My dad passed away more than 30 years ago and there was a time I thought I would never get over losing him. It seemed as if everything I did and everything that happened to me was filtered through that loss. I felt, at 15, that people looked at me differently and that it was obvious to everyone that I was different.
For a long time, I couldn’t talk about what had happened without my voice catching in my throat and my face burning. In fact, I think it was close to a decade before I could talk about my dad at all without having to forcibly keep my emotions under control.
Even now, after all this time has passed, I often find that my grief for other losses is amplified. On several occasions, I’ve been to funerals for distant relatives or acquaintances, people whose passing shouldn’t leave a significant hole in my life, and found myself disproportionately upset.
Sometimes people ask how long it takes to recover from a loss and I always think it’s like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” It takes as long as it takes and, even though our society seems to have an unspoken timeline for grief, nobody else can dictate when it’s time to be “over it.”
When Life Hands You Lemons…
I’m a firm believer that no experience is ever wasted, so I’ve lent some of my experiences with grief to my fictional characters. Although Kat’s story in A Strange Companion is very different to mine, I have borrowed a lot from my own emotional journey for her. I’ve also written parts of my story as essays or melded them into short stories. I recently published a story about my dad that I first wrote for the spoken word event, Spark Off Rose. You can read Lost and Found on Wattpad.
I hope to share more of these stories with you soon. Stay tuned!