Happiness in grief
This is a very personal story and one from my own perspective. It is a story about finding happiness at one of the lowest times of my life – my Dad’s passing in 2015.
I have always been close with my family and my Dad was my hero. As a kid, I believed everything he said and was certain he knew everything about anything. I am sure that some of my “Dad facts” that I have repeated are not accurate and are in fact his sense of humour so please treat them as you would Wikipedia.
In June 2015, my Mum and Dad came to Australia where I was living at the time for a holiday and although brief, we all had an amazing time. Saying goodbye at the airport was heart breaking. I completely broke down and did not understand why this time, I was as upset as I was.
Returning home, I had a sense that this may be the last time I would see both again. I had never experienced a feeling like this before and it was something I could not shake off. I rang or text both Mum and Dad daily in the weeks that followed and was never afraid to express just how much I loved and missed them. I am forever grateful of this sense as not long after I received the call that Dad had died.
My world fell apart. Not only was I living in another country, I discovered my passport had expired and it was not as simple as one would think to be able to return home. Thankfully after much fuss, I managed to receive approval to fly the following day and was greeted at the Auckland airport by my best friend Katy and the biggest hug.
The reunion with my family was sad but we found comfort in each other’s grief and being able to share it. The sadness I was experiencing was overwhelming, I could not even begin to imagine how this felt for my Mum. The night before the funeral, I spoke to Mum about moving back to New Zealand and within the next month I had permanently moved home.
Over the next few months, the relationship I had always had with Mum changed. It become something beautiful, a bond so strong it felt like nothing in the world could ever break it. Not only do I have an amazing Mum, she is my best friend, my biggest supporter and someone of strength I look up to.
Although I would give anything to have my Dad back with us, death is unavoidable. Throughout this time, I gave myself permission to grieve but also permission to be happy.
I am happy I had taken the time to speak with my parents and tell them what they meant to me before it was too late. I am happy I had the people around me in Australia to help me get home and hold my hand to the airport. I am happy that I had the support of family and friends in New Zealand to just hold me when I needed it the most.
Happiness is there when you look for it, even in your darkest moments.