I’m not quite sure if I’ll ever publish this, but at the slight chance I do muster up the courage; I hope this resonates with at least one other person. Or if nothing else, I hope this lifts the huge weight I have on my chest right about now. So, to acknowledge the elephant in the room, my dad passed away a few months ago. It probably wasn’t too evident on account of me distracting myself through a daily blog post challenge called Blogtober [ which I succeeded in btw] & keeping a sense of privacy. It just goes to show you never know the full story of a person. Chances are most people hide away in highlight reels instead of allowing reality to smack them in the face. But I also felt like someone out there may be going through something similar & could use a blog post like this one to reidirate the fact they aren’t alone. Plus, grief [ especially on this kind of level ] has allowed me to learn a few things, evolve as a person & change the way I want to continue my life in the future. Here are 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Losing a Parent
You’ll Feel Numb & A Bit In Denial
I thought the next time I’d go visit my parent’s house, he’d still be sitting in the kitchen or watching the football game in the living room. I thought he’d be around to hear my latest adventures or whatever home improvement projects were in the works. Even the endless texts & calls of condolences couldn’t solidify the fact he was gone. The silence that echoes when I went back to that house & the absence of his voice saying “how’s my girlz” is deafening & couldn’t solidify it either. And I’ll be honest, I kind of enjoyed this phase of grief because the pain wasn’t all quite there. Sure, I still had moments of sadness, but I would quickly brush it off & was able to muddle through my daily routine & find the joys in each day like nothing was missing. It’s almost as if it didn’t happen.
Other People’s “Relatable” Stories Won’t Be Comforting
Telling me about the time you lost your grandparent or the time you lost your parent when you were 50 aren’t the same as losing a parent in your late 20’s or at 30. I’m not trying to downplay loss here or sound rude in anyway. It’s sad & tough to lose anyone at any age, but I found it quite difficult to find these stories relatable or comforting. I went to Youtube videos or the very few people who I knew who went through similar timelines with loss. And even then, it taught me the hard truth. It taught me everyone’s experience is different & no one will fully understand mine. You can have support but feel as though you are going down a journey of solitude at the same time. I also gained a sense of understanding that people honestly don’t know what to say during times like these & the best way to receive the comments is with a grain of salt.
Future Plans Become Blurred
I’ve been engaged since May. And although the wedding planning is going relatively well & we have a date set for next spring, I personally didn’t think it was possible. I thought I’d need time to heal before I even thought of looking at color schemes, writing guest lists or sending out save the dates. Luckily, I managed to go the route of pressing on & looking forward to my future. This doesn’t mean I still have a lump in my throat as I go through each task some. And I’m definitely making decisions by the beat of my own drum. Loss has just taught me to continue to live life & not to waste time on our futures. Life is short. My dad won’t be walking me down the aisle. Instead only his photo will be in my bouquet & my brother will be giving me away. And I don’t mean it to sound like I’m down playing such a beautiful way to honor him. I’m just explaining the reality of the situation that he won’t be physically present for such a milestone. And on my hardest days, that’s a tough pill to swallow.
It’s An Endless Cycle of Milestones
Yes, he witnessed me get my drivers license, embraced me during my first heartbreak, watched me walk across the stage at my high school & college graduations. He saw me win the championship games in softball and watched me dance in my company dance recitals. And I’m so grateful my fiance was able to ask his permission to marry me. But the grief will hit me on my wedding day as well as becoming a mother & knowing my future kids won’t get to know their grandfather. Of course, we will tell stories & show photos, but it’s not quite the same. And although we do learn to accept these things, it will always be on my mind.
People Expect You To Get Over It
It’s hard when other people start talking about holiday plans or even work endeavours when you are still healing from loss. People ask questions like, “why are you sad?” or say things like, “it’s been long enough.” I’m someone who advocates talking through your grief, but I’ve also learned only a few deserve your time. Grief is a lonely journey for the most part. You put on that smile before you walk out the door to prove to others you are strong. The thing is strength is there whether you smile or you are fetal position crying on the floor. Always remember that. Grief has no time limit. We merely learn to get use to their absence. We are never over it. And that is ok.
You Become A Better Person
A positive spin to it all, is I personally became a better person. It’s almost like my dad left parts of him with me to endure the rest of life. We’ve always been quite similar but I feel as though I can channel his calmness or the way he articulates situations. Or maybe it’s my way of making him proud. I hope to live life to the fullest, even more so than I already do. I want to see the world, experience all I can & love the people in my life with all I’ve got. And I know he, along with other passed loved ones, will have front row view from the clouds.
It’s A Year Of Firsts
His absence is deafening with every holiday passed, his birthday & even football Sundays. And people say the first year is always the hardest & that it’s the year of firsts. First times without them present. But the way I look at it, yes the first year is tough; but honestly the yearning for his presence will always be there even years from now. Like I mentioned before, you don’t necessarily get over it but simply understand it is what it is.
It Will Hit You At The Most Random Times
You’d think the sadness will only hit during the obvious times, like his birthday, holidays or Father’s Day. But I discovered I can cry during the most random of moments – like during an episode of Ted Lasso [ the episode did revolve around a father’s funeral ] where a line in the dialogue will resonate with you too damn hard. I’ve learned to just let it take its course & know this is a part of healing. In a lot of ways I appreciate these moments because it shows how much I care & cared about this person.
Their Memory Helps Keep You Going
I always like to say, although they are not physically present, they are with us through the breeze of the wind, through nostalgic smells that brings you back to a memory or the color of my eyes when I look into the mirror. I’m grateful for the time I did have with my dad. And I know in my heart, he’s watching over me with every passing day & guiding me. Of course, I’ll always miss him.
You’ll Still Have Happy Moments
I think one of the most important reminders is it’s ok to have happy moments & to have fun. I know there are days where you may feel guilty for not outwardly being sad all the time. But I’m here to tell you it’s healthier to embrace those fun moments & to encourage yourself to do things that will make you happy once in a while. Go on a weekend getaway, treat yourself to some new clothing or experience something new with friends. Have moments of laughter, good conversation & carefreeness. There’s nothing wrong with feeling happy & your parent will actually love to see you enjoying life despite such a loss.
As I share this, it has only been a month & some change.Time is a weird thing because a month without him here feels both long & short at the same time. Fall was always his favorite time of year so in his honor, I’ve been embracing this season. What helps me move forward is knowing how proud he was & still is of me. And I was able to get the nerve up to finally tell him I started a blog & read a few of my posts to him before he left. To those who unfortunately have gone through a similar situation like this, I write these words for you. I hope you find peace, acceptance of such a change & embrace all the ups and downs as they come. You’ve got this.
I post this on what would have been his birthday. So, happy birthday, dad.