This is a very personal story from a dear friends’ diary, which he wrote at the age of 13, some months after the untimely passing of his Dad. He allowed me to share this with you, this beautiful story of an intelligent young boy whose trauma, sorrow, sensitivity, emotional maturity and a huge capacity for empathy is delivered through his own words. This post will show what amazing therapeutic healing power journaling and writing things down has, getting things out from your head, where they often seem so big, to a piece of paper. He now says that what helped him with his grief the most was talking, talking and talking some more. He had a special bond and a tight relationship with his loving Mam, who always encouraged him to speak his mind. His Dad often told his Mam he never wants to be forgotten. Needless to say he will forever live in the hearts of his loved ones. Thank you for sharing your story.

Hi, my name is Matt and I’m going to write a “Diary”.

Things were going well except that week my Dad fell very ill. I was surprised because my Dad was a very fit man. He was a League of Ireland referee. To be one of them you have to work very well which my Dad did so. He was on television several times and he was linesman for an Ireland international football game. My dad would go training with the other referees but sometimes he would train twice a week. 1 with the referees and another on his own but I would usually go training with him. 5 months later and I have decided to write this. My Mam is still very upset and my sister and brothers probably are too but I never see them. They never really talk about Dad to Mam because they do not want to upset her. I’m the only one in the family who talks to Mam about Dad. Mam said it’s good to talk about Dad and I like it even though I get very upset. I even feel my Mam becoming stronger but she is very lonely sometimes.

I really miss my Dad very much and I will never forget him. I miss my Dad mostly to talk to about the football and he always used to play with us. I’m not just saying this because my Dad is gone but I think he’s the best Dad I could ever have had. I have decided to write this because when I get older I can not forget anything so when I read this it can be reminding me when I was 13 years old that took a bit out of my heart.

June 10th that Monday my Dad went to the doctor because he wasn’t feeling that well. He came back and told my Mam that the Doctor said that it was arthritis and that he gave him tablets for it. That Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday my Dad looked worse. The tablets seemed to be not doing anything. My Mam was saying to him that he should go back to the doctor but my dad said that he would give the tablets sometime to work. The next day (Friday) my dad still didn’t feel too well so he said that he would go visit the Doctor Saturday morning. June the 15th that Saturday morning my Dad had to go somewhere so he said that it would have to wait until Monday. That morning I remember my Dad messing with me and I remember me saying to my Dad that he looks very ill. But still my Dad was in pain but tried not to show it. It was Father’s Day on Saturday so I decided to buy my Dad a present that Saturday and I gave it to him. My Dad was delighted with the present. I was in the house getting very bored when my Dad asked me to go training. My Mam didn’t want my Dad to go because he was very ill but Dad wanted to go. My Dad loved to train because he always liked to keep fit. Well I didn’t know whether to go or not but I was very bored. I turned to my Mam and she told me to go. So I got in the car with my Dad and we drove off to Lucan park and it was raining. My Dad told me that he was expecting his two other friends and one of his friends is bringing his son that’s my age and his name is Gavin. I said great so I could have some company. Finally they came and the rain had stopped. They all changed into their football gear and started to train. I had to time them while Gavin counted the laps they done. They had to do so many laps in 12 minutes so they started off. When the friend and they were on the other side of the course I ran over and told them the time they done it in which was 11m 50s. They all decided to do more when suddenly my Dad said “OH JESUS” and fell to the ground. I was shocked and I knew suddenly something had gone wrong. I started to pray while the tears were coming down my face. They turned him over and his nose was full of blood and bruised. My Dad wasn’t breathing and I knew he was gone as his eyes were looking over at me as I was still praying. One of my Dad’s friend stayed there while the other one and his son and me ran to his taxi to call the ambulance. I remember me going over to the grass on my own and I kneeled down and prayed. The ambulance came but it took very long to come. I got in my Dad’s friends car with his son and we drove to my house where my Dad’s friend told my Mam that my Dad took a bad turn. My Mam and him came into the car where I was and my Mam looked at me and I was very upset because I knew that my Dad was hurt badly. My Mam started to get upset and she was expecting my Dad to be on pipes and other stuff but when they got to the hospital I was told to stay in the car with Gavin. I was still praying and worried. An hour later I was called in by my Dad’s friend. He put his arm around me as we were walking in to the hospital. I kept on asking him is my Dad all right but I got no reply. He took me into this room where a couple of my Aunts and Uncles were crying and my brother and in the middle was my Mam very upset and crying. I have never seen my Mam so bad and that frightened me. My Mam put her arms around me and told me that my Dad was Dead. I couldn’t believe it. The fittest Dad I have ever known in the neighbourhood has died before the unfit people in the neighbourhood. I started to cry and all I was thinking of was what was going to happen in the future. I thought I’d end up with no parents because my Mam was not a strong woman. My Mam went into the room where my Dad laid in the bed. I couldn’t go in because I was very frightened. I got the worst pain in my stomach I ever had. As soon as my Mam came out we got in my Aunties car to a pub where my brother Dean worked. When my Mam told Dean he started to cry very loudly. Then when we got home where my sister Laura was next door. There when my Mam told Laura she too cried. It was a long night. I was scared to go up to my room because, well I don’t really know. None of us hardly got any sleep.

