Losing my Dad

When I was 28, the love of my life, the gentlest man alive, died.

Connie.Dad

My Dad was an incredible artist and art teacher but most of all he was the best dad my sister and I could have asked for.
With one foot in reality and one in his creative wonderland, he was any kids dream Dad.
Like any true artist Dad was broke, he had no money, ever. But that never stopped the adventures, when the sun would go down he would dress us in black and take us flower “shopping” which was basically just flower stealing from various rich people’s gardens around St Kilda. Then we would sit in a park watching the possums and dad would make up stories to tell us about the secret lives of the possums, how “Barry” was upset because “Pursey” had been caught cheating with “Big Lenny” (the fat possum) I would be in hysterics all night and at the mercy of my Dad’s hilarity.

My Dad loved everybody and everyone loved him, we would cruise Fitzroy St and stop to chat with a homeless guy for half an hour, a mentally challenged women would walk past asking for money of which dad had none but did take her to a coffee shop and told the owners who knew him to give her a coffee and lunch, he would pay for it when he got paid and then a limo stopped and some rich dude that dad had taught how to paint unwound his window with a huge smile and insisted we hopped in to get a lift home.

He cleaned brothels while finishing his Fine Arts Masters degree, I was 7 and would stay with him on my school holidays and when going to work with him at the brothel I would lie on the velvet bed, looking at myself in the mirror on the ceiling while my dad would clean the room. I remember telling him that when I grow up I want to be rich enough to stay in this ‘glamorous’ hotel with all of these beautiful women. Looking back Im sure dad would have pissed himself laughing.

What a fine example he was for parents without cash flow, all spectacular parenthood requires is an endless amount of love and a sense of humour.

Just like my early days, my dad’s were full of wildness and boundary pushing. Unfortunately a contributing factor to his death, he contracted Hepatitis C in his early 20s.
My Dad’s liver finally packed it in 3 years ago, when I was 28, living in Perth I was told to fly over, he didn’t have long.
Seeing his sweet old body lying there all broken tortured us all. He managed a smile when I walked through the door, said the words “my baby”
Dads face had a way of lighting up every time he saw my sister or I. Even while suffering through his final days, his eyes were bright and full of love.
Over the next few days Stella (my sister), myself and my aunty would sit on his hospital bed with him, tell funny stories, share a head phone with him and listen to the Rolling Stones, kiss his beautiful face and cry. But no amount of goodbyes and hugs will ever prepare you for the moment death finally steals them.

Somehow losing a loving parent reverts you back to that little girl, the one who always knew she would be ok because she has her Dad, only she doesn’t now and she’s not ok.
A deep down emptiness washed over us all, the world lost its magic, I knew I would never be loved that much again, my one advocate, gone.
I never felt satisfied by a the love of a lover, never felt like it was enough, because it never came close to the purity that I felt from my Dad.

There is no time to grieve when you have a sister to look after, saving her would save me.
Stella is the one who has her shit together, her house is always clean, bills always paid, but deep down she is also the vulnerable one, I knew I needed to look after her, I wasn’t graced with much organisation or direction, but I was graced with resilience and a sense of humour. My Dad’s favourite sound ever was my sister and I laughing so being the ‘funny’ sister I took it upon myself to create a place that Stella and I could be safe and close to Dad.

Welcome to the egg

Connie.egg

 

My sister and I moved into an imaginary egg that only us and Dad were allowed in.

I would send her this photo every day because I knew it would make her laugh and remind her that there will always be a place that only us and Dad live. We would climb back into the egg whenever we felt like we were suffocated by our grief, egg dwellers are allowed to be depressed little sobsters. It’s a safe place to not feel that constant pressure to “get over it”
Nothing is above humour, after a good cry there is a void that only a good laugh can fill.

Your allowed to fall apart when you lose someone you love, one day I was having a fucked day, got a speeding fine, had a fight with Bill and was lining up at the bottle shop to drown myself in red wine, the guy who worked there asked me how I was, I burst into tears and replied “my Dad’s dead, he’s never coming back and I can’t even call him to tell him about my fight with Bill”. My wine should have been free, it wasn’t.

