A couple of years ago, my father died suddenly of a heart attack. Being the eldest child, I had to look after my mum and my younger brother and sister as well as myself. But I was only 15.
Then, less than a year later it was time for my first major exams – GCSEs. It was a really pressurised time and things weren’t easy. I had to grow up fast.
Me and my father didn’t always have the best of times. I always wondered why it was that we were so close and yet so distant? Why is it that we wait so long to tell those so close to us about the way we feel about them? To lose someone so close to you and still live and breathe each day was a big struggle.
I had attacks of depression, identity crisis and suicidal thoughts, everything was so confused there didn’t seem to be anyone who could help and it didn’t feel like any counselling services were available. But I kept on going, still suffering in silence but living each day in the hope that one day things would be better that my life would change.
Before he died, I was heavily involved in my local community, doing a lot of voluntary work to represent the views of young people. That kept me going day to day, but it was only when I found a mentor to talk things through with that things started to change.
The relationship with my mentor developed and in him I found the dad I never had. Now I am more focused, more cool, more concentrated on what I want in life than ever before.
It can be so hard to cope with the feelings you get when someone dies but I would say above all, to have faith, stay positive and cool about life, it isn’t always as bad as it may look!