Monday we all got dressed up and went to the funeral parlour where my Dad laid in the coffin. My Mam was in a state she just couldn’t stop crying. Laura gave my Dad this big Father’s Day card from her. I decided to give my Dad this pocket Bible that I got in my school. My Dad was dressed in his League of Ireland suit with his badges on his suit. Tuesday we went to the parlour again. I realised that this was the last time I’ll ever get to see my Dad. My Dad didn’t look as if he was happy, but then we all had to go out so that my Mam can be on her own with my Dad. Anyway, we were all to go back in to see my Dad for the last time and I was amazed because my Dad wasn’t smiling before but when we went in that time, he was. That made me feel a bit better. It was time to go so I kissed my Dad for the last time and said goodbye. We got into these limo cars and then I saw them carry my Dads coffin into the car and then all the flowers going in with him. We drove to the church where the Mass was and it was very upsetting. We got nearly 200 mass cards. That was great to see that so many people cared about my Dad. Wednesday morning it was time to get ready for the funeral. After the Mass we headed up to cemetery, where as I was looking out the window and I saw all my friends and other people walking up. There was a big line of cars behind us. As we got up to the cemetery the cars stopped and the League of Ireland football referees took the coffin out and carried it the rest of the way. As I watched my Dad go down the hole I started to think that this is the last goodbye until we join up again in heaven, which I don’t want it to be a long time. My nanny handed me a rose and I chucked it down on the coffin. Then my family and I picked up some mud and threw it on the coffin (this is a sign to show that your burying him). My Dad left me his football watch and his badges, ring and stop watch. I will cherish these for as long as I live and pass them through the family. I have a friend Connor whose Dad died three years ago and it’s good because you can talk more easily about your Dad to him and we both know what it feels like to have someone taken away from you who you love.

It is five months later and I go to counselling. I still can’t believe it. It’s our first Christmas coming up and it’s going to be really sad. I am very Depressed all the time and annoyed. Some people say that you will get over it but I don’t think I ever will. Well it’s all part of life.

It was my friends’ school counsellor who suggested he keep a diary of the events that happened and how he felt about them. What followed was years of grieving with mixed emotions and anxiety. None of us is guarded against a loss of a close person and dealing with it is very much an individual journey. In fact, we can never say with certainty how life events affect us individually. My friend found talking about it with his Mam and his peers helpful, coinciding with the time that he needed. What is important is how we want to remember the people who left us and what meaning we ultimately derive from these events.

Dad, you will never be forgotten ♥