add to it as life goes on or if your life is being shortened by a terminal illness, the time is now. Tell your loved ones everything you want them to know. I want this book to be like a bear hug from your loved one, the tight re-assuring squeeze telling you that everything is going to be ok.
Collect Beautiful Moments x
Click The 15th of January this year will mark 30 years since my Dad died.
In the thirty years that have passed I have started Kindergarten, finished primary school, completed my high school certificate, travelled solo overseas, worked in numerous different jobs, completed a bachelors degree, bought houses, sold houses, got engaged, got married, had two beautiful children and self published three books.
How many days during those last thirty years have I thought or wondered about my Dad – the whole 10,950 of them.
It’s funny the saying ‘time heals everything’. I definitely think you learn to live with grief but it is always there, sometimes in the distance or sometimes knocking at the door wanting to remind you of the beautiful person you have lost. But I believe with grief comes compassion. When you know what it feels to lose someone dear to you, you have a deep understanding of loss and a yearning to help and comfort others.
I’m not sure if I was just too young to really remember or maybe my mind is trying to protect me but the sad thing is I don’t really have any memories or times etched in my mind with my Dad. I 100% know he was a beautiful man who was respected by so many but I often wish I could listen to a song, smell a certain scent or look at a particular movie and be reminded of him or a moment of time with him. I love hearing stories from his friends and family of the mischief and good times he had but it would be so nice to have a memory that is mine alone.
My eldest daughter is so cute and sometimes asks me ‘what did you like best about Poppy Martin?’ – I try to answer the best I can with what I know but deep down inside I wish I could retell stories of funny things we had done together or places we had been but many of my stories are ones I retell from others.
The good part (if you could say that) of not remembering is I don’t remember the months he spent sick, the hospital visits and the heartache that surrounded his passing. (I do remember though on the night he was to leave the earth my Aunty massaging the ‘growing pains’ in my legs so that I might get some sleep)
It’s funny over the last thirty years I have not really come across many other people who have lost a parent at a young age. I am sure there is sadly plenty of people out there but it is something not often talked about. When people talk about their parents I don’t often question if there is both a Mum and a Dad or if one is missing why that is because there is so many reasons that could be.
In doing research for my books I found this beautiful organisation called ‘Feel the Magic’ support program for bereaved children. I have not been or seen one in action but I really love the idea behind it and could see so much value in it for a child suffering loss.
I may have a large hole in my heart that yearns for my Dad but I have a really good life. My Mum did such an amazing job bringing me up, I have a beautiful sister and an awesome family.
There is no denying though that losing a parent at a young age (or any age) changes you, maybe in some ways it has made me a better person as I feel a deep connection with other that have suffered loss. I treasure each and every person in my family and feel so lucky to have them on this journey with me.
It has though, made me fear death. One of my greatest fears is myself or husband dying and leaving my children without a parent, Why? Because when you lose a parent a small part of you goes with them.
It may or may not be true depending what you believe – but I do think my beautiful Dad is watching over me and my family and providing us strength and wisdom when we need it. If someone I love dies, I also find comfort in knowing that maybe somewhere up there Dad will welcome them with open arms and a cold beer.
I have never really opened up much to anyone about my Dad but writing things down provides me so much comfort and if reading this can help someone else feel not alone then it is all worth it.
This beautiful quote was provided to me by Ann-Maree Imrie in memory of her son Xavier for my Remembering Me Book. It resonated with me, and I think it will resonate with anyone that has lost someone close to them and the journey of grief that follows.
“Sure, the intense pain that was present in the beginning has died down to a dull roar. Maybe even a quiet hum. But it’s a quiet hum that never goes away. Even in the loudest room, on the happiest occasions, surrounded by the people I love…there is the hum. Even on a good day, behind the biggest smile…there is the hum.”
I look back on my Dad’s 37 years on earth in wonder and know that tonight like every other night he is heaven’s brightest star guiding me through life. Cherish the time you have with your loved ones and give your Dad an extra special hug tonight.
As my Dad wrote:
“Go about your lives and weep no more for me, for really it is I who is the lucky one”.
‘Cherish - A Book About Us’ was made in memory of My Dad. It covers all the things I would have loved to known about him over the last thirty years, so that others can tell their story to their children or grandchildren. On this, his 30th anniversary I would love to sell as many as I can, because your story just like his, is important to tell.
I have a Father, a beautiful one in fact but this year marks almost 30 years of celebrating Father’s Day without him. This is not by choice but by the awful disease we all know as Cancer or a Brain tumour to be exact.
Thirty years is a long time – almost my whole lifetime and lots of things have changed between now and then, but the sadness of Father’s Day still remains.
To be honest I can’t really remember much about the first few Father’s Days after my Dad passed away. I’m sure I would have written on a card or taken a special keepsake out to his graveside. I definitely remember doing this as I got older.
It’s funny though when its time to make the Father’s Day gifts at school or someone asks what you are doing for Father’s Day, when you tell them that your Father died when you were young, that is where the conversation ends. Unless they knew my Dad, the topic just changes to something more light hearted. They may ask what he died from but they rarely ever ask about him. Like what did he do, what did he like and other stuff you would ask for a living Father. Of course, it makes you sad talking about someone not in your life, but he is still my Dad.
Now I am lucky enough to have an amazing husband and Dad to my children. I think I overcompensate on Father’s Day now as I don’t want them to miss out on anything - the Dad jokes, the cuddles, the games, the laughter and smiles that Dad’s can bring to children’s lives.
When you lose your Father, you also lose the Grandfather to your Children. I often wonder what he would be like with them and if they would have him wrapped around their little fingers.
We are getting closer to the ages my Mum and Dad were when my Dad passed away. This brings a whole new realization and sadness to what happened so long ago. I think the grief has been greater now then it has ever been. Grief doesn’t have a timeline and there is no end, but I believe losing someone you love makes you appreciate so much more what you have.
I know Father’s Day is just one day of the year and like me you probably think about your Father all year round. But all I ask is please this Father’s Day think how lucky you are to have your Dad with you. Laugh at his jokes, embrace his cuddles and just ‘be’ in the moment with him on Father’s Day. If you can’t see him in person, pick up the phone and call him or send him a card. So many people out there don’t get this chance, so please think how lucky you are that you can.
And if you know someone who’s Father isn’t with them this Father’s Day let them know you are thinking of them and better still ask them about their Father and listen while they tell you everything they loved about him.
And if like me, you are celebrating Father’s Day without your Father, I am thinking of you.