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Life, loss and first aid kits

1
18 years ago I woke up to a stream of voicemails from mum. 

Like a rolling news channel, as each one played it became apparent something terrible was happening. 

Then, the headline “Gemma, your father’s died.”

I was 19 years old, sleeping on a sofa in Stepney Green because dad and I had fallen out a matter of days before. I’d stayed out too late, he didn’t like it.

Arrogantly, I believed the next time I went home, everything would be ok.

Instead, I travelled home absorbing six words that changed everything.

Over the years

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I’ve learned to live with his loss and it’s become part of me. Only when particular events happen does the void become obviously empty.

The most recent is Clemmie.

Becoming a parent makes you see the other side of the coin. My father’s over protectiveness, which once drove me mad, is suddenly instilled in me.

Never will my daughter be allowed to walk to school alone, stay out late, and romance… forget it. 

In fact, I shall go the extra mile and build her an ivory tower. She shall have fabulous hair like Rapunzel, and will remain

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inside, wrapped in cotton wool. She’ll never have any cuts and bruises, so we’ll save a fortune on plasters!

But it doesn’t work that way. For sunshine there must be showers.

Clem may never meet her grandad, but if I can bring her up as wonderfully as he did me, his memory will live on.

I just must remember to let her experience life’s scrapes. And be on hand with the first aid kit.

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Gemma

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- 21 Mar 19

18 years ago I woke up to a stream of voicemails from mum. 

Like a rolling news channel, as each one played it became apparent something terrible was happening. 

Then, the headline “Gemma, your father’s died.”

I was 19 years old, sleeping on a sofa in Stepney Green because dad and I had fallen out a matter of days before. I’d stayed out too late, he didn’t like it.

Arrogantly, I believed the next time I went home, everything would be ok.

Instead, I travelled home absorbing six words that changed everything.

Over the years I’ve learned to live with his loss and it’s become part of me. Only when particular events happen does the void become obviously empty.

The most recent is Clemmie.

Becoming a parent makes you see the other side of the coin. My father’s over protectiveness, which once drove me mad, is suddenly instilled in me.

Never will my daughter be allowed to walk to school alone, stay out late, and romance… forget it. 

In fact, I shall go the extra mile and build her an ivory tower. She shall have fabulous hair like Rapunzel, and will remain inside, wrapped in cotton wool. She’ll never have any cuts and bruises, so we’ll save a fortune on plasters!

But it doesn’t work that way. For sunshine there must be showers.

Clem may never meet her grandad, but if I can bring her up as wonderfully as he did me, his memory will live on.

I just must remember to let her experience life’s scrapes. And be on hand with the first aid kit.

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