I had a phone call at work from my mum and I know from my mum, she has a tone in her voice which is her something wrong tone. My mum said we’ve been to the hospital and…..she couldn’t say the word, she couldn’t say cancer, she couldn’t say it to me. She said every word except cancer. At that point it was the first time I’d experienced an illness which loads of people know to be a very scary illness. I am an optimistic person but at that moment in time I froze, just went numb. I started to think about things I’d never really thought about before, sad thoughts. I’ve always had a close relationship with my dad it was like, “oh no, not my dad”.
You don’t think about that happening to your dad because he’s always been this big strong figure in my life who’s always been around. My dad’s the most optimistic person in the world, he’s always half full, he can always see the brighter, lighter side of things. It hit him but he was always optimistic about it. He’d never really talk to me about it that much.
At this point in time I wasn’t a very open person about my emotions either. Then something just happened where I wanted to talk about it, but my mum and dad wouldn’t. It was tough. Really frustratingly it felt like it was a big secret. My dad was embarrassed he was poorly, my mum didn’t want anyone to know. It almost felt like she was ashamed. I said, “don’t be”.
I did a lot for my dad. I thought, “right what can I find out that will help him?” so I went off and did all sorts of research on diets that may be helpful and he was really open about it. But I was still finding it really tough. I’d wake up in the middle of the night just thinking. You go to bed thinking about it and then suddenly something would happen, a thought would come into your mind and you’d think the worst.
From the point my dad passed away I went through a range of emotions. Obviously when it happened I went through extreme sadness. I was really upset and sad and I wanted to bite a brick wall, so frustrated, this can’t be right, I went into overdrive, I’ve got to look after everyone, I switched my emotions off, it was really strange. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to grieve, something happened to me, I started looking after everyone, pulling everyone together
Then I got really poorly and got really low. The doctor called it grief and depression. I’d wake up a lot and fall apart crying, get ok again and speak to my mum a lot. I kept waking up and questioning why this had happened, it’s not fair.
Eventually I started to be really open about losing my dad and talking about it really made the difference for me. I felt like once I had said it then it was out in the open and like I wasn’t struggling on my own with it anymore. It was only then that my emotions out the other side, many, many years later. I kept trying to hold all these things together for all those years.