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The Beginning

Dear Dad

I remember it like it was yesterday, 15 April 2021 - the worst day of my life! The phone call from D, the wait, the fear and the final blow - you was gone. Calling mum to make sure she was ok and not alone. Having to think about getting to South Africa, doing covid tests and forms, arranging a funeral. Thankfully we had D and P on their way to Cape Town and they would do the majority of the organisation. When we (A, V and I) finally arrived in Cape Town, on top of my own grief was the fear of going to your house, you not being there and having to see mum. I got through it, put on a strong face and thanked and welcomed everyone who came to pay their respects to mum. I made tea’s and coffee’s, washed dishes, set up tables and chairs and made sure everyone had something to eat, whilst always checking in on mum - just as you would have.

Then came the funeral, again something I was dreading. I didn’t know how I would feel and react to seeing you. When I did see you, I felt the need to make sure it was you, I stroked your soft hair and knew, it was you. The funeral was beautiful, people had the loveliest things to say about you. Seeing your photo next to the coffin was surreal. I couldn’t believe that my dad, the dad full of jokes and songs, the dad full of life and the dad full of love and kindness, was gone. You couldn’t be, you just couldn’t.

The days after the funeral before heading back to London were a blur. I was working remotely from SA while still trying to help out wherever I could. Once I got back to London my own life quickly started unraveling, the pain I felt was excruciating, pain like I’d never felt before, it inevitably took its toll and I ended up in a very dark and familiar place. I stopped eating, stop taking care of myself, worked from bed only when I had to, didn’t leave the house for months, I didn’t care about anything…it didn’t register to me that this was happening until my doctor put me back in hospital, somewhere I could be looked after. For those 3 months all I thought about was you, the day I got the news, your funeral, the cremation - all of these haunted my days and nights. I struggled to think of anything else. My world got darker and darker, I stopped speaking, ate meals alone in my room and did little else besides lying in bed staring out the window and watching the days pass, days without you.

My room overlooked the garden, where many of the other patients spent time, I hated when I could hear them laughing outside - how could they laugh? Did they not know what had happened? Did they not know that the world had lost the most incredible father, husband and man.

My world grew smaller and smaller, there didn’t seem to be anyway out, I didn’t want anyway out. Not to a world without you. How could I ever be happy? How could I go about my life carrying this enormous, all consuming pain. It seemed impossible. Every night I scanned through the photos and videos I had of you, listening to your voice over and over again, surely someone with a voice doesn’t just disappear?

Eventually with the help of MANY people and even more medication, I was released. I’ve been home for almost 4 months now and life is not the same, my world feels lonelier, I struggle to find the beauty in things I used to. Anytime I do something, I imagine you being there and I can almost hear your teasing and jokes and can see every smirk. Life will never be the same. My life will never be the same. I put on the mask and pretend as much as I can but I will never be the same person I was before it happened, how can I be?

To the man who taught and showed me what it means to love and be loved. My dad who was always happy to see me or speak to me, who always wanted me to do what made me happy and not worry about anyone else, my dad who taught me how important it is to help people less fortunate than yourself and to remain humble no matter what you achieve in life, to the man who taught me kindness, patience and understanding. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of you. I will spend the rest of my life living the values you instilled in me and doing my best to make you proud. I love and miss you immeasurably.

Love always



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