He came along where I was hanging out with friends, (friends to act as buffer) and although there was a natural easiness to the time, I was still quite surprised when he went to kiss me at the end of the night. ‘Oh no’ I said, ‘that would be a really bad idea’ and he slowly nodded. He left the car, crossed the road and that was it. Bye.
Saying goodbye is never easy and saying goodbye to people you care about is really hard. It’s surprising after all the pain and misery you go through after that good bye, a mere year later, you are able to adopt a nonchalant attitude towards them. They are just who they are, you are completely indifferent, and in this case, almost offended that they would expect a reunion. Distance is the most amazing gift we can give ourselves. Taking a step back, looking at something from a distance gives you so much clarity, it’s insane. Why we don’t play by this rule all the time is puzzling. I guess because it’s hard to is the reason why.
So anyway, I’ve digressed from the real reason for this blog, it’s not one year on from him, but one year on from my Dad dying.
How am I doing? One year on.
This time last year, I was surrounded by great friends, some greater than others, some that are still here and some that are not. The awful night when I was told ‘this is it’ and I had to decide whether or not to go and see my emancipated, Cancer ridden Dad, or stay with the memory of the giant, happy go lucky guy, one close friend stayed with me, and took my mind off things. Then another friend physically paid for my ticket and put me on the train, ‘this is important, you need to do this’ he said, and head up my backside, I went. I will be forever grateful for that and I don’t think they have ever realised how much so. (If you read this and see yourself, thank you!)
I went and did my final duties as a daughter, hung out with the family, told jokes, distracted, made coffee, helped arrange the funeral, I even felt brave enough to write, stand up and read a eulogy at his funeral. This is harder than you first think, I got to verse two before I broke down, I recovered by verse four and read the last lines with tears streaming down my face, but I wanted to do it, I had to do that one last thing for him, or so I thought.
One year on, I am still my Dad’s daughter through and through. I am chatty, silly, and driven with so much ambition, I wonder if I will ever rest.
One year on, do I think it has changed me? Losing a parent is a hard thing. But i’ve been independent since a teenager, off traveling in my early twenties, living in two other countries, with an occasional, ‘Yes i’m still alive Mum’ phone call. I am used to him not being around. I also think the foundations of my early life created a nice person, my parents did their job well. As a parent, you hope your children will be good people, I think I am one of the good guys.
But I have noticed something important, a turning point. I’m not sure if it’s normal, so do comment with your thoughts.
Throughout his life time I always did things that I knew would get my Dad’s attention, I was the youngest girl in 6 boys. Perhaps because I was told early on, ‘things are not going to be the same for you, Kid, you’re a girl’, In typical Karlie fashion I stuck my finger up to that and tried to do the unexpected. One of my proudest moments, so far, was when my Dad, (loaded with Whisky but it still counts), said to me, ‘you’ve done more than all your brothers put together’. And I’m still going Dad!
I spent a lot of my time, trying to impress my Dad, make him proud of me, notice me. I don’t think I always did what I wanted but went to extremes to say ‘wooohooo Dad, look what i’m doing now’ I spent a lot of time jumping up and down to be noticed, and it was fun, i’ve had some amazing experiences, spurned on by this desire. In a completely unrelated, but equally interesting fact, I date in the same way, I want to impress, to be the best, the one that stands out, and I have spent a lot of time jumping up and down doing so. The connection between my father to daughter relationship, and my Karlie to partner relationship is crystal clear.
So maybe that ex was meant to be in the blog after all, and I am sure a psychologist would have a field day with me, because now, I don’t feel like that anymore. The pressure is off me to impress anyone. Now I can do, and am doing, the things that I really want to do. Impressing myself, jumping up and down in front of the mirror saying ‘there you are!!’ It’s a new time, this pleasing myself thing. This, this is who I am, thing. This, I accept me for who I am’ thing. I like it. I still have a burning ambition and desire to win, but instead of it being directed to anyone, it’s all about me. A quiet ‘inner confidence’ so to speak. And, in a full circle way, I know my Dad would be impressed with that, and finally, once and for all, it’s the last thing I am doing for him.
So, one year on, I have peace, this Kid is doing just fine 🙂