7 years ago today, at 4 ‘o’clock in the morning, I received a phone call from the hospital telling me my father was dead – the words the nurse used were, “𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘧𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳’𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦.”
Me – “𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵, 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦?” I knew what she meant.
But I was dazed and a bit confused as I’d been by his bedside for a long five weeks.
Nurse – “𝘏𝘦’𝘴 𝘶𝘮𝘮𝘩 𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘥, 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘧𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦”
Me – “𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯?”
Nurse – “𝘢 𝘧𝘦𝘸 𝘮𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘨𝘰, 𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘣𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩”
And that was that.
A life spark had gone out.
A final breath.
My father was dead.
The man I’d loved my whole life, and will continue to love until I die.
It wasn’t the first time I’d received a phone call like this.
And I know the tone very well.
This particular phone call I’d been waiting for for 23 years.
My memory is a bit of a blur after that.
I know I watched the sky a lot and became utterly absorbed in that moment.
I saw the birds flying around, and a big black raven came and sat in the garden.
It didn’t go for many weeks afterwards, which I always thought was strange.
I didn’t cry in that moment.
I’d cried a lot during those five weeks whilst he was in hospital as I feared this would happen, but I also wanted it so much not to be true.
Not to be watching this man I love fade away.
At that moment, it felt as if I’d cried all the tears I could.
How wrong I was.
Grief in all its glory has opened me up more deeply to love and to the more profound initiation into the truth of this love, life and human experience.
It has gotten me closer to the truth of who I really am – and I feel closer to the truth of who my brother and father truly were – and still are – they just live on in my heart and the heart and eyes of my son
I now navigate the in-between – I honour what I have lost, those innocent younger parts of me that were so scared and vulnerable.
I also acknowledge the new pieces of me and the new truth that I see – Grief taught me to be honest and true.
Grief taught me that my love is fierce.
Grief taught me that I deserve to give myself love.
Grief taught me to love.
So today, I’d like to remember all of who my Dad was and say his name – Bruce.
He was a strong, funny, trusting soul who believed in me 100%.
He was stubborn, and we fought a lot, but he had a good, kind heart and didn’t deserve all the pain he endured for the last 23 years of his life.
His strength and resilience always inspired me, and I’ll always reflect on how much he loved my son Zak and how he used to love my cooking.
How when I was little, he was always my dance partner, whizzing me around until I got dizzy.
How much he loved his Costa Coffee.
He was my confidante and my biggest supporter.
Miss you Dad
Here is a little 5 min clip from one of my Circle Community’s monthly ‘Ask Me Anything’ around the topic of grief:
Love, Charli x