Always hope..

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Each day that had slowly passed still felt like a nightmare. My dreams and reality seemed so mixed up and completely and utterly surreal – my mind trying to get over the shock and coming to terms with the fact that my dad was no longer going to be around anymore. Dad has decided to take his own life, as revealed by the police officers. I could not believe it. I couldn’t even comprehend why he would decide to leave his family behind. Until now, I realised that he wasn’t in his right frame of mind and didn’t think of what he will leave behind, but just to escape from the pain he was feeling. We had found out later that this was planned and my poor mum wasn’t even aware of it. She not long had to say goodbye to her mother. She tried to find some evidence and frantically pulled out all the clothes from their bedroom until she stumbled across a screwed up sheet of paper that dropped out of a coat pocket. She read it and burst into tears. ‘Why? Oh, why didn’t I find this before, and maybe I could have had a chance to find him?’ I reassured her that there was nothing she could have done – he didn’t want to be found. It wasn’t a suicide letter but notes stated in bullet points of what exactly had gone wrong in his life up until this point.
They say that the first stage is denial; that’s exactly what my brothers and I were experiencing. At night I would hear my mum wake up suddenly and quietly disappear onto the balcony outside my room. She would sit down and gaze at the night sky. She tried to hide it and not wake us, but I couldn’t help but hear her tear-filled sobs. Full of sorrow, pain and heartbreak. It was like a part of her had died. I wanted to go and cuddle her but I felt she might have wanted a bit of space. So I would lie back down to sleep and try to escape from this nightmare once more.
Mum had received thousands of letters and emails filled with wonderful messages expressing their deepest, heartfelt sympathies. It proved how much of a loved character, our dad was. She sat in the living room reading one by one. Although they were so emotional and so powerful to read, it was rather comforting for her and it made her get through each day that came by.
A couple of weeks later, Mum made the funeral arrangements with the family and decided to set the date on Valentine’s Day, which I thought was a bit too soon. ‘Mum, do you really think that is a good idea?’ I asked with concern. ‘It will be too overwhelming for you’, Max said. ‘I’m positive kids, it feels like it’s the right moment’, she replied with certainty.
As soon as the dauntingly, difficult day approached, the family slowly made their way to the crematorium which was close to home. Max, James and I held hands with comfort. It was going to be the most difficult day of our lives..
We arrived at the crematorium and quietly waited for the others. Suddenly, it started to drizzle down with rain. ‘Quick!’ Mum gasped. ‘We’d better get inside’. After everyone had eventually arrived, we sat down and waited for the minister.
Raw emotion flowed through the ceremony. I could hear gentle sobs all around me. I could see my dad’s friends, colleagues and also people who seemed like mere acquaintances. No matter who they were, he must have been important to them too. Dad was great giving advice to others – one of his greatest strengths and that must have played a significant part in their lives. Dad’s brother, Kevin stood up and delivered his speech. He was reminiscing about growing up with his older brother and how he looked up to him and admired his strength – like a ‘father figure’ towards him. But after a couple of minutes he started to weep and could no longer say anymore. Even the eldest of the three, Brian, struggled to hold it together after a few moments. Mum couldn’t bring herself to say anything either. The best thing for her was the comfort of all our presence.
It was hard for everyone but the minister delivered the service beautifully. Such lovely words of comfort, wisdom and peace flowed out of him. When it was over and we said our goodbyes, we walked back outside. We looked at the flowers everyone had placed on the ground. I decided to look up and something extraordinary happened right in front of my eyes.
‘Ohh! I gasped. ‘Mum, look!’ As I pointed upwards. We all looked up at the sky.
A rainbow!
A huge rainbow filled the sky. The biggest, brightest most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen. ‘Wow!’ Mum gasped. The look on her face was filled with tears of overwhelming happiness and joy. It brought us all hope and somewhere up there, Dad has sent us a sign that he still around – at peace and that there is nothing to worry about.
It might have been a complete coincidence. But the fact that it was there – bright and with such beauty, it made us really think about life and its mysteries.
No matter what happens, there is always hope..

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