A Letter to a Loved One: Tiyah
On Sunday, it was my 24th birthday. I never thought that you wouldn’t get to see me turn 24. I turned 23 only 5 days after your funeral last year, so I didn’t really feel like I had a birthday then, it slipped by. But this June 9th, I definitely felt your absence. No phone call, no text, no card. Nothing to say that my Dad was wishing me a happy birthday. But that’s because your life came to a very abrupt end. No long illness, no battles with terminal disease, just a heart attack whilst you were on a run.
I cannot tell you how much I wish you were here. I long for a chat with my Dad, you always had me laughing until my stomach would ache. There’s a singer that we found called Lady Wray, you would have loved her. It is so hard to not go to call you to recommend some new music I’ve found. You always used to call me your baby girl because I was your youngest daughter. Since you’ve been gone, I feel like anything young about me has faded. I feel that I have had to grow up at an accelerated rate and make sure that I am constantly staying headstrong and brave.
Sometimes being courageous to not shed tears when someone mentions your name takes all my strength, or when all my friends talk about their Dads. But then I remember to count my blessings because I had a Dad that loved me dearly and that I watched live a life that he was proud of. Grief is beneficial for one thing and that is making me proud of my own ability to stay afloat and keep my head above water. At times I want to stay in bed but I always hear your voice telling me to keep at it.
I replay the moment I was told that you were in hospital on a life support machine. Three days prior, you had been glamping in a yurt, celebrating your 61st birthday. Suddenly, I was booking a flight back home from Sydney knowing that on my return, I would not see you with breath still in your body. When they put you on the phone so I could talk to you, I didn’t say anything I wish I had because what can you say other than blub out tears? But what really is there to say other than that I love you so much. You taught me that laughter helps any situation, as does good music. You never stopped me when I told you I wanted to spend my money on travelling, in fact you always told me to go. Moving to Australia meant that I didn’t see you for 8 months but I know you wouldn’t have changed that for the world. Thank you for always telling me to go for it.
One day, I will have lived another 24 years and I will not be able to believe that it has been that long. But I will still miss you as much as I do now, but hopefully it won’t be quite so hard. Hopefully you have a glass of red wine and you’re listening to Father John Misty in Brixton Academy, I have no doubt that you’d be very happy there.
I miss you Dad and I really wish you were here,
Thank you to Tiyah for sharing and being a part of opening up the conversation around grief. If you would like to share a letter please email firstname.lastname@example.org