My Dad died unexpectedly when I was 10 years old. He had epilepsy but only my mother and grandparents knew. They kept it very quiet because there was such stigma around epilepsy at the time he was alive.
I found him (my sister was 5 years old when he died and refused to sleep in her own bed without my Mum), when my parents alarm clock wouldn’t stop ringing. I can still see that alarm clock in my minds eye now.
One day he was there, the next he wasn’t and the world as I knew it was ripped apart.
It happened a very long time ago and I rarely talk about it now, so much so that several of my close friends don’t know that my Dad died when I was young and up until very recently, Mr NHM didn’t know the anniversary of my Dad’s death.
But it’s part of my psyche.
My Dad died when he was 36 years old. When I turned 36, it was in the back of my mind all year. When Mr NHM turned 36, I spent the whole year worrying about him.
When Mr NHM is more than 15 minutes late home, I’ve already planned his funeral and I’ve moved onto what would happen in the the second year after his death.
If Miss NHM sleeps beyond 8am (it has happened before!), part of me is whooping at the luxury of a lie in and the other part is planning out how we would tell the grandparents that she’s died.
It’s completely irrational, I know it is.
It’s such a waste of energy. Energy that I could be using to do something productive with. But I’ve learned to just go with it now and let the irrationality of it all wash over me until everything is as it should be, Mr NHM has returned home or Miss NHM has woken up and we have gotten on with our day.
But it’s always there. That irrational fear that I don’t think you can ever avoid if one of your parents dies when you are young.
I spent decades grieving after my Dad’s death. Grieving for him, grieving for the life we lost and being sucked into my mothers grief. Such a waste of time and energy.
But Miss NHM being born, it healed me.
I was blessed enough that I fell in love with her as soon as I saw her. She brought light into my life like nothing else ever had, even more than the epic love affair that Mr NHM and I were so blessed to have when we first met.
Miss NHM’s birth helped me to see the light in the world.
I know it’s likely to get worse too, this completely irrational planning. Miss NHM is 5 years and 11 months old and I know where she is every minute of the day. But as she gets older, as she learns independence and tests her boundaries (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, sigh), I know I’m not always going to know where she is.
I put myself in some incredibly dangerous situations when I became a teenager, probably because of what I had experienced in my earlier life. I REALLY hope that she doesn’t!
I also hope that she will never completely understand the irrational worry that I will have when I don’t know where she is.
But I’m not thinking about that now. I am extremely thankful that she is young enough not to understand any of this and that my worries are completely ridiculous.
Even if I have theoretically planned her funeral and the first year of her death out!!!?!?!!!!