Two Years On
Posted by dirkgently1066
25th Feb 2016

It is two years on but I remember the details like it was yesterday.

Walking over the bridge back to my car, the phone call that told me something was wrong. Packing a bag, driving that lonely drive, the tears already forming as I sped along the dark roads.

Walking into the hospital, attempting to compose myself, not wanting to break. And then walking into that room and seeing him there. And there was no holding back the flood.

I didn’t care who else was there in that moment. I would express my emotion with no sense of shame or embarrassment. As the evening wore on, reality set in. This would be his last night with us, there was no coming back. And even in these darkest of circumstances we found moments of light, an impromptu picnic breaking out as I quipped, ‘It’s what he would have wanted,’ the nurse having to come and tell us off because we were being too noisy.

The next day my dad died. He was 67.

I wonder what he would make of my life since. That he would be proud I have no doubt. But what would he make of the man I have become?

In our last conversation, he asked about my job. I know he wanted me to find fulfilment and stability. The letter has been achieved, the former still eludes me.

He knew of my desire to be published. I am far from being a paid writer but the self-publication of three of my own books, independent publication of competition winning stories and a regular gig writing about videogames gives me a sense of achievement.

And of course there are his beloved grandchildren. The girls still talk about him and tell me how much they miss him and want to feed him chocolate biscuits. We talk about him being up in the stars, looking after the ‘up’ balloon that my daughter accidentally let go of once. He never got the chance to meet his grandson. Perhaps when he is old enough, the girls can help explain who grandad was.

Fundamentally I think my dad wanted only one thing for me; to be happy. He knew of my struggles with depression and anxiety. He knew of the time spent at The Priory. He knew of my internal battle to push my limits whilst wracked with self-doubt.

And it is here where I find myself still falling short. I am not depressed, yet I find that there remains an underlying sadness to my character. I make friends quickly yet just as quickly retreat, consciously pulling myself away from social interaction, creating my own divide so that I end up looking in from the outside. It becomes a vicious circle as I desire an invitation to join the group whilst at the same time waiting by the door to make a swift exit. This in turn feeds thoughts of resentment and bitterness, judgement and comparisons built up and framed in my own mind.

But then happiness is not a destination, it is a consequence of the journey and in many ways, mine has only just begun.

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