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Ashleigh: My first Father’s Day without my dad

Ashleigh: My first Father’s Day without my dad

My name is Ashleigh and I am 17 years old. My dad passed away after battling cancer for several years when I was 16 years old, two months before I turned 17.

Dad was more than just a dad to me, he was my best friend. I knew I could always speak to him about anything and never feel judged. I knew that he would do anything for me. Ever since he passed away, I felt as though a part of me was gone because we were so incredibly close.

My dad had so many talents. He was great at building things for the house. I remember at all our house barbecues, he would make the benches and anything you could possibly think of. He would always help me with my school projects, teach me self-defence, and was the most amazing DJ ever. He had a real love for reggae music and so did I. I feel so much closer to him and feel his presence through music which is something I love as I know I’ll never stop missing him. 

Ashleigh sitting on a sofa and smiling

It’s taken my mind quite a while to truly process that he’s died because I didn’t want to believe it. I knew that if I believed and accepted it that I’d have to face what that meant and that’s something I couldn’t do for months. Even whilst writing this, I haven’t truly accepted it. My mind just can’t seem to.

Winston’s Wish has been absolutely amazing, I don’t know what I would do without them. I felt so alone during this time and constantly bottled up my feelings. With the help of counselling, it completely opened my eyes to how good it felt to let out how I was truly feeling. The amount of support I received was truly wonderful. The methods and advice on what to do and simply having someone to listen to you, has all helped me to be able to cope with the loss of my dad.

My first Father’s Day without my dad

This will be my first Father’s Day without my dad. I know I’m going to find it really difficult without him because it was always a special day. A day I got to thank him for being such a great dad and taking care of me.

I would always celebrate Father’s Day with my dad every year. We would either celebrate it at home with presents and lots of laughs or we’d go out to eat. Last year, I celebrated Father’s Day with my dad and my two other sisters whilst he was getting slightly more ill. I’m so thankful that we got to share that day together.

I will still celebrate this Father’s Day, although I’ll be so heartbroken that I can’t share it with him. I will buy a card and a gift I know he’d love and go to one of our favourite places we used to go to.

Ashleigh and her dad smiling in front of a Christmas tree

My advice to you on Father’s Day

Struggling with your first Father’s Day without your dad? You’re not alone, although it can sometimes feel that way. My advice to you is to try and remember the happy memories you shared together and to focus on the things you did together. That’s one of the things that keep me going.

Don’t hold in your emotions! I’m someone who was constantly doing this. Let it out no matter how you feel because it does more damage than good when you hold in how you feel.

My last piece of advice would be to write down your feelings. It may sound silly but this is something I tried and felt a lot better afterwards. This isn’t something you need to give to anyone, it’s just for you as a way to let your feelings out.

No matter what, remember that you are never alone in how you feel.

Read more

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Grace: How I remember my dad on Father’s Day