I miss him, God I miss him, every day. When something terrible happens, I miss being able to call him and winge, when something great happens like babies being born, I miss being able to share it with him. Even the other day, when Ellen shared a story on me I wasn’t expecting to burst into tears over not be able to call him and tell him, I know how proud my Dad would have been.
He believed in me from day one.

You never get over losing someone, you learn to live with the loss and eventually accept the transition of going from having them beside you to inside you, but you never get over it.

❤️ Con

24 Comments
  1. Profile photo of Rachel Orr
    Rachel Orr 12 months ago

    Oh I just want to hug you so much right now! im so sorry that you lost your Dad. He sounded like an absolute gentleman! My Dad is terminally ill, and I’m 29. I’ll be 30 in a few weeks and I just pray he makes it until then. I feel exactly how you said you felt, like a little girl again. I hope
    I have the strength and courage that you have had to get through this. I need to find a way for my son….thank you for sharing your story. And I’m sure that your Daddy is the proudest father in the world right now. Much love Queen xoxo

  2. Profile photo of Laura Wells
    Laura Wells 12 months ago

    Hi Con, your post about your dear dad resonated with me so much. I also lost my dad almost 5 months ago, I am 29. He was an amazing man with many talents. When you wrote you would never be loved like your dad loved you, I understand that completely. Thank you for pouring your heart out. Even when we feel completely alone in our grief, it helps to know that there are others out there like us. Ps. When my brothers and sisters and myself were younger, dad use to play ‘we’re in the cubby’ with us. He would cup his hands around his eyes and we would do the same move our faces close to each other and chant ‘we’re in the cubby!’ Now I do it with my kids and it makes me feel close to dad. 🙂 xx

  3. Profile photo of Petajean
    Petajean 12 months ago

    I’m sorry Con…I found my sister at 24….I have another but she just doesn’t get me like Bec did….salute xx

  4. Profile photo of sandy
    sandy 12 months ago

    Wow, you are my younger sister! the free spirited one that everyone loves, that can brighten the room just by being there – me? I am Stella, the one that has her shit together – but in real life, doesn’t. We so need our sisters there to hold us together, thank you for being that sister.

  5. Profile photo of saggytitts
    saggytitts 12 months ago

    I also lost my Dad a couple of years ago, we called him the quiet man, his quiet gentle presence while often silent was a strong loving presence..I loved it when he was feeling happy and would whistle or hum,,,he had the most glorious voice deep resonant and gentle..so masculine but gentle, he was so incredibly gifted, made beautiful furniture and was an electrician, could fix anything and his cuddles were the safest place on the planet. quiet capable warm…miss him soo much..his favorite colour was blue, at his funeral we all dressed in blue…we often favor blue when buying anything, if its in blue we get it in blue no matter what it is, be it tupperware or towels ..I would give anything for just one more day….I miss him…hugs for all of you who have lost their precious dads..its a big hole

  6. Profile photo of Clarity
    Clarity 12 months ago

    Thanks for sharing Constance. Dad’s are special. I lost mine about 8 years ago, I miss him still, every day. It was a long process with COPD and the family shit that followed was not healthy for anyone. Sisters are special, I have the best sister in the world. She is my rock and my soft place to fall. Without her I would not have survived losing both parents, my marriage, my home and half my family over a short period of time. She is the reason I am here. On my wall beside my desk is a magnet that says “I’m smiling because you’re my sister. I’m laughing “because you can’t do anything about it’. She gave me that when the depression was trying to take me of this planet. I am so lucky.

  7. Profile photo of Sarah
    Sarah 12 months ago

    So sorry for your loss Con. This is an incredible piece of writing. You had me crying but giggling again within the next few lines xox

  8. Profile photo of Farah
    Farah 12 months ago

    It’s been such a hard weekend of loss and grief. I finally cried and then I said ” fix your crown queenie, you can do it”. Thank you. And hugs to you.

