Twenty years have passed since my father died. It was July 22nd 1994. I remember it like it was yesterday. Strange thinking back to that time. I was never close to my dad and he wasn’t a one to show his feelings. He never told me he loved me or showed me physical affection. He was of a different generation that didn’t show their feelings. So we can allow them that fault and everything will be okay. It’s just that we have to deal with the bullshit afterwards.

I will never forget that my close friends were all on tenterhooks. Hoping that they wouldn’t say the wrong thing and putting their foot in it. No one did they were wonderful, patient and kind. Having to tell people was the worst thing about that time. It upset them. I think it was possible that they saw the hurt and pain on my face and knew that what had happened had be traumatic.

I learned a lot from that time. Don’t take your friends for granted and realise that time you have with your parents should be precious. Looking at the dreadful tragedy of flight MH17 and the literal grief that it has caused we should hold those who we love close and our parents closer still.

I am not scared of death; others and my own. It is a natural part of our life. People are frightened of grief as it is an isolating experience. I would never advise people to try and contain or stifle it. If it’s there let it out.

So will raise a glass or ten to Dad and have the memories to reflect.


the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!