We are days away from the anniversaries of both my Dear Dad & Conor. Without checking today’s date I can feel my mood changing. One minute I’m crying, next I am cranky and then I am ok again. This cycle repeats itself throughout the day and has left me exhausted. It is like my wellbeing is in synch with the change from sunny to showery weather conditions. These are days I want to simply get through yet they are lives I also want to celebrate.
Time is a strange concept. It’s 3 years since Conor lived and died. Sometimes those three years can feel like just 3 days ago while simultaneously they can feel like a lifetime. I am getting closer to accepting his death without constantly questioning “why?” There remains a sadness and a Conor shaped hole in our lives. There should be a 3 year old boy getting excited about his birthday. There should be a 3 year old boy requesting a cake decorated with his favourite character. My memories of Conor are becoming more hazy over time. I am also struggling to picture what he might look or be like as a 3 year old. Like other bereaved parents, I grieve the future that we’re not getting to have with him. In the absence of more tangible memories, I cling onto Conor’s name. Holidays are spent writing Conor on new beaches. His name spoken or written by others tells me that while specific memories may be fading, Conor is a little boy whose life mattered.
This year we will mark both days. “Dad Day” is one of remembrance. We’ll spend the day doing things Dad liked to do when he came to visit. We’ll attempt to complete the Irish Times crossword over a pint in one of Dublin’s old pubs. We’ll raise a glass to my Dear Dad and our boys’ Grandad John. I’m never quite sure whether to refer to Conor’s day as his birthday or anniversary. The two events are wrapped up in one day. In the spirit of a birthday I’ll make a cake for Conor (watch this space for a photo). We’ll visit and tidy his grave before writing his name on the beach.
In my head I have been thinking of all I would like to say to both my Dear Dad & Conor but my words don’t yet do it justice. I miss them terribly and I love them to Conor’s star and back. I hope they would be proud of their daughter and mother for their presence and absence in my life has shaped me into the person I am today.