I heard on the radio yesterday that up until noon today you can still wish people Happy New Year and then after that you just go back to normal greetings. There is always that question about when do you stop wishing people Happy New Year; first time that you are seeing them in 2019 but it is half way through the month. Slight side track from what this blog is about.
After someone dies there is a lot of firsts especially in the first year some big ones and some small ones which you don’t really think about until they happen. The small ones can often be the hard hitters, with everything that comes with grief and all the thoughts, emotions, feelings that are going round there is no way that you can think of everything so then the small details completely side swipe you when you are least expecting it.
However Christmas and New Year are not small things they are massive events with all the build up to them everywhere. So the first festive period without my dad was always going to be hard hitting.
I love Christmas as does Kat so we are both always excited and festive when this season comes up. This year was no different and I remember about a week or so before Christmas commenting to her about this and be so grateful that actually this is how we both felt about the season. For a lot of people this period of the year is so hard for so many reasons and yes I knew that it was going to be hard at points but at the same time I was still excited and happy for the approach of Christmas.
There was sad moments and moments where the loss was more apparent. Those moments where it feels weird to not have him here, that there was just the three of us where last year there was four of us around the dinner table. The small things like going to see my grandparents for lunch on boxing day and all of us being able to fit in my car to get to the restaurant.
What really hit me hard about Christmas happened back in November when walking around shops and seeing all the Christmas cards. I have always bought a card that has had Mum and Dad on it and was hit by the realisation that this year it is just Mum. For this reason deliberately choose a card that didn’t have a specific person on it. Also hit me that I will never ever write again ‘ To Mum and Dad’ and never ever write again ‘ To Dad’. It is hard, it is sad , it is heart breaking some of the time. That moment was one of the small moments that I wasn’t expecting, hadn’t prepared myself for and totally took me by surprise. When you think of Christmas and grief you naturally think of the person not being there on Christmas day but it is the small things that hit hard. Christmas presents under the tree only being to and from one parent.
Another thing that really hit hard a few days before Christmas was they were talking about Santa on the radio and I realised my Santa was dead. Not in the way that I don’t know that Santa doesn’t exist but it was always my dad that came in and filled up my stocking as ‘Santa’.
I was expecting New Year to be hard but actually it has been a lot harder than expectations. Past couple of days the box of grief has been very much open and been hit by the waves of grief. I know it is normal and natural but that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier or the want to feel like this any better.
2019 is a year that my dad will never exist in and all the years to come will be exactly the same. This whole year he will be dead for the whole year. It seems obvious to say but at the same time hits so hard and hurts so much.
There are times with grief that you feel like you are doing okay and then there are times when you feel like you are back at day one with it all. That the rawness is still there and it feels like day one of losing that person. In a few days it will be 7 months since my dad died and in a way that feels like a massive amount of time and in other ways that feels like nothing. It hasn’t even been a year yet since we found out his diagnosis, it all feels very quick.
A year ago today he was doing this:
And today I am writing about getting through the first festive period without him.
Grief at any time of the year is very hard but this time of year very much does seem to turn up the dial on it.