I love my mum. More than anything but my dad has always been my favourite. It’s not that I love him more than mum but he’s fun and understanding, he has wonderful advice and awful jokes. Two weeks ago, dad left. He left mum. He left me. Mum’s sad. She’s not up to much lately. I know she’s angry at him for leaving but she misses him. She’s unhappy and lonely.
Dad talked to me before he went. He told me to study hard, stay healthy and enjoy my life. He made me promise to look after mum. I think he’d be disappointed in me if he heard her crying at night. I feel terrible for not helping her feel better but I cant. How can I make mum feel better if I don’t feel better? Like mum, I spend most of my time in my room- sleeping, thinking, crying. I don’t cry as much as her anymore and I think, maybe, that’s worse.
For the first few days without dad, I couldn’t do anything but cry. My eyes were constantly red and puffy, I was so angry at dad. How could he leave us like this? Used tissues littered the floor around my over-flowing bin. Neither of us did anything for those days. We did eat, we didn’t talk, we hardly moved. The phone rand a lot but no-one answered it.
The house has changed; it used to be buzzing with activity, sunshine filled the rooms and dad played his ACDC albums every night. Now it’s empty, dull, miserable. We both stick to our bedrooms mostly, the kitchen, the bathroom at the back of the house. We’d have to walk past dad’s study to get to the main bathroom. Neither of us can do that. He spent a lot of time in there.
I’ve tried talking to mum a few times. I guess she’s not ready for a conversation. I got her to eat a piece of toast this morning. She’s been eating reasonably well but I’m still worried about her like she’d stop easting as soon as I turn my back on her. Maybe I should be more worried about me. I try to eat but nothing tastes good anymore. My next goal is to get mum out of her bedroom, at least onto the couch. Not yet, but soon. When she’s ready. Baby steps. I miss mum.
I used to tell her my problems, she was a good listener. I can’t do that now. She’s not coping without dad. I need to be strong for her. Maybe this is how it will be forever.
I’ve found an escape. Dad’s study. I go there during the day while mum’s in her room. I can close my eyes and pretend he’s sitting on the chair behind his desk. He came back after realising the way he left us and now he’s booking a table at that restaurant mum loves. He’s forgiven me for not looking after mum properly, he knows it was hard. He’s apologised and mum’s laughing like she did before. I’ll be eating properly again and we’ll be happy. Like before.
If dad really was here he’d know how to make me happy. He’d make me eat again. It would be okay. Everything would be okay. I really wish dad would come back to us. Mum gets more and more depressed everyday. I can barely look at her. Dad would make her get out of bed, he’d make her get dressed and go to a doctor. They give out pills for depression. They could help her. Dad would know how to get those. He’d take a look at the empty cupboards and help me shop for food. I miss him so much.
When the study gets too depressing I go back to my room each time promising myself I’d go for a walk. Last year, a girl in my class lost her brother in a car accident. They were really close. She got really depressed and one day she jumped off the same bridge his car crashed on. I don’t ever want to be that way. Her friends and family were so sad. I’m scared that if I stay in the house any longer I might get that way. So I promise myself I’m going for a walk tomorrow.
It’s been two weeks without dad. I stay in bed for a while after I wake up. I can heart mum in the kitchen but I’m not hungry. I get up and drag my blanket into dad’s study. I spend a lot more time in here than I used to but I’m also walking like I promised myself I would. I sit on the lounge hugging my legs. The cushions still smell like him so I close my eyes and wonder when I’ll stop feeling like this, everything reminds me of him. There’s a knock on the door but I keep my eyes closed. I feel the cushions next to me sink and I open my eyes to see my mum sitting next to me. She’s looking around as thought she’s never been in here before. We sit like this for a while. Her looking around, me looking at her. She doesn’t say anything, I don’t expect her to. Too soon after, she gets up and walks out. I stay only long enough to fix the cushions the way dad liked them before I go back to my room.
It takes me half an hour to shove on some clothes and brush my teeth/ I meet mum in the hall. She’s dressed today, in a simple skirt and a blouse dad claimed as his favourite. She hasn’t bothered with makeup but she grabs a pair of black sunnies to hide her red, swollen eyes. We head to the car and are driving away. The car is silent. Mum still isn’t talking. She’s still depressed and a skirt and sunnies won’t change that. When we get there we take our seats in the front row. “We are gathered here today to remember the life of a loving father, adoring husband and caring son.”
The priest at the front says. I wasn’t really listening; I was thinking I heard parts of the speeches though.
‘Miss him…always remembered…beautiful wife and daughter…very sick”
It went on. People cried and quiet sobs sounded from every corner of the packed church. My father’s funeral was simple and elegant. There were more people there than I could ever imagine, I hardly noticed it, I spent the whole time by my mothers side, in case she needed me. At the end when people started leaving my mum spoke to me for the first time in two weeks. “I love you and I’m sorry for being so sad. It’s just us now; we’re going to look after each other. I’ll start cooking again if you start eating again. We’re going to talk and clean and shop. I love you.”
Tears roll down my cheeks. It will be okay, everything will be okay.
“I love you mum, more than anything.”