  9. Profile photo of 6reen 6litter
    6reen 6litter 12 months ago

    “I knew I would never be loved that much again, my one advocate, gone. I never felt satisfied by a the love of a lover, never felt like it was enough, because it never came close to the purity that I felt from my Dad.”
    These words you wrote could have just as easily been mine. <3

  10. Profile photo of Queen Mel
    Queen Mel 12 months ago

    Tears streaming down my face right now.

    I was the same age, my Dad died from liver failure (alcoholic) and I miss him every single day.

    He too was broke AF, but the adventures my little brother and I had were the best! He told us silly stories too, and I giggle to myself randomly when something triggers a memory.

    Much love to you and your sister Con xx

  11. Profile photo of mental head mum
    mental head mum 12 months ago

    “The last time I knew the feeling of a complete heart was the day my Dad died” – this was a quote of yours from another article you wrote a few months ago, about the same time my beautiful Dad died. I love it and it’s so true. Love your work.

  12. Profile photo of Flower82
    Flower82 12 months ago

    I read your post with tears streaming down my face. Your post made total sense to me.
    I lost my dad to cancer when I was 26.
    I remember having a full on meltdown at the supermarket after he died as I was in auto pilot and went to pick up a bag of his favourite Lollys and then it hit me he was dead.
    Big hugs to you and anyone that is missing someone they love. It’s always shit they are gone xxx

  13. Profile photo of RaeRae
    RaeRae 12 months ago

    Oh my heart is with you, I lost my dad (cancer) 12years ago this year when I was 21 (worst year of my life). He was my best friend, my mentor, my boss but most of all he was my dad who loved and supported me unconditionally. I miss him so much, I miss that I didn’t get to know him as an adult, I miss that he wasn’t here to walk me down the aisle (well across the grass at the winery), I miss his laugh and his hugs, his hugs that would help any situation, I miss his hilarious anecdotes, most of all I miss talking to him. He taught me so much and I am so grateful that I got 21 years with such a great man. I still have days when I am angry that he is not here, that he had to suffer so much, how different life would be if he was here. There is an American Indian saying “thankyou for being” that sums up my feelings of love, sadness and anger at the loss of my dad. Keep the memories alive and strong and strong with stories and anecdotes about your dad. Xx

  14. Profile photo of Jenny
    Jenny 12 months ago

    I read this with tears. Luckily I still have my Dad and hope this donsn’t change ever. I know, some day. I lost my Granny 3years ago and she was like my secound mum. She teached me everything and she was the greatest storyteller ever. The first year it was often like, oh I call her and tell….oh I can’t, I can’t ever again, tears. Even if I write this I cry. This place will never be filled with someone else. She would love my son’s and I tell them storys about her. How amazing she was. Raised 7kids, lost a child earlier, was alone with 7kids as my mum, the youngest was 2. She know nearly everything. It felt like she had read every book. She was friendly to everyone and she had so much friends from so much different places around the world. She was a great inspiration for a perfect live. She died at the age of nearly 82 and I know she was ready. As I was a kid I asked her if she would die if I can’t see her anymore. She answered yes then you can’t see me. So I said we need to make a photo before. She loved this story. As I heard she died my first thought was we don’t made a picture, why didn’t we make a picture before that. I smiled and cried…..

  15. Profile photo of Crystal
    Crystal 12 months ago

    I’m so sorry for your loss Con, I miss my dad every day too. Mine passed away from pneumonia 10 months ago while on the holiday of a lifetime in Germany. I couldn’t get there in time to say goodbye and tell him how much I loved him and how wonderful he was. He was also a broke artist and the funniest person I’ve ever met. The kindest soul and a gentle giant. He used to tell me bedtime stories that he made up, the hero was called Captain Thunderpants and he rode a skateboard powered by his baked bean farts 😉 There will always be a piece of me missing, but I’m so very lucky to have had him in my life.

