Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18, 2009

It is SO cold here today. Much of the country has had some snow, but we haven't, much to Charlie's annoyance. Even so, it was a bright and sunny zero degrees when I dropped him off at school this morning.
I hate it when he's at school and the weather is cold, because I know he struggles so much more in this kind of weather. I have to admit, this time of year really does bring out the over-protective mama bear in me, because the need to keep him warm and as pink as possible runs very deep! I hate the thought of him being out in the playground with his coat unzipped and his gloves flying on their string, rather than on his hands!
He went staggering into school this morning as the wind whistled round him, slightly breathless, slightly blue, and weighed down by an enormous bag of presents for the school caretaker/teachers/dinnerladies etc...
I asked him if he could manage to carry it, and he assured me he could, but as I watched him through the window of the school hall, he gave up carrying the bag and started dragging it behind him.
Oh dear. I dread to think what state those presents will be in by the time they finally get to their recipients!
Anyway, I'm going back up to school again in a little while, complete with my flashing antlers, to help out with Christmas lunch. At least I'll be able to make sure his coat's zipped up and he's got his gloves on today!
I can't believe today is the last day of term, and that Christmas is only a week away. I've almost finished the Christmas shopping, but the Christmas cards are still unwritten. I think I'll have to make myself sit down with my address book and do them over the weekend. I've missed the second-class posting date, so it'll have to be first-class stamps. Doh. The Royal Mail are making a fortune out of me this year!
I ordered some flowers yesterday, to take to the cemetery for Dad. I'm pretty sure he'd moan at me for wasting my money - he wouldn't see the point of it at all. Ever practical, my dad.
And though, like I've said before, I really don't feel like he's at the cemetery, I just feel like I can't not get him something for Christmas.
I've had a list on my computer for years of all the people we buy Christmas presents for (and there are quite a few of them!) so I print the same list out every year to keep track of where I'm at with the shopping, and who I still need to buy for.
Dad is the first name on the list. He always has been. It's hard to know what to do really - it's horrid either way.
I suppose I could delete him from the list, but that feels completely wrong - like I'm pretending he was never here. But on the other hand, seeing his name at the top of my list with a blank box next to it, where I'd normally write what I'd bought him, is horrible too.
There's just no way around it.
Likewise, I've still got him programmed into my phone, so when Mum rings, it flashes up 'Dad and Mum' on the screen. I can't change that either.
I don't want to really. It's strange. I know he's not here with us now, but when I see his name on my Christmas list, or on my phone, it's like I can pretend, just a tiny bit, for a brief second, that he's still here.
It's still so unreal. I look at his picture, and feel the ache of missing him, but at the same time I really can't believe that he's really gone.
I've never felt this way before when someone has died. I've lost quite a few people I've loved over the years - a child, a fiance, a grandparent - and I've always felt the weight of the finality of the situation - at least this side of Heaven.
But with Dad, it just feels different. I know disbelief and denial are all stages of grieving, but it's never felt like this before.
Maybe it's because Dad was always there - for as long as I can remember, there's been Dad. In all my memories, he was always just there.
And I just can't quite figure out how my life works without him in it.
It's a strange old thing, loss.
There are millions of people in this world who've lost their dads. Millions and millions of them.
Some of my friends have lost their dads.
But at the moment, it feels like I'm the only one. I feel like I have a monopoly on how horrible it feels to be without my dad, and that I feel worse than all those other millions of people.
I see other people who've lost their dads carrying on, chatting, laughing, Christmas shopping. And I suppose, from the outside, that's what people see when they see me.
Someone who's a bit sensitive at the moment, maybe. Who's a bit touchy when it comes to cancer, or dying, or dads. But otherwise, someone who's carrying on, and is basically back to normal.
But I don't really feel like that. I just feel like there's a big hole. And I don't like it.
Where's my dad, with his Polyfilla when I need him to fill the big hole in?
I suppose that's why losing a parent is such a rite of passage.
Now I have to find my own Polyfilla, work out how to mix it, find my own tool to spread it, and have a go at doing it myself.
I guess I should count myself lucky that my dad taught me so well. And, if for no other reason than because I know he'd expect me to, I'll just keep on going. Putting one foot in front of the other, and learning how to fill in the holes as I go.
Anyway, I'd better go and find my antlers. School Christmas lunch is calling.
Back soon.

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