So…we have a little something different today guys. Something more personal, written by a guest, and something I feel the need to help share.
Any day like today (Father’s day) is hard when you’ve lost a parent. And it’s something Richard over at The Humpo Show mentioned to me recently. He wanted to write something but wasn’t too sure how, and so offered to write a guest post about it here – my blog featuring more personal posts alongside the books than his own does. Being a topic I massively relate to – though I suppose from the “opposite” side, with it being my mum – I wanted to share his story. I’ve written a little something on here about it before (which you can read here), but my writing came much further down the line. Richard in many ways is still going through this, and having felt the need to write a lil something, I’m here to help share. Loss and grief is such a huge part of life, the books we read, the films we watch, everything…and so unfortunately we just have to learn how to get by. Here, today, Richard is wanting to chat about how blogging helped him deal with grief, and how so often people can help without even realising…
“This year’s Father’s Day is my first without a Dad.
Whenever I would see an advert for Father’s Day gifts on TV, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and the email subscriptions, I would mentally shut off as I didn’t want to upset myself even though these feelings are pretty normal for events like: first Christmas, first Birthday, and first anniversary of his passing. I had been wanting to write this post for a while, but I have struggled to write it down as it is a vastly different post to what I normally talk about on my blog. But, with Father’s Day here, it feels like a fitting time to finally write it out, and I hope that this post might help someone out in the future.
My dad passed away very unexpectedly in late-November last year. He was (a phrase I’m still getting used to saying) the life of the party, charismatic, hilarious, hard-working, caring, selfless, strong, kind, and the most wonderful man that has, and will ever be in my life. He lived a life to the full with so many stories that he would tell whenever we were with family, friends, or even just strangers. Everyone loved him. His passing was a huge shock, and to be honest, part of me still hasn’t fully got my head around it as he was such a big character, and without him, it feels like every room is empty somehow.
I quit my job in London to move back home and look after my Mum, and I probably also didn’t want to be on my own to some extent. In the run up to Christmas, we had a massive amount of visitors all offering their condolences and talking about all the stories they had of him- it was upsetting to obviously talk about him in the past tense, but I’m glad that he featured so heavily in so many lives that he will never be forgotten. Given that I had quit my job, my day consisted of talking with friends and family who visited, but when they had gone, I would find myself in an empty room. This is where blogging came in.
With nothing really to use my time for, I ended up pouring myself into blogging. In a typical month I usually post between 5-8 times, in December 2017, I posted 15 times, working out to once every two days. I’d spend my day transferring my frustration at having my Dad taken away from me, in my eyes, too soon, into something that I take pride in, my writing. I’m not sure how to express what I want to say here, but essentially what I found was that when I was concentrating my efforts into reading books, watching films, and writing about them, I could kind of tune out my frustration, my upset, my grief, and not necessarily channel it into something else, but to use a different part of my brain to focus on my passions. Writing about a series I love (Harry Potter) was an enormous help as I managed to switch off and just engross myself in something other than the feelings I had been thinking about as I lay in bed at night. Blogging, and also the interaction side of things on Twitter, helped enormously for me to have something positive going on in my life, at a time where I would focus on nothing but the negative, and the feeling of unfairness (that feeling never goes away, but blogging helped to dampen it a little).
One of the first posts which helped me was the End of Year Awards post which I created to choose my favourite books, films and television shows of the year, but most importantly, my favourite bloggers, tweeters, and posts. It was important to me to be supportive and nice to other bloggers, even at a time where I just wanted to isolate myself from everyone. By reaching out to them and giving them a pat on the back, it made me feel a whole better knowing that I was making someone else happy, something I hope my Dad would be proud of.
Christmas was always going to be hard, given that it was: 1. a month after his passing, and 2. the first Christmas without him. To absorb my feelings, I ended up having a ‘Harry Potter Week’ on my blog, where I read all the illustrated editions that are currently out, the Harry Potter: A History of Magic companion books, as well as reviewing the Cursed Child Play and the British Library Exhibition which I had gone to a few days before Christmas. By keeping busy at this time, it helped me to focus on something positive, and something that would lead to plenty of interaction on Twitter. 2017 was a great year in terms of interaction for me on Twitter, as I had made plenty of Twitter pals who would always seem to have nice things to say about me. These online friendships that were building were of great joy to me, especially when they gave such loving comments when I announced my sad news on Twitter. They would offer me a DM any time, and they were especially nice around this period, which I appreciate a lot more now, than I realised then. The book blogging community is an amazing one, and I can assure everyone that their kind comments, however small, are most definitely appreciated and they do make a difference. Blogging and grieving might not seem like a good mix to some people, but to me, it worked. The ray of sunlight that entered an otherwise dark room, was a special reminder that there is someone out there; on WordPress, Twitter, YouTube, whatever..who is listening to you, and is nice enough to either send a nice message, or to send thoughts and prayers.
Everyone’s grief is different. There’s no right way or wrong way to grieve. All members of my family dealt with my Dad’s death in different ways. Blogging was a valuable outlet for me as I had something positive to do in a time where I couldn’t see many positives. That first month could have been an even worse hell than what I felt, but to have that avenue which led to interaction with book bloggers and film bloggers, was crucial to keep my head straight. Remember, a blogger might be going something traumatic in their personal life, so even a small comment on their blog can make a massive difference to them.”
Thank you so much Richard for allowing me to share this post ❤ It becomes more manageable, I promise.
*I’ll send Richard over to reply to any comments on this post!