Today is a particularly poignant day. It is precisely 16 years since Dad took his last breath. I remember the day as if it was yesterday. Me and my sister found him on the living room floor in his flat, and despite looking like shit, he was in a positive mood. He reached out his hand, asking, “Help me up, I’m going for a pint”. Little did we know that morning that they would be some of his last words and that he only had hours left to live.
Memories of his slow, painful death still haunt me, but the special memories we shared during this sad time have also inspired me to write. Steve Jobs famously said, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking back”, he also goes on to say that “You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. That you have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever”.
I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason, this belief has come from the lessons I have learned from connecting the dots from my past. For example
Had it not been for losing my insanity, I would never have found my reality
Had it not been for the time spent in Middlewood Hospital, I would have never learned or understood about mental health, as I do now.
Had it not been for the CPN (community psychiatric nurse), I would never have had the courage nor inclination to go back to education.
Had I not gone to college, I would never meet the teacher who encouraged me to pursue a counselling course.
Had I not done the counselling course, I would have never met the Manager from a day rehabilitation program, who offered me a volunteering job.
Had it not been working in a recovery environment; I would never have understood addiction as I do now.
Had it not been for my addiction, I would never have understood shame and how to break free from it.
Had it not been for my recovery and the things I learned about myself, I would have found it impossible to support Dad during his alcoholism.
Had it not been for Dad’s demands, I would have never turned to journaling to offload my anger and hurt.
Had it not been for Dad, I wouldn’t be writing this today
Had I not been sat waiting to be interviewed by Roni Robinson, I wouldn’t have met the previous guest on his show, writer, Beverly Ward and asked for her business card.
Had it not been for Beverly Ward, I would never have dreamed I’d be signing up for a writing retreat.
A lot of the above didn’t make sense at the time, but I now realise that they all happened for a reason. Only this week, a memory appeared on my Facebook, taking me back to when I was packing to go away on my first ever writing retreat. I remember before heading off, our old man joking, ‘Thal be coming back wearing crocks and be a born-again vegan’. None of that happened, but something did change in me during that weekend away.
It was around the same time; the news was dominated by a deadly virus and government plans for a lockdown. Just being away from all the bullshit and negativity and being around other writers afforded me space and time to seriously consider whether or not I had a book in me. One year on, and now I’m 75,000-words in, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing.
I recently suffered from writer’s block; in fact, I came to a full fucking stop! I’d gotten to a point in my life where events became blurry, and I found myself struggling to connect the dots. I panicked. I freaked out. I even questioned if the memories I had, were even true, did they even happen! I even contemplated throwing the towel in, how I could continue writing if I couldn’t remember the story. I was afraid that I would be cheating the readers out of part of the story, but the truth was scared, and I felt cheated myself, not recalling events.
Some people have said to me ..
‘Why put yourself through it?’
My response is always…
‘Life is sometimes shit! And it is ok to feel shit and it doesn’t last long’
I know that from personal experience, it will pass. It always does, and after a week of tormented thoughts and sleepless nights. Guess what? It did!
And I finally broke through the writer’s block.
I don’t usually advocate dwelling or living in the past. It’s in the past for a reason. But I do see the value in popping back every so often to remind yourself just how far you have come. Nowadays, I don’t look back and feel ashamed. I can look back and feel grateful for everything in my past, especially the darkest periods.
I couldn’t save Dad from his alcoholism, but hopefully, I can help others in his memory, and I can make sure that his premature death wasn’t in vain. I’m not sure where this is all going, but as Steve says, ‘I just have to trust that the dots will somehow connect.’
Ps . If tha needs inspiring you can check out the rest of Steve Jobs had to say clicking here
Rest in Peace, Dad and thank you. Thank you for everything, including the Good the Bad and the Ugly, all my love Tracey x
Thank you for taking the time to read.
Remember I don’t write for financial reward or gain, I just want to help share my lived experience with others in the hope that it helps. And I just love to write, so if ya fancy getting the occasional email with the most up to date blogs from yours truly, please feel free to subscribe at the bottom of the main page.