Daddy's little girl Jen's wedding day

Death-Losing your Dad

Love is felt in so many ways. From the butterflies of a new beau, to your wedding day or even the birth of your first child, life is filled with so much joy. In all that joy however, we must prepare ourselves. Life is a full circle and in birth and joy there is death and sadness. Are we ever really ready for either of them? Whether an illness hits and you watch your loved one suffer or the unexpected fate of a sudden death strikes, I don’t know what one is easier to behold. I can say I have experienced both. My answer is neither is easy. If we are being honest, they both suck! I am as real as it gets.

November 8th,  2010 is forever burned into my soul. I received the call at work. “Jennifer, there’s been an accident.” I knew! I knew in my heart as soon as I saw her calling something was wrong. My mom never called me during the day while I was at work. As I drove to the hospital, I tried to prepare myself mentally for what I was about to hear and see. As I stood and witnessed his still body, waves of memories and emotion flooded my brain. I dry heaved and felt dizzy. He was gone. My dad was dead. Death is permanent. To say those words today still rocks my core. In the days that followed, the calling hours, the funeral, the people in and out of our house it all still feels surreal. I remember giving his eulogy. The irony of us walking him down the aisle just as he walked each of us down the aisle on our wedding days. Nothing anyone said would fill the void. I remember one statement specifically, “Be happy in your heart. Your sadness means there was much love in your life.” At first, I was taken aback. Then I let it sink in. YES! There was powerful emotion in those words. A perception I would have never thought about. We grew up surrounded by so much love and support. While it hurt to know I wouldn’t have him physically here with me, the memories and love provided so much comfort and joy! We were truly blessed. Each time we are together as siblings we laugh about our childhood too. So yes, I am grateful for that perspective.

Fast forward 10 years later. Some days I am ok. Some days I hear a song and break into a weeping mess. I tell myself, “it’s ok.” Grief is never easy. There is no right or wrong way to go through it. We all experience death differently. The holidays, the birthdays, father’s day, they will never be the same. It isn’t fair. Our loved ones sometimes are taken from us too soon. What I have learnt over the years, the gaping hole is filled with fun loving memories which make me smile on difficult days. My hope for you is if you can relate to this post, you find comfort in knowing you are not alone. In times of death, we need to draw strength from friends and family. It’s ok to grieve. It’s acceptable to not be “ok.” Lean on people that are in your life. Accept help when they offer. Dad, I think it is safe to say we all miss you! You impacted many lives. Until we meet again! Xo

If you have lost a parent, I hope this helps you!