One Year of a Different Kind of Grief — For Dad

Image Credit: Wade Lambert via Unsplash.

Written by H. WEND, May 31st, 2023.

One year ago, today, I received a phone call that my father had been struggling with COVID-19 and was likely at the end of his life. The news was completely unexpected. My heart sank, my stomach fell heavy, and the air around me grew thick, and my body— my entire being— felt as though I had been dropped into a deafening, swirling abyss.

I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye; he passed away just hours after I learned of his condition.

The grief that ensued was quite different to the grief I was already experiencing around my mother’s death. My relationship with my mother was stable and loving. I also had the opportunity to care for her in her final weeks and help honour her wish to pass away at home, surrounded by family. I know in my heart, my mother found the peace she needed before she departed, even though it was incredibly difficult to come to. I know the terms of which she left and I was able to tell her many times how much she meant to me. The grief I experience around my mother’s death is hardly about things left unresolved or unsaid, it’s the pain of a future without her, and that we cannot walk through life side by side. This grief is about the future.

When it comes to my father, it’s different. My relationship with him was always difficult. I spent a lot of time being angry and hurt even though I also longed to gain his approval and build a close and loving relationship with him.

I hadn’t seen him since the month after my mother passed away, in 2019. Three years. I gave up and it is something I regret deeply and can’t make peace with just yet.

My father’s care was not in my hands, I don’t know the terms upon which he departed, and I didn’t get to express the things I’ve held in for so long. My grief around his death are the things left unresolved and unsaid. This grief is about the past. And, where there is a past, there are alternatives to the way things were. There’s regret. Something about regret can feel like a dagger to the gut— the ‘could haves’ and ‘should-haves’ feel so real.

Last week, I told my therapist that I didn’t believe I deserved to feel grief over my father even though it is very much there. Everything is magnified and I can’t help but think of the ‘could haves’ and ‘should haves’.

There is pain in the fact that death closes the door, leaving you behind as the weight of impermanence crushes you.

You cannot reopen that door, you cannot go back in time and say all of the important things, you will not see that person’s face again— not tomorrow, or next week, or in x amount of years.

The door is closed.

My grief feels complex, my relationship with my father was strained and I had extraordinary expectations of myself to forge the ‘happy ending’ I always dreamed to have in my relationship with him.

I know it is apart of the grief and it’s just as important to hold space for these thoughts and feelings as it is to understand that I won’t be stuck in them forever.

Grief is really hard and uniquely so for each of us. I’m realising it is not some phase you go through after a death that will run its course, no; it is the initial phase and so much more. It is life after death, life with loss— it’s missing someone, holding unresolved feelings and unexpressed love, it is longing to see them at your door, it is the warmth of their smile, it is to hold and be held, it is their voice, their favourite shoes and the way they organise their things, it is missing them and trying to hold on but letting go long enough to grapple with respite and guilt. It’s being forever changed, it’s giving up and finding meaning but mostly— it’s whatever and however you experience it.

I think, my point is— this grief is different and I do not have enough of my grief unpacked to be able to write the things I wish I could write. My heart aches more than anything. But I also know that the reason I created my blog was to write about difficult things and the process of things that are messy and hard— because they are important and need space to be held. I’ve spent my life ignoring them, missing out on necessary healing and growth. I also know that grief can be a lonely road, and I believe that I don’t need mine to be worked out enough that it appeases or to be “perfectly packaged” in order to share it— not only would I be waiting a lifetime, but that is just what keeps us suffering alone in grief and many other things.

I would like to share the tribute (slightly adjusted) that I wrote just after my father passed away, last May.

“For Dad—

We didn’t have the best or closest relationship. Just as many people remember Dad— he was a “hard” man, and no doubt he was hard on me with high expectations, but that’s not what’s sticking with me.

What’s staying with me is who Dad truly was—a trailblazer, a disciple, a skilled and hardworking man, a ruthless badass, and a man enriched with cultured values. He was a son, brother, husband, father, grandpa, uncle, friend, and more. He had many flaws and many admirable attributes.

My dad was a man who gave the shoes from his feet and the shirt off his back to help and build others up; he loved and served others in the way he imagined God to love them: in true humility and without any bounds, never holding any grudges.

For most of my life, my dad was big, scary, and often seemingly cold. But there were many things I took for granted, like the hugs he gave when I was in pain, the mornings I’d wake to the sound of his favourite music playing loudly through a speaker (I’m talking Donna Fargo, Robbie Williams, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra), a fishermen’s friend or a hot cup of milo for when we were sick, learning songs together on his guitar, and his “unique” jokes to make us laugh.

He was this untouchable Superman, but he really did have a big, soft heart. He showed me in his own way that he loved me.

My dad has a rich, colourful past, full of many things I’ll never know or understand. There were over forty years I wasn’t alive for and just twenty-eight years that I got to have him as a dad in this lifetime. For those, I’m grateful. I just wish I could thank him.

Until we meet again.”

I hope to write more about him one day and share his story too— the one I hold with him.

I know I will.

But today, I will spend it acknowledging and feeling what needs to be felt and honouring him— my dad.

(S. M. M. 1951- 2022)


To My Favourite Mothers This Mother’s Day

Image Credit: Kevin Laminto via Unsplash.

Written by H. WEND, May 14th, 2023.

