I guess I’m writing this as I finally sat down and wondered what the hell is going on and how I seem to of got through the last 20 years without any major crisis taking place.
It started three months before I turned 18 and I lost my nan, she was awesome. She took me as I was and although she didn’t always agree with what I got up to she was always there. She fell out with my dad and it’s probably the only time in my life I stood against him and refused to take his side, she was amazing and did a little weekly shop for me and always made sure I was happy. I couldn’t think of a time she’d turn me away and in the blink of an eye she was gone. I bumbled along and kept working and met some great people along the way but never really had a connection like that with other members of my family.
After a few years my grandad who I admired called me one day to tell me he had cancer, he lived in London so I didn’t really see him often but dad would drive us up three times a year when we were younger. I could drive at this point so decided to go and see him, he was okay about it all and said that he’d decided against treatment and wanted to go on his terms. It wasn’t easy to hear but I saw his point and in a weird way admired it.
After a few months the call came and it was the drive up for the last goodbye it was literally that as well. Got in the door said what was needed and again before I’d even made it out of London he was gone, I couldn’t stay as there had been a fall out in the family between my dad and his siblings and I’d decided regardless of if he was right or wrong I’d stand by him. I look back now wondering if a 22 year old me would do the same again if I had the one chance to go back…
Fast forward and I’m 29 married and looking to start a family, I’d put Nan and grandad behind me, due to the family fallout I’d not seen anyone outside mum, dad and my two brothers since grandads funeral and had got used to the idea that I didn’t really have an extended family. I could of made an effort but decided to stay loyal to my dad. Again I never bothered to question if he was right I just blindly followed him.
I’d fallen out with my middle brother who had gone off to be with the rest of the family in London and in this time some neighbours of my parents kind of became a surrogate uncle and Aunty. Nigel was in a wheelchair through a car crash and over time became ill with various problems. My marriage fell apart and I’d met a girl who had fallen pregnant with my daughter.
Between all of this I got the call from my dad Nigel had gone into hospital and it was unlikely he’d be coming back out, after all the crap I’d managed to put behind me I could see my dad was gutted but somehow held it all together. I felt the least I could do for him was the same, soon enough Nigel passed and before I knew it another one was gone.
During my first marriage I’d met some great people and had some great times one of these was a girl we were good friends and had a great group, she’d had cancer and basically it got worse between trying to get my head around Nigel dying, becoming a father and the break up of a marriage I had to process a good mate now passing.
I sat in a waiting room with all the people that I’d lost contact with and we all waited for news, it wasn’t good and within the week she was gone. That was a Sunday morning and I’ll never forget it.
As they do the funeral came and went my daughter was born in the June and it was the most amazing moment of my life, in my personal opinion you can become a parent 20 times and it’s amazing every time but nothing ever tops that first time and those feelings.
Life was great and she was 6 months old, I was at work and got a call from my mum, dad had collapsed. I drove so fast the car nearly caught fire. He’d had a heart attack, it wasn’t good and over the next few days I had to make the decision to let him go as mum wasn’t capable of making the decisions needed, my brothers couldn’t cope and I was called a murderer and cold hearted. Told that I didn’t love him because I was happy to turn off his life support etc. To this day I don’t think that either of them would understand what I had to go through and how alone I was having to make those choices with no support. within a week he was gone. The weirdest thing with my dad was that he wasn’t emotional at all. He wouldn’t hug or say much but when he did it was relevant. He told the mother of my daughter that he was proud of what I had become having had a difficult childhood and that I never asked for anything from him.
My mum couldn’t arrange the funeral as she wasn’t capable so I dealt with all of that while figuring out what the next steps would be regarding my mum.
My middle brother was gay, that’s not a big deal but it’s relevant to this next part. He had suffered with various mental illnesses over the years including a rather spectacular helicopter chase around Stevenage by the police but that’s by the by.
After dads death he really struggled, I had to lie to dad on his death bed and tell him that he had said goodbye. The truth was he’d been banned from the hospital and wasn’t there for dads last moments because of his behaviour. My younger brother had gone off the rails as well and was causing problems and in between all of that I was trying to be a dad to my daughter.
I failed my daughter while my dad was in hospital, I made no effort to see her or even acknowledge she was the most important part of my life. I will say that although I did that, I had one last week with my dad and a lifetime with her so I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Apologies as I’m going on a bit, my brothers mental health declined and 6 months after dad died he took his own life. He hung himself and to this day I’m annoyed at myself as we had finally started getting along and I believed I was getting through to him. I was wrong and I realised that it was probably a battle I could never help him win as he had to many demons that I alone had no chance of helping him battle. For a guy that hated kids though he took to mine and was always happy to see them.
I never really understood depression or why people get so low, even now I’m very much I have 10p that bloke has 5p so I’m better off. It’s narrow minded and I probably should know better.
Within a few months I had a son on the way and my wife to be named him after my dad and brother, a fantastic touch that made my day.
The boy came along and so it was happy days. I do have two boys my eldest was here long before all this really kicked in and has always been protected from it.
To finish up another mate who I’d had some great days with at the football suddenly got ill. When I say suddenly I mean it. He got a headache Wednesday, collapsed Thursday and passed on the Friday. All this was in the height of covid and there were no goodbyes, just an email to a nurse that would read your final messages. I never felt comfortable with that. Why would I want to write something that a person with no emotional attachment would be reading to my friend. I couldn’t do it so wrote a letter that went in his coffin.
I just carried on after that, my family is all that really matters now. I got in touch with everyone from London after dad died and they are all part of my life again. Things haven’t all been bad either, I have an amazing family. A good job and a nice home, I’d say I’m luckier than some .
That about brings me to today and writing this up. It’s been a crazy time and if even one person sees this then you’ll either think I’m crazy or I’m a guy who has got by. Either way thanks for reading and if your going through a rough time at any point just know it will get better.