How Do We Live Without You

I have put off writing this post so many times. How do you talk about losing someone. How it has affected everything you are and everything you do? As the first anniversary draws near I’m not sure what to expect. I fear that I’m going to relive the whole awful time surrounding the passing of my Dad. Not wanting to but feeling that I need to as closure, to accept the loss. Death is a fact of life. We all know this. I understand it well and having lived the country life I have seen my share of it with animals and pets.

Losing someone you love is different, so very different. Watching someone die is a very profound thing. It changes you and that moment can never really be erased. I pray not to experience it too many times in my life.

Getting home was traumatic. Unfortunately I missed my connection in LA so I was stuck for 24 hours in a hotel room waiting for the next days flight. There are no hourly commuter flights to Sydney. Being alone and helpless in a hotel room 16,000 miles away from where you want to be is distressing. While I waited there and later on in the gate lounge, it occurred to me that I might not make it. Communicating with mum was showing this to be an increasing chance with every hour I sat and with 15 hours of travel ahead of me. The years rolled by in my head, the lessons, the conversations, the events. What if I didn’t make it, would I be forever regretful? How would I handle it? I came to realise that I would be ok. A calmness just came over me like he was there and knew what I was fretting about. There was nothing I needed to rush to his bedside to say, we were good. We were connected. If I didn’t make it would be ok.

In the end I made it. Everything happens for a reason and I know now that if I had gotten there a day earlier then my brother would have missed being there. He was driving interstate hours away. My niece got to spend an entire day with him, that wouldn’t have happened either. God’s timing is always right, even when we think the timing is so wrong and we’re so worried, afraid or upset.

It’s how Dad wanted it. He waited until we were all there with him, an extra two days in fact. He died 3 hours after I landed.

It was so sudden, nobody was prepared for it. He was well, had a week in hospital, then he was gone. I know it was the best way for him. No prolonged illness, just time to go. For us left behind though it was a shock and very difficult to process. I wonder if it is any easier when you have time to prepare and realise that the person is better off going, rather than clinging to a life of pain and suffering. In that instance I would imagine you have time to process some of your grief. To accept an inevitable fate. I’ve not experienced it like that. Of all the people I’ve lost in my life it has been suddenly.

It was a tough week for my mum. She was at the hospital from 6am to midnight everyday. Very worried about what was happening, distressed I was stuck, frightened and facing it all alone. The extended family rallied of course but I believe that with those situations you really do face it alone. No one else is going through it with you.We can only be there to support.

As hard as this last year has been for me, it is 100 times worse for mum. She has lost her partner, she is all alone in the world. No one to share her burden. She has to make a new life now. It’s terrible to be so far away. I find it very difficult when all I have is the telephone. Calling twice a day is all I can do. She has moved ahead but it’s a two steps forward , one step back process. There’s no timeline with grief. It hits anytime, anywhere. Sometime all at once.

For me, being removed by distance has it’s difficulties. I haven’t had the time to grieve. I know my trip back will be tough. It will all be so fresh, like it just happened, whereas everyone there has had time to go through the motions of it all. They’ve visited the grave and gotten used to Dad not being in his chair. That is all yet to come for my family.

The anniversary will have passed by the time we travel home in August, maybe that’s a good thing. I don’t think it ever gets better, just different. The pain will always be there. There’s a gaping hole in our lives. Forever gone. Some days the loss is just too great.

Hopefully with each passing day we’ll all learn how to cope a little better without you here.

Gone but with us always and forever.

Bruce Maxwell Smith
18 August 1938-8 July 2011

Comments 4

  1. Hey Molley, Thanks for this post.

    I think our Dad’s are always with us – I’ve heard that the grief fades but I haven’t experienced that yet. It’s not to say that I spend my days crying but I still get that sudden overwhelming rush of pain and the tears come. Usually when I least expect it and over some of the craziest things.

    My Dad died after a prolonged fight with lung cancer, did it help that we knew what was coming? I’m not sure that it helps make the grief any easier – we did get a chance to say goodbye though which was something. We also had the chance to sort through his things as a family when he moved into care. I don’t think that I would have coped with that straight after we lost him.

    I still miss him terribly and often catch myself getting ready to phone him before I remember. He is always in my heart though, just as I know I was always in his.

    A friend said to me that while grief is hard, it shows how much you loved someone and were loved back. And that my friend, is a beautiful thing to have!

  2. Has it really been a year? It seems like only yesterday. I still feel your sadness and your loss, and it hasn’t been dampened with time. Love you. x

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