Mother’s Day isn’t quite what it used to be. For as long as I can remember, I have always known that I had a very special mother, that apart from strange blips in my adolescence, I always believed I was incredibly lucky to have had her. She was my life’s greatest blessing.

When Mother’s Day would come around, it was not nearly enough to celebrate and thank her, but it would come anyway, and I’d give her chocolate, slippers, breakfast in bed, and a card in the morning before the family gathered for a meal and chocolate cake.

The first Mother’s Day that came without my mother felt hollow, somewhat meaningless, annoying even. It still feels like an event I’m no longer invited to— Kicked out and shut out forever.

Continue reading “To My Favourite Mothers This Mother’s Day”


Image Credit: Vasilina Sirotina via Unsplash

Written by H. WEND. April 7th, 2023.

Five little ones sleeping peacefully- each of them positioned around their mother, close enough to reach out should a bad dream come their way. It was there, she prayed she would be able to hold them close for as long as time would allow.

When I was a little girl my siblings and I rarely slept in our bedrooms. Dad worked nights as a Taxi driver which meant the evenings were reserved for my mother and us kids. Evenings felt like another world, it was a hidden safe space.

Every night, after dinner and baths, my mother would slide our mattresses out of our bedrooms and lay them across the living room floor.

We would help by carrying out our blankets and pillows before finding a comfy place to snuggle in and watch TV shows before we went to sleep.

It was our cocoon.

Each of us fell asleep within an arms reach of each other, safe and sound.

The cocoon was warm, comforting and undetected by monsters and bad things.

There, in our cocoon, it seemed nothing could go wrong.

It was just a mother and her babies; my mother and us kids.

“David Kessler and Brené on Grief and Finding Meaning” | Unlocking Us with Brené Brown

Image Credit: Vasilina Sirotina via Unsplash,

Written by H. WEND. January 27th, 2023.

The Podcast

Image Source: ©2023 Brené Brown, LLC

Unlocking Us with Brené Brown is the podcast that drew me into the podcast world. In fact, it was this very episode that I listened to first which means this podcast is special!

Continue reading ““David Kessler and Brené on Grief and Finding Meaning” | Unlocking Us with Brené Brown”

Miss Harvey’s Grief

Image Credit: Alexander Grey via Unsplash.

Written by H. WEND. January 12th, 2023.

Miss Harvey was a young teacher, in her early to mid twenties. She had short red hair and freckles. I adored her. She was beautiful, upbeat and goofy. She was my kindergarten teacher.

One day, Miss Harvey came in and she was quiet. Throughout the morning it became more apparent that something was wrong.

Continue reading “Miss Harvey’s Grief”

‘I Dreamt of You’ — by H. WEND

Image Credit: Ithalu Dominguez via Pexels.

Written by H. WEND. January 5th, 2023.

Today marks 4 years since my mum’s passing, which seems absolutely surreal. Today, I thought I’d share a piece of writing I made recently in thought of her.

I Dreamt of You

by H. WEND

The sky nearing sunset,
We sat on a hill;
Our favourite place.
Lush green grass beneath us,
A bed of sunflowers.
Just us and the world.
As it had always been.
We were watching the sky,
As the sun began to fall;
Soft pink and orange hues,
Purple ink bled through scattered clouds.
I saw the evening light touch your face…
Your skin, your green speckled eyes
Illuminated by the light.
It was as if,
You had never left.
The wind blew a gentle breeze.
I took a deep breath.
Suddenly, I realised the depth
Of missing you.
Desperation filled my lungs,
My heart grew heavy.
“Mum,” I whispered,
“I don’t want this to end.”
The wind grew stronger,
Singing as it swirled around us.
You smiled, took my hand in yours,
And, you said,
“We don’t have much longer,
Stay in this moment with me.”
Then you nodded toward the sunset;
An array of the most beautiful colours
Painted across the sky before us.
And us,
At the edge of night.
Our world;
Slowly fading, slowly fading.
It was painstakingly beautiful,
It was all too familiar,
It was ‘Goodbye’.

© H. WEND 2023 Dear Jo-Anne

Goodbye 2022, Hello 2023

December 30th, 2022

The year is coming to a close and many of us are reflecting on the year we have had and the year that is about to come.

I’m definitely the type of person to take an opportunity to turn a new leaf and set some goals. Though, if anything, I have achieved shameless persistence rather than actually completing any goals but hey, I don’t mind, persistence is also good.

For me, 2022 has been similar to years previous with just a few differences- most of them, I’m very grateful for.

This year I am grateful for all the things I’ve learned and the ways in which I was able to grow. I thought I would share just a few reflections here.

Continue reading “Goodbye 2022, Hello 2023”

Finding Meaning in Christmas after Loss | Blogmas 2022

20th December 2022

I was raised in a very religious household and growing up, Christmas was centred around the birth of Christ. My mum had a beautiful set of nativity ornaments she would bring out each year and every Christmas we were reminded about the story of the Nativity.

Of course, there was also Santa Claus and gift giving and all the fun festivities of the season too. These things remained when religion was no longer practised in our home, and most importantly it was all about celebrating together as a family.

I didn’t realise that certain events would leave me wondering what Christmas means for me now. Whether it was my parents passing away, having a religious void or splitting from family members, the question has been waiting for an answer.

What does Christmas mean to me and what is important to me this season?

Continue reading “Finding Meaning in Christmas after Loss | Blogmas 2022”