This Monday the 8th April marks one year since my Dad suddenly passed away. It seems incredible that a year has passed since I last spoke to him. To lose someone so important to me, whose love and support I really miss, really still is devastating. So much has happened and it happening that I wish I could still be sharing with my Dad. One of the biggest things I've been coming to terms with is my sexuality; I never once feared the reactions of my parents, brother,family or friends but it was still something very confusing and difficult to talk about - to be sure about who I was myself I felt I needed to tell people,but in order to tell people I felt I needed to be sure about myself. It was a cycle that I had to eventually break, and I did, telling friends first but still not telling my family until very recently. My Dad would always support his sons regardless of these sorts of things - it simply didn't bother him, he just wanted us to be happy and that was his constant priority in his life, to provide for his wife and his two sons so that we might have what he didn't and become what he didn't have the chance to become.
My Dad was so proud I went to University, both he and my Mum never pushed me to do things I didn't want to do but they did push me and my brother to try our very best, especially the things we enjoy. I'd always enjoyed history, always enjoyed school and with the opportunity to go to University it was great to have my Mum and Dad rooting for me and for them to be so proud when I got the results I needed. But of course it's with great sadness that my Dad cannot witness be graduate in July. It's something he'd have loved to have seen, and my Mum would of course love for him to share that day with us. This is something that really does upset me because my dreams became his dreams. I know he will still be proud of me, and I can still fulfill this dream for him but it won't be the same.
My Dad was also so supportive of my interest in politics. I wrote a blog post last year saying how I realised after he died how my Dad was my political inspiration, and the support he gave to me as I grew freakishly obsessed with politics at a young age was so great. I am lucky to still be supported so well by my Mum and my family - even the Tory relatives - as I seek election in a few weeks. I know that my Dad would have enjoyed seeing me be a candidate and his encouragement is still felt even though he isn't here to make it known, but again I'd love to be sharing this journey with him.
That I can now consider doing a Masters is a consequence of my Dad passing away, he paid into a generous pension scheme which is providing for us all now. My Dad really did think about how he could make sure we had what we needed, but it goes beyond this and I now have other opportunities too. This isn't a part of my journey my Dad could have shared with me if he were alive, but it's a testament of his kind and considerate character that I am able to do these things now.
Since last April, I have obviously struggled coming to terms with life without my Dad being here. I didn't just lose my Father but I lost a best friend, somebody who I used to watch BBC This Week with, laugh about Andrew Neil's hair with and bitch about the Tories with. We shared a similar sense of humour and used to make each other cry with laughter, and it hurts that this can't happen anymore but the many memories of my Dad belly-laughing with tears streaming down his face will stay with me forever.
There is a void in my life that can never be filled, but as I struggled to deal with losing my Dad and as I dogged myself with blame, guilt and fears that this will happen to me next, others have stepped forward and provided me with immense support and I will forever be thankful. I am incredibly close to both my Mum and Brother and the support they've given me despite needing support themselves is indescribable, the same goes for my cousins Melanie and Barry. But also,friends have been really important to me - when I've needed people to turn to I've sometimes found it hard to find them but at just the right times people have been there especially Beth, Alex and Gareth. Without the support of friends such as these I really do not wish to contemplate how much more difficult this last year would have been. Kent Labour Students has given me many memories, good times and great friends, it provided a great distraction when I needed it and to the many thoroughly decent people there I'd like to say thanks. It's for these reasons I'll find it so hard to leave in a couple of months.
The unexpected twist my journey took last April has been very tough to deal with. I still get really upset, I still really miss him, I still feel incredibly lonely at times and I get fed up and frustrated that I feel this way. But I know I'm not the only person feeling these things, not the only person having difficulties. But I wanted to share a bit about my journey with whoever reads this, so that you might know a bit more about me, a bit more about why I moan so much on twitter, a bit more about why losing weight, buying clothes and going out still isn't enough for this student. There is a gap in my life that I never dreamt would be there at this point in my journey, but I'm slowly finding a way that means I can be happy and enjoy life and there are lots of people helping me to whom I am so thankful.