An Open Letter to Anyone Who Has Lost a Parent

Open letter

The new Star Wars film is coming out on the 18th December. This will be the first time I will watch a Star Wars film from start to finish without my Dad. Most of you will think I’m being childish, but a handful will understand why this is scary. The moment the release date was published I rushed to my phone to call my Dad, forgetting that he had died 2 years ago.

In December 2011 my Dad was diagnosed with terminal melanoma cancer and died 6 months later. I was 19 years old. 3 years later, this is something I wish someone had told me.


Dear sweet darling

I am so very sorry for the loss of your parent at such a crucial point in your life. A piece of your world was stolen from you that can never be replaced, which I know personally cuts deep like a blunt knife. As you continue to grow and as the years go by you will find that many things are ‘expected’ of you by people who have not experienced this pain or loss and I’m afraid I cannot tell you what to do here.  You cannot be told when you will be ready to talk about your pain and you mustn’t allow people to force you to ‘heal’. This can only be done in your own time. Personally, 3 years down the line and I can sometimes still be a broken child inside.

We’re fast approaching Christmas now and as everyone is rushing around getting everything ready, you’re sitting, watching and wishing they were with you. If this is your first Christmas without them, it is going to be hard, but you will be surrounded by family and friends who love and care about you.

I want to address the major things that I have learned on my own that are not the easiest to conquer; that in most cases, people do not understand.

  1.   It is good to cry: Forget those people who tell you crying is for the weak. You will be amazed at how much a good cry can help you in that moment.
  1.  Watching your other parent heal is the most painful of all: Knowing you can’t do anything to help them as you watch them try to stay strong for you will never be easy. Just know that you being there is helping them. You lost your parent, but they lost their partner. You have to stick together now more than ever.
  1.   The first time you fall in love, get a ‘proper’ job and move out will be as painful as it is exciting: The moment will be exciting and you’ll feel like any other person going through the same excitement. But something amazing has just happened and the first person you want to tell isn’t there.  They’re not there to offer their opinion about the person you’re falling for, to give you advice on your new career path or help you carry the heavy boxes to your new home. You’ll have chills when you think about how different your life could be with them around.
  1.   It hurts every time you see close family: Your family will laugh about memories from the past when everyone was all together, reminiscing about your parent. With a smile plastered across your face, you’ll nod as family members tell you stories all the while thinking what you would give to have them here with you now.
  1.  It’s amazing every time you see close family: Your aunt tells you about the time she barricaded herself and your dad in the bathroom because he didn’t want to go to cubs. These stories will warm your heart, take the time to listen to them.
  1.   You will be jealous of those who still have both parents: You see a family having a wonderful time in a restaurant and something inside you starts to stir; a sense of resentment. That used to be you. The world wasn’t perfect, but your world was in their presents.
  1.   You will be angry at those who complain about their parents to you: At least they still have one.
  1.   Family traditions will never be the same: Saturday afternoons spent watching crap telly and evenings spent catching up on the formula 1 will just be a memory that you hold close to your heart.
  1.  You question everything: You question everything you know and what you believe in, if anything. You will replay moments in your head questioning your actions and ask yourself “what if?” every day.
  1. The word ‘sorry’ becomes numb: People don’t always know the story, so all they can say is ‘sorry’. You smile at them and say ‘thanks’. The word sorry no longer has meaning after you have heard it a million times.
  1. You dread every Father’s Day/Mother’s Day: You cannot avoid it. My first year, every time a father’s day advert came on the telly I would cry. I refused to leave the house with the fear of seeing a happy father and daughter combo. You prepare yourself and ignore it all you can – it does get easier.
  1. Photos and old family videos are worth 10 times more than gold: You’ll stumble across a shoe box full of old family photos and you’ll stop everything and spend hours looking through them, you’ll start to cry. Your mind will take you back to that exact moment and you encounter a special moment of what it was like back then.
  1. You wonder if you make them proud: When no one was looking but you did the right thing or you finally learnt how to change the oil in your car by yourself, you stop and think ‘I wonder…”.
  1. Death will change you and your outlook on life: Things you used to panic about no longer matter, you stop complaining and you get on with life. Will worrying change it? No? Then don’t waste your energy worrying about it.
  1. Eventually, you’ll be walking through a busy town centre and you’ll see a father/mother and daughter/son walking arm in arm, laughing and joking with each other. It will warm your heart and make you smile: You are remembering the good times. You are healing.
  1. You will grow in ways you never thought: There will be a moment when you’re surrounded by your family and you’ll notice that everyone has a shared characteristic with your parent. Then looking at your own heart, you’ll realise how much of them is in you too.

People say that the pain never goes away and that you just get used to it. I would like to say this isn’t true, but know this, it does get easier and the pain will eventually turn into beautiful memories. Your parent may have been taken from you, but no one can ever take away your memories of them.

Stay strong, my darling.

