My dad died ten years ago. I was 16, he was an alcoholic. To some degree it was expected, but in others it wasn’t. He was 54, and had only really become unwell in the last year of his life.

My dad was my mum’s first and only boyfriend. They met when she was 21, and they were together (sometimes happily, oftentimes not) until he died. My mum has made the decision not to date since my father’s death, and this is her decision to make.

In the year after his death, my mum struggled to listen to music. She loves music, and will spend hours trawling through YouTube to find her favorite motown hits.

(I’ve tried to teach her about Spotify, it doesn’t work)

Today, mum took me out for lunch and I struggled to listen to some of the ambient music in the shops. There are songs that remind me about the boyfriend, and songs that make me tearful because of their message. So today I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Michael Jackson, because that’s music that has always belonged to me and something that he never understood.

I don’t mean to belittle death. I don’t mean to belittle that ultimate loss and finality that death brings, and the knowledge that you’ll never see that person again. Sometimes that’s a palatable thing. Sometimes that’s acceptable, and it becomes part of your new reality.

Sometimes the death of a loved one never truly feels true, and it feels like they might return at any point. That maybe they were playing the worst practical joke. That they were a secret agent who’s been undercover and that they’ll come back soon.

I don’t quite know how the breakup is going to feel. I have a sense of finality, and as I wrote about previously, it feels like there will be positivity eventually. For the time being, I’m going to keep listening to Michael Jackson.

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