Today marks the 10 year anniversary of your death.
Today, 10 years ago, I was living in a house share in the Docklands and had just sat down to have dinner. I was about 5 mouthfuls in when there was a knock at the door. My housemate sitting next to me didn’t move. So I got up and answered the door to find mum there. She didn’t live local. I knew. I just knew.
Mum and I went upstairs to my bedroom. She told me that Peter (his “housemate”) had found you that morning. You had passed away in your sleep. At least I like to think thats what happened. As mum was talking I couldn’t stop thinking about the dinner I was halfway through. The dinner that I thought I was going to throw up. I had an ensuite. I knew it wasn’t far to the bathroom. Would it be rude to leave mum talking. I had this feeling of numbness. I don’t really remember what we talked about but I packed a few things and went downstairs. My housemate couldn’t make eye contact with me. He didn’t even offer to clean up my dinner for me. Its the silly things you remember. I remember scraping the plate into the bin then scrubbing at the plate for a ridiculous amount of time. I got in the back of mums car, my now stepdad drove and I cried all the way back home. I think it was raining. I’m not sure.
It was a Monday. I was due to go skiing on the Wednesday. A ski trip that you had paid for.
Tuesday morning I rang work. I strongly told them, holding back the tears, that you had died and that I wouldn’t be coming into work. That afternoon flowers arrived. They were really pretty. You would have liked them. I remember how much you enjoyed our garden, you worked hard keeping it nice. Wish I had paid more attention to your gardening lessons! Wish you had taught me more. Wish you were still here to teach my about my garden. Tell me what are weeds and what are not.
We visited the house on Tuesday. Went to see Peter. I didn’t go upstairs. I didn’t want to see your bedroom. I never went in their until someone else had stripped the bed. I think my mum did I’m not sure. She did a lot for me over those next few months. She was my rock.
Tuesday we had a visit from a good family friend Brenda. I think it was a visit. Maybe a phone call. I don’t have a great memory. I should write things down more. She convinced me to go skiing. Mum told me there wasn’t much we could do. We were waiting on the coroners report. It would take at least a week. My ski trip was for 10 days.
Mum drove me back to my house so I could pack. My other housemate was there. I remember her giving me a hug. I don’t remember much else, I don’t remember going to the airport. I went with two friends and a group of their friends. I don’t remember much about that holiday. I remember listening to classical music on the aeroplane and crying, fighting back the tears so no one could see. I remember being in a chinese restaurant with everyone. Chinese was the last place we had eaten out. I had done all the ordering for you and Peter, like I always did. This time though other people were taking control and I couldn’t order what I wanted. I remember going to the bathroom and sitting on the floor crying. I remember ski school. A great distraction. I remember a few days after ski school and going down a slope by myself. Getting stuck and my legs freezing up. They were shutting the slopes and I couldn’t move. I was freaking out. They had to get a skidoo to help me down. I didn’t cry, I thought I was being strong. I remember drinking a lot of milky hot chocolates every day. Alcoholic ones. I was cold, they warmed me up. I remember eating a carbonara and being very ill that night. I didn’t know that you dying would cause my body so much stress that I would become lactose intolerant and 10 years later still suffer from IBS. I remember ringing my mum everyday away from everyone. They only time I felt I could cry. I think back to it now. My daddy had died two days before, I was on a skiing holiday and people thought I wasn’t upset. To them maybe. My behind closed doors I was an emotional wreck.
I don’t remember the days after the holiday and leading up to your funeral. The coroner told us that you had died from a ruptured aneurysm. I think I went to work. I must have as I didn’t get signed off work till the end of April.
I remember the morning of the funeral. Putting on my black skirt suit. My work suit. I wore heels. I felt taller and felt that being above everybody meant less eye contact. Everyone met at your house. I can’t remember how many cars we had. I think two. I was in the first car with mum. Laura and Amy came with me. They were like sisters to me. They held my hands the whole way to the crematorium. I don’t remember if it was a sunny day or not but I wore sunglasses. I was glad they were on as it meant I didn’t have to make eye contact with anyone at the crem. Uncle Tony (who is no longer in our life anymore due to Will issues) did a reading and Amy’s dad Scott read your eulogy. I still carry around a copy of it in my purse.
The wake afterwards was not what I expected. There was alcohol and laughter. I met your first wife. As I only visited you at weekends, and not every weekend at that, there were lots of people there that I hadn’t seen in ages. They were your friends that you had spent most of your days with. Usually on your daily afternoon visits to the Thatchers pub. They all told me that you were ready to go.
This was in March. On 27th April 2005 I started a diary. This is interesting as on 27th April 2010 my son, your grandson, was born! In my diary I stated that I had been feeling ill for a few weeks and my doctor diagnosed me with delayed stress. I didn’t write often in my diary, it started with every week, then a random two days in a row, then every month then a 4 year gap to 28th February 2010.
Each diary entry I get worse and worse. I write about not being able to talk to anyone, feeling all alone. Looking back I can’t believe what I went through and how low I felt. I find it really sad to read what i have written. I don’t think I dealt with loss very well. I constantly write about feeling ill and not sleeping. I’m a stress eater so that probably wasn’t helping.
On 28th February 2010 I write that I am 7 months pregnant and I’ve been to lunch at the inlaws and some of their family friends. I write that I had to leave the room making excuses for the toilet when in reality I had gotten upset at remembering halfway through lunch what day it was. I haven’t written in the diary since, but I will today.
They do say time heals all wounds. 10 years on and I still miss you but it gets easier. For your funeral mum and I made a photo album and people wrote nice things about you at the back and I saved all the sympathy cards. When we moved house in 2012 it went missing. We are due to clear out the loft today, I will be over the moon if we find it. It has to be somewhere. It has to be.
But dad I want you to know that I'm doing okay now. I have an amazing husband and two wonderful kids. Olivia would have you wrapped around her little finger!
Lots of love
your daughter x