With all my love and the kindest regards

A girl who lost her father xx


An Open Letter to The Friends That Walked Out of My Life

Open letter

Today someone asked me how you are and I realised that I don’t know.

I couldn’t tell you who you spend your days with and I couldn’t tell you what’s important in your life lately; or who is important in your life (clearly, not me). I don’t know and I realised that I haven’t known for a while. It’s a funny thing; change, because I used to know everything. I used to talk to you every day and I could tell you all of your little quirks, antics and daily adventures. Hell, I used to be a part of them. But now, I’m not. I haven’t been for a while.

You all too gracefully walked out of my life, took your final bow and exited stage left. I was just a scene in the movie that is your life and the curtain finally went down on me, leaving me in the dark.

You know, I used to miss you, our inside jokes, our nonsensical conversations and our wild adventures. I used to miss that friendship so much. But I never felt like you missed me, or even remembered and missed the things that I did. So, eventually I stopped missing you. I used to be mad. I was so angry at how you could just walk out of my life and forget about me and it made me both sad and mad at the same time, making me think I hated you.

It took me a while, but I’ve slowly come to the realisation that a “friend” isn’t someone that only texts you when they want or when they need something. It’s not someone that just makes small-talk with you and waves at you from across the bar and it’s definitely not someone who doesn’t know how you are or who you are. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t take long for life to come around and change people.

To me, you’ve become a stranger. Not for lack of caring, but because quietly, without you ever really noticing it, you stopped knowing who I was. You stopped asking how I was and in that time, I’ve changed. I bet you don’t know about my latest struggles and triumphs. If you do, you haven’t congratulated me or asked me if I’m doing okay.

It took me way too long to realise that you shouldn’t stay friends with people who never ask how you are. In simpler words, you don’t know how I am and you never asked.

But in case you were wondering, I’m not sad, I’m not mad and I don’t hate you. The thing is, I just don’t care anymore. I let go of you just like you let go of me. But sometimes, I do wonder how you are. I hope that one day someone asks you how I am, I hope you realise that you don’t know, I hope you miss me and I hope it hurts.

If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Don’t Say Anything At All

Open letter

Over the weekend I was shocked to hear a Healthcare Assistant say that my job is just “copying and pasting” and that she does my job as well as her own on a daily basis. I have been working in healthcare for nearly 3 years now, in this time I have been promoted twice. Regardless of this, I am ashamed to say that this is not the first time my career has been insulted by someone working on the clinical side of healthcare.

I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion; however, opinions are different to facts. This brings me to why I am writing this. Consider this, if you will, an open letter to all clinical members of staff (both private and NHS) who believe administration staff are pointless.

I have never been one to care what people think of me, especially these short sighted people. However, this time it isn’t me that is getting backlash, it is every healthcare administration worker who spends their career working their ass off so the NHS and healthcare services run smoothly – and I love working my ass off and knowing that I am making a difference, even if I’m not providing ‘hands on’ care.

I have worked closely with Nurses, Healthcare Assistants, Ward Managers, Doctors, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Business Managers, Consultants, Secretaries, Receptionists, Ward Clerks and Hotel Services, all of which I have treated as equals and who I have respected whole heartedly – and I believe this is one example of why I have ‘climbed’ as far as I have in my career. Equality is a problem across the world; but it’s becoming clear to me that it’s also right on our doorsteps, even if in this instance, it is a lack of education and knowledge. I can talk about what an amazing job all the above listed employees do (because they do); however, that is not why I am here today. I am here to promote respect and coherence for administrative staff in healthcare settings.

Administrative staff provide essential support to Doctors, Scientists, Nurses and other Healthcare Professionals; however, it is not our job to write your care plans or patient’s notes for you  – we are not clinically trained and therefor, it is not our job, nor our responsibility to write your patients care plans. Why would someone record legal documentation that someone else administered? This is not done on hospital wards, in outpatient clinics, GP surgeries or in care, nursing and residential homes, so you are not doing my job “on a daily basis” by doing your own paperwork.

In a nutshell, we have the responsibility and are expected to use our own initiative, make decisions and deal with patients and their relative who are worried or upset. We have significant contact with patients, GP’s and other healthcare staff. We are responsible for maintaining detail of budgets, all orders and team workloads; ensuring they have all materials and equipment that they need to do their work. We schedule, attend and participate in and minute meetings. We have excellent secretarial and administration skills, holding an RSA or similar qualification at an appropriate level. We have good knowledge of medical terminology and always have a professional approach to our work while carrying out all other admin duties and our workload.

If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Don’t Say Anything At All You obviously don’t understand what we do in our role, so there is no need to insult our intelligence or act like you are better than us. You are not better than us, you are just embarrassing yourself and your intelligence.

If you think we just copy and paste and you do my job, as well as your own on a daily basis, then you clearly don’t understand my job, and therefor, you wouldn’t be any good at it.

Besides, didn’t your mother ever tell you that if you can’t say something nice you don’t say anything at all?