When I was 12 my dad passed away from a very sudden heart attack while we were on holidays in Spain.
We had been there about 5 days out of 7 and were coming back from an evening meal. We had decided to settle down for a film that evening so we all got in to our pyjamas and got a few crisps and things ready to nibble.
We were all waiting around to start the film, me and my sister were playing some game when i noticed dad was no where to be seen. I went to the kitchen where my mam and aunt were washing dishes and asked where dad was. Mam said he was just in the bathroom so I went down to see what on earth was taking so long. Mam followed me down and as I opened the door I noticed Dad was slumped between the shower and the toilet.
From then on we went in to instant auto pilot. Well i did anyway. Between keeping my sister away from the attempts to revive my father and having a go at it myself, I guess the night went on for forever. Eventually we fell asleep, or blinked… Im not sure which.
Then we had to get home. From that point until the funeral I don’t remember much. It was all a lot of darkness.
I went straight back in to school from half term and decided I would give myself the role of “the man of the house” and as a 12 year old girl, it was rather tricky!
I threw myself into my school work, pretty much. Don’t get me wrong I did have moments of madness in the middle of my school years which I’m really not proud of but we all have those moments of teenage tantrums!
I was very lucky to be surrounded by great friends and a wonderful school who provided me with a fabulous school councillor. I owe them everything. They made me feel a little less darkness and allowed light in to my life.
As I went further through the silly “system” of bereavement I noticed that what was provided for young people was actually aimed at young children. Being a teenager is hard enough as it is without being patronised and told how to feel. So that’s when I came up with Project 13. Something needed to be done where young people could speak to other young people about their loss and understand each other.
I do believe in an after life (thats just me!) and I do feel dad with me quite often and if he could tell me what he thought I’m pretty sure he’d be quite proud of what I have achieved so far. GCSE’s, A-Levels, getting in to uni, starting P13. This whole process has made me appreciate a colourful life once again.
I miss you so much dad.