Heartbreaking Lessons as I say Goodbye to my Dad

May 29, 2015 7:28 pm

There could not have been a more powerful wake up call, than the emotions that ran through me as I watched my beautiful brother, along with seven other strong men, lift my fathers coffin onto his shoulders and carry him into the church that day. The same church that we spent endless Sundays in as children. Nothing more real. Or raw.

A reminder that life is too short and that there is no time like the present. Really. We hear that clichéd phrase so often, but it’s true. We all think we have plenty of time. We put things off until we feel more ready. We wait for the perfect moment. When so very often, that moment never actually comes.

In the weeks leading up to my Dad’s passing I wrote him a poem. It was an expression of my heart. I had that poem printed out and put it proudly in an elegant white frame that I wrapped it in paper and tied with a ribbon. I was waiting to read to him on Christmas Day. It would bring him joy, let him know he was loved and connect us to each other on a deeper level before he left this world, erasing some of the passed hurt from our complex relationship. That was the plan.

People gently urged me to read it to him as soon as I had written it and it was all ready in its frame.

‘No, I’m saving it for Christmas day’ was all I would say in response, firmly fixed on what I was doing. How it was supposed to be. It was Christmas and Dad was in a hospital bed in his living room, receiving palliative care and barely able to move. It was important he had something lovely to open on Christmas morning. I had a perfect idea of how it was going to be when I read it to him in my head.

But it was too late.

By the 25th December, he was far too poorly to hear my words as I stood by the side of his bed, trying to read this poem that I wanted so desperately for him to hear. Tears rolling down my cheeks and the words spluttering from my mouth as I read the poem to what was little was left of my Dad. Laying in his shell of a body, hallucinating, eyes rolling and screaming out and not actually there at all. Me so desperate to at least try and read the poem, convincing myself that maybe some part of him could hear what I was saying.

He died the following day.

Don’t wait. Not when something is so very important to you. Embrace each moment, in whatever small way you can. Take risks that are in line with the yearnings of your heart. Tell people you love them. Appreciate the little things. All of them.




This blog post is dedicated to my Dad

9/5/1958 – 28/1/2015



  • Sarah Good says:

    Beautiful words in such a sad situation. It must be the hardest thing to stay strong, but you keep going, day after day. That takes courage and determination. Your dad would be proud xx

  • Emma says:

    Thank you Sarah. Your words means a lot. Hopefully Dad can see this post from where ever he is now

    Lots of love x

  • Lisa says:

    Wow Emma, I had tears in the first paragraph. What beautiful and honest words and a very important message. Thank you for the reminder to embrace the present moment and take risks. It takes a lot of strength to share something so personal and I’m sure your dad is very proud of you.x

  • Lynn Tierney says:

    Sweet, strong and beautiful Emma.

    You demonstrated your love for your Dad in so many caring and thoughtful ways and he knew you loved him. How proud he would have been of you, your brother and sister, presenting yourself with strength and dignity, your beautiful verse there for him to infinately cherish.

    You continuing with you own journey in life, bringing with you this wisdom and kindly sharing it with us. We are reminded, whatever the obstacles, if there is something you need to do or say to someone you love, ‘NOW is the right time’

    I love you, Emma.

    Mum ️xxx

  • Carly says:

    Oh sweetie this had me in tears. So heartfelt. The love for your dad poured through every word. Xxx

  • Oh Emma this is equal parts beautiful and heartbreaking. Made me think of my dad and the poem in a frame I gave him the day I left the nest, to move to the big smoke to go to uni. Your mums comment above is so moving too. Thank you for sharing.
    (Shannon from BE&BH) xx

  • Emma says:

    Thank you so much for your beautiful comments everyone. It was such a personal post to share…but I’m so glad I did.

    Lisa, I’m so glad my writing touched you (but not so glad I made you have tears!) thank you for taking the time to comment and read my work xxx

    Shannon, again, a huge thank you for taking the time to comment and say such lovely words. Look forward to connecting with you more throughout BE BH xxx

    Carly, my lovely friend. Sorry I made you cry! But glad I got the emotion across (hehe). Thank you for being you.

    Mum….my gorgeous beautiful Mum.
    I love you too. Thank you for all you do for me xxx

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