Tuesday 23 July 2019

'I'll never again see his lovely smiling face': Presenter Anna Nolan on the grief of losing her dad

Anna Nolan and dad
Anna Nolan and dad

Anna Nolan

Just before my dad's funeral last Tuesday, I called in to a little coffee shop across the road from Ringsend Church. I was already feeling very nervous. I'd never been to a funeral of a very close family member. I didn't want to be there. Who would.

The lady behind the counter took my order. She asked me if I knew whose funeral it was. I looked at her and said: "My dad."

She very kindly offered her condolences and said: "That coffee's on the house." It was a lovely act of kindness, one of many I felt during the whole day.

My brother, Kevin, showed great kindness by organising so many details of the day. My workmates turned up to share a drink in honour of my dad.

The Great Irish Bake Off On TV3: Anna Nolan
The Great Irish Bake Off On TV3: Anna Nolan

Relatives stayed late into the evening in the Dundrum House, telling stories of a man who was loved by many.

Kevin Nolan was born in Ringsend and moved to Rialto where, along with my mother, he brought up seven children.

He was a great father, and I will miss him.

I've already gone through some stages of grief. Last week, the anger was incredible. I've cried a bit. Not a lot. I'm a delayed reaction kind of person. I'm always good in bad situations - I can deal with catas- trophes. It's when I let things settle, allow myself to feel, that I fall apart a little.

Anna Nolan
Anna Nolan

Mostly, I'm sad. A sadness that's new to me. I can't shake it. It's the idea of "never again" that makes me so, so sad.

I'll never go for a pint in Neary's with him again. We'll never have a little pate and a glass of red wine in the Trocadero. We can't plan any more trips to London. We'll never have a Christmas dinner with my siblings and Ita.

I'll never again see his lovely smiling face and tell him my news. He would always listen. He would never give advice or tell me what to do. Just listen.

Yes, the "never again" is troub- ling me. I don't know how to get my head around it. I suppose I'll just have to wait and see.

My father was a man who loved his children and his partner. He loved jazz and classical music. He loved to go to Howth for fresh fish and he loved cooking. He loved life.

What makes me happy is that I have no regrets with him. No unsaid words. I loved him and he loved me.

I'll see how the next while pans out. I have no idea if I'll turn into a wreck, or just come to terms with the "never again".

Whatever happens, Kevin Nolan, know you were the best. Rest in peace.

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