onlyemma's Diaryland Diary


My dad and my worry.

Well this is weird.

I haven't updated this diary for such a long time. A lot has happened. I won't go into most of it at the moment though because I'm just in the mood to unload somewhere, so why not here?

I'm worrying. I'm worrying all the time at the moment and it's making things really hard. I was having a shower this evening and was thinking about how much I worry, I carry it around with me almost every day, like a little pet I need to constantly feed, and what has that worry given me in return for being so loyal? It has just ruined things. Holidays, days out, cosy evenings in, date nights, relaxing baths, all sapped of joy because I end up worrying instead of enjoying them. Most of all, when it's bad it takes away the joy of being present because instead I'm in my head, over thinking and fuelling my worry with more doubts and fear, keeping me on edge and unable to participate fully in my life.

The biggest fear I had in my life was always that my dad would die because he smoked. I worried about it for over 20 years and it always held the number 1 spot for the majority of my life. If everything was going okay I would always remind myself that I still had that to worry about, so not to get too happy. I didn't allow myself to forget. I would keep myself up at night thinking "dad might die! What will I do?" and I'd toss and turn and stay awake because how on earth could I sleep with such a massive thing to deal with? Then I'd ring dad in the morning and tell him how scared I was and he'd laugh and tell me not to be so silly, he was fine. Dad didn't worry about it himself, but don't worry dad, I've got your back, I'm worrying for the whole extended family! Thankfully he stopped smoking when Ruth was born and I allowed my panic to ease slightly.

And then it happened, a year ago. My dad died of lung cancer. My number 1 fear was realised. It was the most heartbreaking thing I have ever witnessed and I have never felt so hopeless and breathtakingly sad in my entire life. He was seriously ill for just under a year, with lots of ups and downs along the way that were exhausting because from time to time there was a bit of crippling hope. For most of his illness I just lived in denial because it was too awful to contemplate, but just like worrying, denial didn't help either and he still died. I was there. I had my last precious hours alone with him before my mum and sister came back to the hospital in the middle of the night, and I told him it was okay to go, and we understood that he needed to. I held his face in my hands and I said how much I loved him and that it was all okay, it was all okay, when it wasn't okay. I looked at the old shaving scar on his chin and thought "I'm going to miss that scar", and his lovely ear, and thought "I'm going to miss that ear". I whispered to the nurses so that he wouldn't hear me talking about death when it was close, because I didn't want to scare him. They told me what a sweetheart he had been to look after and how polite he was. I felt proud of my dad. I showed the consulant a picture of him before he was ill so that he could see a glimpse of the man we were losing.

That night - before - when it was just me and Dad, I'd bought some iced buns from the shop and moved as close as I could get to his bed and held his hand while I watched TV. I tried to be upbeat. I tried to find something to watch that he liked and there was nothing on and it annoyed me because I'd wanted to pretend it was normal. I ate four iced buns. I expected him to wake up in the morning and to tell him there had been nothing on TV last night and I'd eaten 4 iced buns. I wanted him to still finish a crossword with us, to eat the rest of the Turkish Delight he'd started, to wear his jumpers again, to wear his glasses again, to put his slippers back on. I wasn't ready. But he went. My mum, sister and I had given him permission the evening before when we were told the end was close, and my dad didn't need telling twice. He went the next morning, while we were with him. He had been strong for us all along.

And now our hearts will always ache for him.

I've had time to reflect on all of this in counselling recently, but I still don't feel like it's true. But one thing I have allowed myself to question since, is why I worried for more than half of my life about this when it never gave me the ability to change it. Did my 20 years of worrying help anyone? Not in the slightest. So why did I bother? I honestly don't know.

My worrying hadn't protected my dad. It hadn't protected me, my mum, my sister, Keith, Ruth and my auntie and uncles from this. So I don't know why I continue to cling to worry like it's always my only option. My biggest fear came true and through it I realised that worrying about it hadn't given me any power, only misery - but still, I plough on. I continue to worry.

I don't know where I'm going with this, but I needed to take a few things out of my head tonight and leave them somewhere for a while. I feel fed up of allowing myself to be ruled by an emotion that does me no good and tonight I just felt like writing it down. I also just really miss my dad. I wish he would just say to me, "oh, and so what?" one more time. I would really like that.

7:13 p.m. - 2019-10-26


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