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Sunday 25 November 2012

How one date can change your life. Forever.

One date can send your head into a spin.

I was reading the Sunday Telegraph this morning and suddenly... I felt sick. My stomach churned. I ran to the loo.

It was a 'nothing' date to anyone else - just a retrospective look at what the music charts looked like on this week in 1985. But that date was December 1, 1985. A date seared in my brain forever. And for devastating reasons.

This was the date my father was killed. In a car accident. On his way to his second job on a Sunday morning. Just several hundred metres up the very road on which we lived.

It ripped our lives apart forever. We have never recovered. We never will.

There's so much to say about this life-altering date and all that has happened in the almost 27 years since.

I don't really know where to start.

Perhaps I should start with the fact that I am still insanely jealous of women who have relationships with their dads. And that I don't wish them ill harm for a second, but I wonder why my dad got the short end of the stick. Why did he deserve to die and others get to enjoy their lives well into retirement?

That feeling of feeling severely "ripped off" is one I have grappled with for years. Only in recent years have I sorta, kinda made my peace with that. But not really.

On that fateful morning, not only did my father lose his life in a brutal way - and it pains me to the core to think about how he suffered in death - but a huge chunk of our souls were snatched and can never be replenished. My older brothers lost their dad, their father figure, the man to guide them through life.

My mother lost her partner in life, her rock, her main man in helping raise three kids barely under 18.

My mother never remarried, never wanted to, it never even entered the equation of her lonely future ahead.

I have said lots of late: "I have been my mum's husband for 26 years, and I am a little tired." If you knew me well you'd know it's not being disrespectful. It's just that carrying that emotional load for all this time has had a huge impact on my own emotional wellbeing.

You'd understand if it happened to you.

And me... well I lost my faith in my faith. Not entirely, but it tested me. And the deep hurt I feel in my broken heart is still present. Time may have dulled it a tad, but only because I am now a woman of 40 with a plate so full I can barely keep up. This does not mean my love for my dad is diminished; it's just that other life happenings have filled my headspace.

My memory of all the good times with my dad have been vastly erased. I am sure there is a psychological explanation for this: when you erase good memories along with bad ones as a defence mechanism. Whatever that is called: I have it. And I hate it.

I was denied of an entire future with my dad. He was denied of a relationship with his daughter, his future son in law, his future grandkids. It really guts me that my kids don't have a grandfather to speak of. That they will never, ever know how insanely proud my typical Italian robust, jovial, awesome papa' would've been with them. Downtime with his daughter's kids is the least this beautiful human being deserved for working his guts out to give us a fantastic education, a lovely home, and food on the table for a working class, blue-collar, ethnic family of five.

Seeing that date in the paper spiralled me back to age 13. When I was a young, emotionally-unsure, awkward girl, who was neither cool nor hot but definitely brainy. And funny. Somehow over the years I have ensured that day didn't define me entirely and I continued to be someone with a sense of humour, always looking at the lighter, brighter side. There could be worse. And boy did I learn that the hard way. My empathy factor reached new heights. Suddenly, my DNA was overflowing with the empathetic gene, and I have always rallied for those less fortunate than me. This may have been a turning point in my life when I realised that being cocky about my future was never going to serve me well. [I can sniff out people who have never experienced death or family hardship a mile away. And their arrogance kinda annoys me. Whatever. They'll work it out].

I am convinced I developed what I later identified as a fear of abandonment. It impacted HUGELY on my romantic relationships. I was often the dumpee, not the dumper. I attached quickly and made things work at all costs. It was only when I had had e-nough of all THAT shit that I realised I was a truly awesome, fantastic human being and gave a big "eff you" to all the monumental dickheads who didn't deserve my time, let alone be in a emotional relationship with me. It wasn't all bad of course, some deep connections were made. But I think I never really worked out how to 'do' relationships. When I stopped giving a shit, my now husband came into my world. [That's a whole other blog post].

And so, however much time passes it's interesting to me that a single thought, word, image, or indeed date can rocket me back to a time which was my emotional lowest of low, a time when my heart was ripped open, with a grief so palpable I truly thought I was going to die of a broken heart.

I never want to go back there... but sadly it's just a thought away.

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