This post is about death, in particular of close family members. If this subject is triggering to you, please don’t read today. Come back next week where I’ll be talking about travel or expat life or something altogether more cheerful.
My Dad died a two years ago this weekend (in a cruel twist the anniversary of his death falls on Fathers Day here). But what I want to write about today is that when I am talking about this fact, I struggle to know what terminology to use.
I often say he passed away, because in the moment that’s really what it felt most like. However, I’m usually a proponent of saying what you mean, and using the right words for things. So this feels a bit too much of a delicate euphemism to me.
I am also not a fan of when people say “we lost him”. No, we did not accidentally mislay my Dad in a crowded supermarket and he has yet to find his way home again. It was not a careless oversight. We, and the doctors, did everything we could to keep him with us. No, we did not lose my Dad.
My Daddy and I. Just popping down the shops.
I also don’t want people to think he is an absent father who is ‘no longer around’. That’s a disservice to the great man he was and the brilliant Daddy I was lucky enough to have for 29 years of my life – plenty of people don’t have that privilege. I don’t want anyone to have the wrong idea of him, even people I’ll never meet again, even people who couldn’t care less what kind of a person my father was.
So, I should probably just refer to my Dad’s death. Saying, when my Dad died, or my Dad is dead. The problem I have with that is that it often feels very jarring and I really can’t bring myself to say those words. They actually won’t come out of my mouth. It’s too painful.
So what words can I say? I don’t like passed away as it’s too euphemistic. Using the d-word is too jarring. And I refuse to talk about losing someone. Does anyone else struggle with this? If so, what do you say? And can I borrow it?