Opinion by Melissa Meehan
My dad died last month.
It was unexpected and quite sudden after a brief stay in hospital.
It was by far the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life.
I spoke to him on the phone every day and saw him often.
He was too young. It was too soon. And it is so unfair.
And being in the middle of a pandemic meant we had very little time to say good bye.
My kids didn’t even get a chance.
My three year old daughter Lilly, just loved him.
He was her favourite person in the entire world.
And she was his.
So explaining what had happened was almost as tough.
While she knew she couldn’t see him again, I wasn’t entirely sure she understood that he was gone for good.
So we decided we needed something visual that would signify what had happened and help her understand.
It was Dad’s birthday three days before he passed away.
And because of COVID-19 restrictions we weren’t allowed to visit him or send flowers to ICU.
So I organised for balloons to be delivered.
The doctors gave approval and thought it would give Dad a bit of a spark which could in turn help get him better.
But it was not to be.
As part of those balloons where some plain coloured ones and one large confetti filled balloon.
Once we had said our final goodbyes at the hospital, we cut the confetti balloon from the rest and took it home for Lilly.
We took the balloon out into the backyard and explained to Lilly that it was Pa.
And by letting it go, Pa would fly into the sky and become a star.
Every night Lilly asks if Pa is there as she looks up to find the brightest star.
She then tells him she loves him and blows a kiss.
It breaks my heart every time.
But it’s so beautiful that she can still have that connection with my Dad even though he is gone.
I’m so sad that my youngest, who just turned one, probably won’t remember him.
Dad always said she was going to be something special and change the world.
It’s even more heartbreaking that he won’t be around to see it happen.