Sobbing in Ikea

Yep, that happened. Today in fact. Grief is a funny old thing…

As ever it bounded upon me like a frantic puppy having just been released from its pen. Earlier I felt a bit choked driving down a country lane and suddenly had yet another realisation of how much I missed my Father. I was so used to spending every day with him, talking to him, spending time with him and relying on his company but sometimes you have those rude awakenings that it isn’t going to happen again. You’ll never hear the sound of his voice, you’ll never see his smile and you’ll never be able to hold his hand. Driving his Land Rover Defender makes me so close to him but still fills me with so much sadness when I look behind the steering wheel and realise that he’s not going to be sat there again.

Only a few months back we took him to Ikea on a trip out. It was his idea of hell on earth but we always had fun. I strongly recall pulling up in the disabled bay, unloading the wheelchair and the oxygen flasks, making sure he was properly piped up and connected before helping him out the passenger seat into his chair. We sat in the restaurant eating meatballs and his favourite apple pie, the latter of which I warmed up in the kiddies microwave and then stocked up on mini Daim bars and all the salty liquorice in the Swedish food market. We spent a lifetime looking at fitted wardrobes and laughed for the millionth time at all those trying desperately to fit a whole bathroom in the trunk of their tiny little car.

It also harks back to a few years ago when my parents were visiting Ikea on a regular occassion as they were building up the conservatory into an office space. All was well and we had no idea of what was to come so soon. He was looking forward to retirement and having desk space where he could play on his computer and fanny about with the paperwork. That office desk still sits there covered in trinkets and memories of him but now only a photograph of his laughing face sits as a daily reminder of the joyful man he was.

Today it crept up on me. That realisation sat in the pit of my stomach and only after looking at all the new Autumn range in Laura Ashley did it begin to dawn on me that we were entering a new season without him here. And not just any season, my favourite time of year. So inevitably after wandering the maze of Ikea for an eternity and finally reaching the exit, this time without mini Daim bars and salty liquorice, I couldn’t help but sit outside in the beautiful warm evening air and be filled with despair. That desperate clawing feeling in the pit of my stomach of wanting him, well, needing him to come back. That inescapable feeling of ultimate loss that someone you loved so dearly, and still love so dearly, is gone and can’t ever come back to you.

Driving down the motorway suddenly Rod Stewart came on the radio. My Father was a sucker for Rod Stewart, he adored listening to his music and it wouldn’t be wrong to say I know most of the lyrics to Atlantic Crossing, particularly the latter half of the record. As always happens the tears dry and my heart begins to fill with love again. Love at the memories and the legacy that he’s left me with, that even in these sweet simple little reminders he’s always around in some way. Whilst each day continues to throw me a curveball that is emotionally draining, there are always the good things in which to remember. Just maybe on the next Ikea trip I’ll remember to pack some tissues.




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