The Queen died at the age of 96 and my father at the age of 95. Having a “good” age is no consolation because you have lost your support person.
If our parents are old and frail, their presence still comforts us but, when they die, we are left with this irreplaceable loss, difficult to articulate but nonetheless palpable. The warmth we felt with their presence is like a beautiful comforter, suddenly torn away when death strikes.
In 2013, my father who was my best friend, teacher and confidant died peacefully at home.
The previous year, I had left my career as a law firm partner and department head to be my father’s full-time caregiver. I found it very difficult to have a very demanding job and be a primary carer, so I had to make a choice.
I also wanted to be my father’s daughter again. Fast forward to my father’s death, and I was left an orphan, jobless, careerless, and without a sense of direction. In short, I was lost, and I was mourning the loss of the most important person in my world, my dear father. There was this huge void and there still is.
As a society we don’t talk much about death or bereavement because it’s uncomfortable and let’s face it, we also want to fix things quickly to get life back to normal but there’s nothing normal about mourning.
Grieving is as unique as our DNA; it is a reflection of our relationship with the person we love and have lost. There are no right or wrong ways to deal with grief, but with my own experience of feeling deprived, at sea, and completely unsure if I wanted to continue, I have, on my journey, found ways to deal with this after falling and tripping. the way a few times.
Grieving affects us in different ways. The grief for me was quite exhausting, and I felt so alone, yet death is part of life and a universal experience.
My dad died just after Christmas so for at least three years I couldn’t go to M&S because that’s where I bought the last Christmas jumper for my dad, he died four days later .
At first I thought I was going crazy so to make sense of my grief I started journaling, and from there I started a blog because I was having trouble seeing anyone a talk of a father’s loss of a daughter’s goal. Little did I know then that one day I would put my blogs in a book because over time I had found the confidence to show my vulnerability and wanted to reach out to help others like me.
I’m not an expert, but as someone who got themselves out of a hole, it’s my thoughts that can resonate or help others.
Give yourself permission to take this very important journey slowly and at your own pace. Be discerning about the people you surround yourself with. You are the most vulnerable, so having people who will support you is essential. Be kind to yourself and do what feels right. Having a strategy for special days like birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas will help you get through those days. Talk to your loved one as if they were with you because they are.
Walk and listen to music. Do what gets you through the hours and days; in time you will find the strength to find a reason to smile and carry on. Volunteer, after the death of my father, I became a Silver Line volunteer and administrator of a local charity.
And finally, exercise. It’s good for the soul, the body and the overactive mind.
I am happy to have been so loved by my father. Sorrow as they say is the price of love.
Daxa Patel is a lawyer, author and executive coach.