The Person-Shaped Hole

I haven’t been able to write for a while.

My father passed away a couple of months ago, and though it was what we wanted for him – painless, in his sleep, at home – I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t devastating.

It’s a rite of passage to be expected, but it’s still immensely painful.

Even harder, or perhaps, as hard in a different, additional way is that, as a carer, you’re suddenly left with a void in your life. The future carries a giant person-shaped hole that you keep falling into every time if you think ahead.

The person you shaped your career, and life, and obligations around is no longer there.

It takes a long time, I think, to rearrange the pieces of your life to cover that void, but I think it does happen, slowly. And I can’t fear feeling okay, because before I know it I remember the grief, and, like an attack, it’s there, fresh as ever, leaving just as mysteriously. No need to feel guilty about feeling normal, when the pain still resurfaces, if less frequently now.

I managed by living day to day, or when at my worst – minute to minute, so did my mother.

We were never promised forever with him, we never are, with the ones we loved. So we tell ourselves that logical truth, and then the emotional truth that he’s still with us, in our heart, and in who we are. It’s something that can’t be proved but feels utterly correct.

The life-span of a carer has its limits.

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