22/03/2017 08:36 GMT | Updated 23/03/2018 05:12 GMT

Cheers! To 365 Days Without My Dad!

Yes, I know I shouldn't really be saying that but it's just when people die, I laugh now and it's not even funny. I know it's not funny, it's just that life feels like a joke.

But I guess I made to it to the other side right? Even though I don't wish to be so far away from the day he left me, if I think about it logically, the day he left me is the closest day to the day he was here. I know it sounds messed up because who would want to be close to death? Well, I wouldn't mind - I'd feel close to him. Today marks 365 days without him and it's crazy because those days have been the best and worst days of my life. Some days more bitter than sweet because every achievement I make is a reminder that he isn't here to see it.

So many of us run into the "dream" of a new year with unresolved burdens when the truth is my 2016 hasn't really ended. Death has changed me, for better or worse? I'm not quite sure, but I'd probably say worse if I had to pick a side.

In November 2015, my dad fell ill. On 23rd March 2016, in the beginning of my second year of university, my dad passed away. I study nursing at De Montfort University and I can tell you now that being a student nurse did not help! You could say I knew he was going to die before I even wanted to. I understood the medical notes and jargon that the doctors and nurses would use in their conversations (I think they forget that people with nurses and doctors in families get sick too!) But what were the chances? My dad would have to die, and I would feel the pain of him leaving even before he even left? Some would say it's a good thing simply because I had that 'chance' to say goodbye. But my dad was my best friend so I didn't have plans to say goodbye. My dad was my number one fan, he was the one to push me to go to university because after all my siblings had studied and gained success, it was now my turn.

My dad is the one who will not see me graduate.

I am one of five sisters but guess who won't be walking down the aisle with my dad? Me.

Guess whose children he won't see? Mine.

These are some of the truthful thoughts I think and they're the ones that hurt the most; the reality and consequence of death and sometimes the jealousy I feel towards my siblings, because they were alive longer so they've had more time. It just doesn't feel fair. There is a selfishness in my hurt and I say selfish because it's true - it's so easy to say 'my dad' even when I know my siblings feel the same pain in different ways, step siblings included also.

The worst thing about death is that it becomes a rollercoaster of change. March led to June and I became 21 with no Dad. Fathers' Day came and I wished I had a dad to call. June turned into December and Christmas was here. Throughout the year I had never contemplated Christmas, I was so consumed with the start of the year that I took every day as it came and never thought ahead. That was until we had two weeks off from university for the Christmas holidays and I was to return home to Birmingham. Christmas is said to be the most wonderful time of the year but not this year. I usually adore the German Markets in Birmingham. I itch to attend every year but as I left New Street station that day, greeted by the Markets, I paused and felt the tears run down my face. People walked by and saw my tears and I was just so embarrassed! Why was I even crying? I hate crying. I really do but by this point, anger, frustration and sadness consumed me I had never ran so fast in my life. But the thing is, running fast didn't change anything, I had gotten to the bus stop but the horror didn't end there - seeming happiness everywhere and in everyone, but me. I didn't even want to be home. Home is meant to be that place that doesn't change, home should be comfort and this was not the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas day came and honestly it was horrible. For as long as I can remember I have had the same routine half the day with my mom, half the day with my dad, my dad would pick me up at 17:00PM to go my stepmom's.

There was no dad. Who was going to pick you up Tiffannie? Dad was not here. Dad is gone.

So I sat there on Christmas day while everyone else was singing and dancing, five o'clock came and left me and I was still sat at that table, five o'clock really left me. My life had changed and was never going to be the same. I'd say Christmas was the worst part so far and I'm sure that there are more happy days to come that will become sad knowing he's not here. Yes, you can tell me 'he is still here inside' but let's be honest, can I hear him? Feel him? Touch him? Hug him or even share the silence of our car journeys? No! He was here and I don't want to feel him on the inside - I would like to feel him on the outside!

Nevertheless, in my 365 days without him I have also made some great achievements. I started my business in July 2015 "Soul Sessions"  - Where Poetry and Sound Meets Art I developed this in university with business partner Itunu Para-Mallam. In October 2016, we successfully moved from Leicester to London, sold out, had a wonderful time meeting new people and making new friends and we are still growing. In January 2016, I recited a Maya Angelou poem 'Still I Rise' for Baroness Doreen Lawrence at her investiture to become Chancellor at my university. In September, 2016 I lobbied for the library to be open 24 hours, 365 days of the year and it was changed within a week. In January, 2017 I made reason for the nurses to be involved in a DMU Global trip to New York -  a trip the nurses were not involved in due to timetabling issues but after some consideration, we the nurses were able to travel New York. I have learnt how to carry myself appropriately, speak eloquently and use my voice wisely. University has actually been a home away from home. Therapy.

At the end of the day, the reality is he wasn't here for any of it! And my next truthful thought is: So what was the point? *Shrugs shoulders* I do know the point of everything I do but I just want my dad. SIGH. I don't know what to say at this point so I'll leave this paragraph be. I think you get the point...

Grieving is a kind of love.

When the hype has settled down and everyone has finished saying their condolences, after a while, everyone goes away but the pain of death still remains. The only way left to show love to that person, is through grieving, because that was the last set of emotions you carried towards that person and is literally all you have left. I realized I've held on to my grief, my tears and my pain because that's all I have left, and I am not finished yet! I used to see people posting their loved ones for years after they had passed and I'd think 'Lord as if they're still sad after all this time' until it happened to me and I am now able to weigh it up. You can't expect someone who has had another person in their life for 20 years to be ok without them after 1 year, on paper, it just doesn't make sense.

A phone call, a car journey, Christmas, birthdays, holidays, weddings, christenings and a hug - many of the things we take for granted. This is only a small glimpse of my first year without my dad. It has been hard, I have cried more days than I have smiled, I have begged God why? Some days, I have woken up believing it's not real, I have called his phone and not heard an answer *types number* 07966782191 07966782191 07966782191 - yes! I still know it off by heart, 'cannot take your call please leave a message after the tone...' -  I have even left a message.

The thing is, I am scared to forget him. Sometimes in my mind I'll go through every memory I have with him nearly every day just to make sure I don't forget. "But you can't forget him" I know you're probably thinking. "Of course you won't forget him" but, my memories are like gold now. I have to protect them so If I have to recite them I will - he's worth it.


I would like you to please appreciate what you have: Mom, Dad, sister, brother, anything! Because when they are gone, they are gone.

I wrote this blog; I don't know why I wrote this blog. Do I feel better? At the moment no, not really. Regardless of that I hope it will help someone be more aware of what they have and how precious it is. Or I hope it's given someone comfort if they are hurting like I am, to please understand that you are not alone and I feel your truth. The smiling, talkative, happy Tiffannie Mersades you see in real life or from Instagram or TiffannieMCR from Twitter and Snapchat hurts just like you - don't be fooled by anyone's outward image because this is me on the inside.


So many of us run into the "dream" of a new year with unresolved burdens when the truth is my 2016 hasn't really ended, and if yours hasn't either that's fine, what's the rush? Pain has no time limit and when you're ready tell yourself, you can tell yourself: Happy New Year. I think mine might be in June but I'll see how it goes.

Cheers! To 365 days without my Dad.

Tiffannie Mersades