He passed away at 5am, then we had a cup of tea with the nurses at Thorpe Hall hospice in the lounge, before we went home, I changed into my school uniform and I laid on my bedroom floor and cried.
Then I got up and sat my first GCSE exam at 9am. And another at 1pm.
It was the most surreal day.
But it feels even more surreal to think it’s been seven years since I’ve seen you.
I don’t know where the time has gone. It feels like a lifetime ago, but you’re also etched so clearly in my mind.
Losing a parent is a soul destroying, world crushing, life changing experience.
My Dad was an absolute legend. An extraordinary man. With so much love, energy, laughter and determination firing through his body.
The funny thing with time is after years pass you can think to yourself that you’re the same.
That seven years on, you’ve done nothing. The person you imagined you’d be and how you imagined you’d feel about grief and loss isn’t there.
That you’ve not moved forward in anyway. But the double edged sword with grief is regardless of whether you want to, you are always moving forward.
So then, I reflect on what has happened and I’m reminded of how much we’ve done as a family and how often we’ve thought of you on those days. Milestone birthdays (Mum’s 50th, Josh’s 21st, my 21st), graduations, results days, christmases, plays, concerts, holidays, BBQs, walks, cycles, moving away, break ups, new friends, reconnecting with old friends.
And I’m filled with that aching in my chest again because I really wish you’d been there.
I’m going to write a bit more about what grief feels like seven years on in another post, but today I wanted to remind myself of seven things I’ve done in the past seven years, seven things we’ve done as family and friends in memory of you and seven things I’d like to do in the next seven years.
Seven things I’ve done in the past seven years:
- Finished my school education – GCSEs, A-Levels. Dad would be very proud of this as a Headteacher of a secondary school.
- Become a published writer and editor.
- Went to University, moved to York and got my degree!
- Got a Masters in Creative Writing.
- Got a screenplay in development – now to get it made!
- Visited America, with friends and with Mum and my brother Josh. We did the West Coast road trip we’d always dreamed of as a family.
- Met wonderful people, visited lots of new places, and have a bucket full of brilliant memories from it all.
Seven things we’ve done in your memory:
My family and family friends, Dad’s friends and colleagues have done the wackiest, wildest, wonderful things in his memory.
- In total, we’ve (family and friends of my Dad) raised over £250,000 for Sue Ryder in his memory.
- A school within your trust has been named after you, The Martin Bacon Academy in Northstowe. It has just opened, but not officially due to the pandemic – didn’t see that one coming when I imagined ahead.
- You won the Headteacher of the Year award.
- A beer was created for you and named after you, MBA Ale.
- I did a speech at St James’ Palace about our experience at Thorpe Hall for the Duchess of Gloucester, a board of donors and the head office team at Sue Ryder to raise funds for the new hospice.
- Marathons, triathlons, runs, bake sales, walks, songs, concerts – you name it, it’s been done in your memory!
- Many blogs, emails and letters have been written about you for Sue Ryder’s campaigns and for my lil old blog.
Seven things I want to do in the next seven years:
- Run the bloody half marathon in your memory (it’s been cancelled twice but I’m determined to do it!)
- Have a novel published.
- Continue to do events in your memory for Sue Ryder. Maybe, just maybe a marathon (but no promises, let’s see how the half goes first!)
- Visit New Zealand and Australia
- Have a screenplay in production aka being made.
- Meet lots of new people and make happy memories
- Blog more about my adventures, grief and mental health to try and help others.
I could go on and on. I’m incredibly proud to be my father’s daughter and grateful for the time we had together and the lasting impact he’s had on my life and the lives of so many others.
Are you grieving for someone? I would highly recommend listening to GriefCast, reading The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, and talking to others or a professional and writing your thoughts and feelings down.