I’ve always wanted to write about my Dad but I just didn’t know how.
It isn’t necessarily a topic that applies to the masses or is of interest to many, but it is incredibly important to me.
By not writing about my relationship with my Dad, especially now I am a parent myself, I felt like something was missing, like I had something I need to write down and get out, but I just didn’t know where to start.
I lost my Dad when I was 22 years old.
I have older parents; it comes when you’re the youngest of four siblings with fairly-large age gaps. My Dad had never been in perfect health but what I had feared for most of my teenage years, to lose my Dad, unfortunately came to pass just when I didn’t expect it.
I won’t go into the details of what happened, especially as it isn’t just my story and I have to protect the privacy of my family but I wanted to talk about what life is like as a Daddy’s girl without a Dad and the emotions I feel watching my daughter develop those same lifelong bonds with Ryan.
I remember standing at the podium in front of everyone at my Dad’s funeral, reading 1/5th of the eulogy, wearing an outfit I’ll never be able to get rid of but knowing I’ll never be able to wear it again either…
I hardly even know what I said… it was a piece of writing I wish I’d kept but couldn’t.
I do remember saying, “now I’m a Daddy’s girl without a Dad”.
I didn’t even know what that would mean until I lived it but I honestly didn’t imagine that my overwhelming emotion would be anger.
Anger at the situation, anger at the world.
How could this have happened?
Why was my Dad taken from us?
We all grieve in different ways and I’m not exactly proud of my process (not that pride should even come into it) but because I became a person who regularly pushed people away.
After a few years consumed as I was, I believed that I was meant to be alone.
How could anyone become my partner, to have that lifelong relationship that my parents showed me was possible when that person would never meet my Dad?
How could I get married when my Dad would never walk me down the aisle?
How could I have children who would never meet their Grandad?
I felt this way for years.
Until I met Ryan.
When I met Ryan it was the first person in years who I felt was there to listen, to support me, someone who was wholly on my side, and I on his.
Once I met Ryan I felt like the anger lifted and I genuinely felt like grieving was a process rather than my own personal rain cloud (like Eeyore and just as cute).
I will always miss my Dad. I cannot talk or write about him and not cry.
Sometimes, some days it hits me like an unexpected wave and I sob uncontrollably… but I no longer do this alone.
This was the start of the next phase of my life, a life I never thought I’d have.
When I found out we were pregnant it was 9 months of coming to terms with the fact that my baby would have one Grandad but that she was lucky to have one.
When Isabelle arrived, sometimes I got a lump in my throat thinking she would only ever know one Grandad but knowing that I would tell her stories of my Dad forever gave me comfort.
I would cradle her in my arms, in the middle of the night, alone in the darkness, the silence penetrated only by my whispers as I rocked her back and forth, telling her how much her Grandad would love her and he was looking down on both of us, smiling.
Watching Ryan and Isabelle’s bond grow is bittersweet.
Knowing the strength of a daughter’s love for her Daddy, the connection they are building everyday; sometimes I just watch them and smile, sometimes I cry, because I can see how much Isabelle loves her Dad and I am overwhelmed with the thought that my daughter has that connection with her Daddy, the man I chose, and nothing can ever take that from her.
Sometimes I feel jealous.
As a Mum to a Daddy’s girl you spend a lot of time grateful for their connection and thankful for the time and effort Ryan spends being an amazing Dad.
You spend other times jealous that whilst you have an amazing relationship with your baby girl, you will never have that bond that they share.
Sometimes a knot of jealousy in my stomach that I can no longer have that relationship with my Dad.
Some may think that is totally ridiculous but it is honest.
9 months of pregnancy, labour, birth, breastfeeding, sleep deprived nights etc. and all the Mum guilt that comes with that and then your toddler calls out for “Daddy!” in the night.
Relieved that I can stay in bed… heart broken just a tiny bit.
But I understand, probably more definitely than anything else that I know, the power of that love between a daughter and her Father. No matter the tiny pangs of jealously that I sometimes feel, there is no better feeling than for me to know that my daughter is blessed with being a Daddy’s girl, just like I was.