My dad was a very loving person who always put other people before himself. He loved sport, especially running, and I think of him when I am playing netball. Although my dad was dealing with many problems, he always has a smile on his face and made us all laugh.
I lost my dad to suicide when I was nine.
One of my main supports is my mum. My mum is an extremely strong woman who I will forever look up to. She raised both me and my sister alone from very young ages, always supporting us and making sure we never went without; I would not be the woman I am today without her. I would like to give thanks to my mum for constantly being by my side and keeping the memories of my dad alive.
One of the most important aspects of grief that my mum taught me was to never feel uncomfortable or guilty when telling others about the passing of my dad. As my dad died when I was young I have met so many new people throughout college and now university who are unaware of my past.
Telling people about the death of my dad has not become easier over the years. The sudden hearing of the words ‘Father’s Day’ being brought up in conversation instantly made me uncomfortable. I never understood if I was afraid of the overwhelming sympathy, people treating me differently or the awkward silence which followed after.
Over time, I began to understand that it is not an awkward or uncomfortable situation as it is a part of my life which has made me a stronger person. Behind the words “my dad passed away when I was nine” is a remembrance of happy memories with my dad, life lessons and experiences which should be embraced rather than hidden behind those eight words.
My mum introduced me and my sister to Winston’s Wish when we were younger and it showed us the ways we can remember our dad. I was unaware of how many children had also lost a parent at such a young age; I no longer felt alone when reading the stories of other children on Winston’s Wish.
I only realised the importance of writing down joyful memories of my dad as I started to grow older. My mind began to blur out those memories and as much as I want to remember the sound of his voice, his smile and the sound of his laughter, I cannot.
When I look back at the memories I wrote down when I was nine, the many picture books and framed photos around the house, my eyes do not fill with tears. I can smile and be thankful of the time I had with my dad.
I learnt that it is okay to forget these memories, as the memory of my dad lives in what I do today and the person I am today. He is forever with me.
It is very important to remember your loved ones who are no longer here as it helps you focus on the happiness you shared with them and a reminder of the love they have for you.
Here are several ways that I have found to remember your loved ones:
- Picture books
- Writing happy memories down
- Writing a letter to them
- Talking to them, telling them about your achievements
- Celebrating their birthday
- Visiting their favourite place or a memorial stone
- Talking about them to friends or family, keeping their memory alive