One of my Dad’s favourite songs was Five Years Time by Noah and the Whale, he used his authority in school to get the entire band to learn the Ukulele to play it in their Spring Concert. Then the Summer concert, then the following Spring one again. The band even played it at his funeral.
I always wondered how I’d feel once he’d been gone for five years and where I’d be… I imagined probably not a zoo.
Somehow, that time has arrived.
I’m not sure where the time has gone. But it also does feels like a lifetime ago since our last hug.
In those five years, I’ve hit some of the milestones I was terrified of when I was 16. I turned 18 and opened the bottle of champagne Mum and Dad had bought me when I was 12 in France. I completed my GCSEs and A-levels and had all my results days. I moved away from home and went to University in York, and then graduated last year.
When I found out Dad had cancer, I worried about my graduation – and about my future beyond it.
I thought of every single day ahead when he wouldn’t be there: to see me finish school; celebrate birthdays and Christmases; graduate from university; move out; get married; have kids; grow older…
It was overwhelming at 16 to know that each of those days – and every day from the day we lost him – would have someone missing; a void I could never fill of the person who took up a colossal space in my life.
In order to get up and continue, rather than face this new future, I just focused on the day at hand as opposed to the days ahead that I was afraid of. It’s easier to focus on a wave in the ocean, than the whole tide.
As the days passed, eventually ones I feared arrived. But was my graduation as scary or sad as I imagined it would be?
Not really – thankfully.
With each day – and, in turn, each mini milestone – I got more used to the new family dynamic: just my Mum, my brother and I. After more than our fair share of family adventures, I became very grateful to have them with me as opposed to focusing on the one person who couldn’t be there too.
I focused on what I still had, and it all became more bearable.
I also still feel that he watches and guides me, even if he isn’t physically here to do so. Sometimes I just know exactly what he would say. When I was 16 and overwhelmed by my future without Dad, I didn’t or couldn’t imagine all the remarkable new people I’d know.
I spent graduation dinner with my family and one of my best friends and her family. It wasn’t how I thought my graduation would be or what I’d planned originally – it came together at the last minute – but it was amazing.
Even though my Dad wasn’t there to celebrate or embarrass me, I knew he was watching somewhere, amazed of how far we’d all come in five years.
I still enjoyed the milestones – just as he’d have wanted me to.
Even though there are many more milestones ahead; days I’m heartbroken to face without him – I know that I’ll face them, when they arrive, and they most likely won’t be as bad as I envisioned.
Who knows, in Five Year’s Time, “you might just prove that your wrong”. I have.