September Promise

September is my favourite month of the year. Ripe with “back to school” promise. The smell of a plastic pencil case and the shine of new shoes.

The first breath of Autumn in the air- stirring memories of crisp walks through a kaleidoscope of fallen leaves, hot tea and crumpets. Enjoying the potential of the changing season while still savouring the lingering warmth of september-in-the-forestsummer.

And yet.

This week is also tinged with sadness and loss, and the pain of “if only…”
September 2012, my amazing Dad died from a brain tumour. Still in his 60s, otherwise healthy, active and living life to the full in so many ways until his diagnosis 6 months earlier, it felt like we lost him far too soon. As I write this I still struggle again to believe he has actually gone. Cancer is a tragedy that happens to other people, other families. Not us. Not him.

Looking back, that year now seems like a terrible nightmare – if you`ve been there, you know. But as I nursed my dad, held his hand, wept by his bedside and missed him with an ache so strong I didn`t know how I would bear it, I had a choice to make.

I could fight against this tragedy, give in to anger and bitterness. Demand to know why him.

Or, I could remember Dad, and feel overwhelmed with gratitude. Wonder why me.

For 36 years I had an incredible father.

He understood me, knew me and still thought I was beautiful.

He delighted in my success, while loving me for who I was, not what I achieved.

He believed in me, absolutely, and gave me the confidence to believe in myself.

He always had time for me, and would drop everything if I needed help, or advice. Not because he felt he had to, but because it gave him so much pleasure.

He rarely told me he loved me, until his illness, but didn`t need to. He showed me throughout our time together that real love is something you do, an action not a feeling.

He was a great man, and I miss him. But I don`t feel angry, or that his loss was unfair in any way. If we`re talking about fairness, how come I got to have a dad like that in the first place?

It was an honour to have known him, shared my life with him, to have loved him, and to have been his daughter.

I choose to feel deeply grateful.

So as summer fades into Autumn, I allow myself a little sorrow for what has past, but more than this, I am thankful. And this is what allows me to look to the season ahead both appreciative of what has past, and hopeful for what is to come.


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