  16. Profile photo of Renata
    Renata 12 months ago

    Thank you. I mean, THANK YOU. I can relate to pretty much everything you write and it feels very good. I lost my best friend, my true companion, the best person in the world ever, the ultimate Queen – my mum. It’s about to turn a year since she is gone and it was so unexpected… And what kills me is that I have a 2 year old that adored her and will not have the opportunity to grow up with her, I had so many plans for them – that one thing kills me. period.
    Well, you said something that resonated in me, words put together that in such a way that translate what’s inside me – “eventually accept the transition of going from HAVING THEM BESIDE YOU TO INSIDE YOU/…/” This is where I am at.
    Thanks Con. You are an inspiration.
    Love,
    Renata

  17. Profile photo of Cat
    Cat 12 months ago

    I lost my dad to the dreaded hep c when I was just 10 from him being silly when he was younger it caught up with him when he was 40 and took him within 4 months of finding out, he spent majority of his last 4 months at home, which as a 10 year old only Child with an alcoholic mother was very hard to process, I have such fond memories of my dad and I know how much he loved me, I wish he was here to see the woman I have become and to meet his grand daughter, I miss him often and one day we will be together again, un till then we have memories.

  18. Profile photo of inanabaja
    inanabaja 12 months ago

    I lost my dad seven years ago and this is how it feels still. I’ve lived and am living every word you wrote, every day. I am also a mother of a little boy, one year old. He got his name after my Father.
    Thank you for this:*

  19. Profile photo of Paige
    Paige 12 months ago

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. You are so blessed to have had him in your life. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a dad like that.

  20. Profile photo of Queen of 3
    Queen of 3 12 months ago

    Big hugs to you Con, I dont want to even imagine. My dad was diagnosed with Non-hodgkin Lymphoma last week and it feels like a kick in the guts…. Early days yet will find out more at the oncologist appointment this week… Stay strong Queenie, as will I 👑👑 xoxoxox

  21. Profile photo of Demelza
    Demelza 12 months ago

    Thanks for this. I lost my mother six months ago to cancer, I was 29. It still feels like yesterday. She was the coolest Queen in town! And loved by so many, she had a fantastic sense of humour until the end. How she managed that I will never know. Her life wasn’t easy but she always said ,’ It doesn’t matter how much money you have or whats happening to you in life as long as you can laugh and love you’re doing pretty good’. Its so hard to get used to the fact she isn’t around anymore. She loved being a grandmother more than anything and my son misses her dearly. I have come through the other side of it a different person. A person who gives less fucks about things that don’t matter to me and more fucks about the things I love. Its nice to hear someone describe that feeling of loss too. xxoo

  22. Profile photo of Nessa
    Nessa 12 months ago

    Hiya
    I lost my dad August 3rd 2014 very suddenly. He was always there he was my hero my world. I was 41 when he passed. I can’t imagine losing him at 28!
    I would walk from uk to Timbuktu to bring him back to me.
    Constance do you still long for one more……… Cuddle,kiss advice just to see him again? I’m still very raw about him never ever being here. I bought him his birthday card this year and put it on his grave. I see things and go to call him. Wish there was a phone in the clouds ( we are not religious so we don’t believe in heaven etc).

  23. Profile photo of Emily Lawson
    Emily Lawson 11 months ago

    This post, just wow, it’s one that touches the heart and sticks. It will be a year on the 22nd March that I lost my Dad and it hurts like shit everyday. How I’d love for one more pint with my old man, Cancers a bitch I tell you that. But hey we are queens straighten the crown and chin up, that’s all we can do *mwahhh*

  24. Profile photo of Jana
    Jana 11 months ago

    Oh Con this resonates with me so much. My mum passed away 9 years ago this month and I still have days (and nights) that I cry and think it is so unfair that someone as loving and wonderful as my mum isn’t here. She wasn’t there to see my daughters born, she didn’t even know my husband or that I was pregnant. I’m not sure if it gets easier, you just cope in different ways. Much love to you gorgeous lady, it sounds like you had a magical childhood and can remember those wicked days with your dad when your day is shit xx

Leave a reply

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account