Just weeks after my fourteenth birthday, my Dad died in a car accident.
No words can describe the finality of that, and the depth of the vacuum in the Dad-shaped empty space which would be there for the rest of my life. That much is common, I am sure, for anyone who is bereaved. But for a child – and for all that I was forced to grow up overnight, that is what I still was – there are added painful dimensions to cope with.
For me, I desperately needed to talk it through, to tell my story. But I couldn’t. Not with anyone in the family, because they were in the middle of it too. Not with friends, because I was different now. And not with grown-ups.
Adults generally don’t deal well with talking about death, but with our tragic circumstances, and my being a child, they simply didn’t know what to do. I vividly remember the awkward silence and glances which seemed to follow me as I entered a room at that time.
All I needed was someone to say “What exactly happened to your Dad?”; or “Tell me how you feel now”; or “How are things at home?”
But no one did. So I talked to myself, pretending I was telling someone.
It was around four years later before anyone asked, and listened, and let me tell my story. There have been a very small number since, and they all remain very special people in my life (like the mountain-peaks which stand out like islands above the mist).
I have carried my story, inside me, all my life. And when my guard is down it still has the power to rush in without warning and shatter me.
There was no Grief Encounter for me. Help me change that, for today’s children and their families.
If you can sponsor me here then I would really appreciate it; but if not I will understand.
But I will ask that you please visit http://www.griefencounter.org.uk/.
Make a note of their details. Tell other people about them. Just in case.