Tag Archives: recovery

Things my dad has taught me

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Things my dad has taught me

So I’ve talked in the past about what we’ve learned along the way since my dad’s accident. But recently I’ve realised how much my dad himself has taught (and continues to teach) me. I thought I’d share a few of them, because after a bad meeting, or a traffic jam, or a family argument; it can feel like the end of the world but my dad has changed the way I look at life.

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff

The amount of times I’ve visited my dad after a busy and stressful day, only to walk out an hour later calm and smiling and wondering what my problem was. The things that were driving me to distraction suddenly didn’t seem important when faced with his daily struggles to even remember when to eat, or to turn the lights on when it gets dark.

  1. Keep laughing

From the moment he got his speech back, my dad has continued to be silly. I’ve said before that he’s always been silly – and one of my biggest fears was that he’d lose this sense of fun. Thankfully it’s remained, and has been the source of a series of Facebook posts like the following:

fb-screengrab

  1. Be compassionate

My dad has every reason to be a grumpy, selfish, inconsiderate old bugger. But he’s the opposite. He notices when I’m tired. Asks what’s up if I’m quiet. Tells me to send love/congratulations/best wishes (insert greeting here) to various family members when I tell him their news. He asks how my mum is, my sister, my brother, his friends and listens when I give him updates about them. He reminds me to look outside my bubble. No matter how hard things are, it’s not OK to forget about other people.

  1. Be honest

Due to his condition, my dad doesn’t have as many inhibitions anymore. That means that sometimes, what’s in his head comes out of his mouth. Often, he realises as soon as it’s been vocalised that it was inappropriate or rude, but not before. Now, I know that it’s socially polite to frame your criticism constructively, to smile and hold the door for someone even if they do shove past you without a backwards glance; or to sit out a boring conversation in order to avoid offence. I’m not suggesting we all start spewing out exactly what’s on our minds all the time – it would be chaos and we’d cause hurt.

However, wouldn’t it be great if we could just take a leaf out of my dad’s book – just to now and then stand up when someone is only talking about themselves and walk off without a word?! To tell someone they’re being loud and it’s bothering you.

  1. Forgive

OK, so maybe in his case it’s more often than not that he doesn’t remember, rather than that he forgives. But my dad doesn’t hold grudges. And when I do have to tell him off, or I snap because frankly, I’m human and sometimes my patience wears thin; he forgives me instantly. He’s the one who apologises – he gives me a hug – reaches over to touch my arm to get my attention and says he loves me. Nothing matters enough to overshadow our precious time together. I wish I could be more like him and remember what really matters in our brief time on this planet with the people we love.

dad-and-me

Dear Daddy, happy anniversary

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Dear Daddy, happy anniversary

Dear Daddy,

This time a year ago all of our lives changed – yours the most. Thanks to a little too much John Smiths and a freak fall down the stairs, you changed. I’ve half written this post so many times over the last year. But I’ve had to stop because it just became so depressing. I can’t promise that this won’t be sad and angry, and confused, but I wanted to say to you (virtually) all the things that have gone through my head in the last 12 months.

I miss you. I spout the wise line that I’m grateful you survived, that we still have some version of you. And that is undoubtedly true. But it doesn’t mean that in my more selfish moments I don’t wish desperately for my original dad. You were my rock, my fount of solid, grounded wisdom when I was getting over-emotional, and most importantly, my best friend. While you still make me smile when I’m sad, and you still give the best hugs; the wisdom and the friendly texts are gone. Even a year later, I’ll be having a bad day, or I’ll have something funny to tell you and I’ll remember suddenly that the old you is gone. It’s like grief that never ends. It spins in a circle from heartbreak, to anger, to guilt that I dared to miss you when I still have you. Don’t misunderstand me, I am incredibly grateful that you’re still in my life. But I miss pre-accident-you so much sometimes it’s physically painful.

What if? What if you’d decided to just go home and sleep the day after the wedding? What if I’d thought more of it when you didn’t send me a ‘have a nice honeymoon’ text, and had checked on you? What if we’d asked you for dinner the night before honeymoon instead of our friends? As pointless as it is, I don’t think we’ll ever stop asking these questions. I know it’s childish but I wish so desperately for a Marty Mcfly car to go back to the day after the wedding and stick to you like glue.

Please stop worrying. We are where we are, and none of us see you as a burden. You’re our dad and we’re only doing the same you’d have done if one of us had suffered an injury. I know you and me are peas in a pod, and telling us not to worry is like telling us not to breathe, but please try. Goodness knows you’ve got enough to process as you continue to recover and adjust without worrying about us. We’re big enough, ugly enough, and well-supported enough to take care of ourselves. Please just be happy.

Thank you. Thank you for being so incredible. For being the ray of sunshine in my life every week. For reducing my over-dramatised life back to the simple and important. For loving us even though we’re imperfect, and can’t visit every day, and are sometimes tired or grumpy. Thank you for giving us the most beautiful childhood memories that we treasure and re-share with you even today. Thank you for being everything a dad should be. Thankyou for loving us all.

This could be a really sad anniversary for us all, but I’m not going to let that happen – having you here should be celebrated!

This year I’m in Jersey for my first wedding anniversary, so I’m going to head to the beach, run in the sea, and celebrate my dad. And I’m going to urge Dave and Tam to celebrate you in an equally silly and fun way. Whatever dark thoughts creep in sometimes, you’re here. You’re funny, and kind, and loving and cheeky and ours. We’re incredibly lucky. Happy anniversary Daddy – thanks for fighting.

Bomps xxxx

hilary and andy