Alternative title : Who knew that £1.68 could throw me into an internal grief meltdown. It’s just money right? And not a lot of it. I mean, can you even buy a Freddo nowadays for £1.68? … But create an internal grief meltdown it did. The day it fell out of my coat pocket and bounced into the driver foot-well of my car. I still have no idea where £1.50 of that ended up … The remaining 18p feels like the most precious thing in the world to me right now, all because the last person to touch it (aside from me) was my dad.
I know it’s silly to feel as though I’ve lost a part of him because I lost £1.50 that he gave me, but right now that is exactly what it feels like and as much as I adore Monty (my car) I was ready to tear it apart in search of those missing coins.
They were initially given to pay for parking one day when I took him to the hospital for an x-ray, it was the day he told me he was convinced he had cancer (we were waiting on results at this stage), it was the day he told me his body didn’t feel like his own anymore … It was the day he told me he knew it was serious, the day he told me he thought he was dying.
It was the day I told him that even if he did have cancer that he would be able to fight it … He was 57, there was still so much of life he was yet to experience.
I didn’t use his change to pay for parking.
I kept it in my pocket … Holding onto it as though it would change the future.
Except it didn’t change the future … It didn’t even sway it slightly … Because my dad was right. He had cancer and that cancer was at a stage in which he wouldn’t be able to fight it. It was too advanced. He would die before we would have chance to fully process exactly what was happening.
It took him away from me, from his family, from his friends, from those future experiences he was supposed to have … And left us with memories and photographs and a man-cave full of random sets of tools (that we have no idea what they were designed for. Seriously he ordered all sorts of crap off the internet).
It also left me with £1.68 that I couldn’t bring myself to use … That I would just hold onto whenever I wore the coat, just like I did that day at the hospital as I waited for him to return from his x-ray.
As though those circular pieces of metal would allow me to stay close to him for just a little while longer …
As though they held a value more than their monetary worth …
I suppose in a way they did … They held a sentimental value that allowed me to hold onto a memory of him.
That said even without the coins the memory is still there … The memory will always be there. But without them I feel a little more bereft. A little more lost. Or rather, I feel as though I have a little less of him around to grab hold of for comfort.
It’s strange isn’t it how your view of something can dramatically change … How something unremarkable – be it a wooden tortoise, a lighter or coins – suddenly takes on a whole different meaning and worth. It becomes something you wouldn’t trade, something you hold incredibly dear … Something you feel you need in order to survive.
£1.68 is no longer just £1.68 … It is a comfort blanket, it is a link to someone loved, it is a life line with which to battle the grief monster.
And now that I’ve lost a part of that I feel weakened somehow, as though it has ripped a hole in the comfort blanket, frayed the link or allowed the grief monster to draw blood.
I know these things are not necessarily true as I still technically have part of the change, I still have some of the coins that he touched, that he gave to me on that day. But for some reason there is a conflict in my brain as part of it is telling me that because it isn’t the full £1.68, that suddenly the other coins have lost a part of their significance. Whereas another part is telling me that the remaining 18p must be locked away in a vault, a vault squirreled away at a secret location and protected by doberman pooches and angry bees.
It’s such a strange bewildering gut wrenching feeling.
PS – I wrote this post while listening to Rag’N’Bone Man “Lay Me Down” pretty much on repeat, I am hooked on his voice and the lyrics. I think I love this song … It’s dark, emotional and hauntingly beautiful. Though I suspect there should probably be a trigger warning on there given some of the lyrics / scenes in the video.
If you (or someone you know) has been (or is being) affected by Cancer, then I can highly recommend Macmillan – they are amazing folks!
**EDIT : Oh and I forgot to mention when I wrote this originally that M and I are in Amsterdam this weekend to celebrate (read as: distract me from) my impending birthday. If you want to keep track of our adventures (as we’ll be away from LHB HQ obviously) you can follow me on Instagram here! As with all my travels I’ll be using the #LHB_Travels hashtag and would love to have you join us as we navigate that beautiful city!**
You can also follow LHB Blog on :