My daddy passed away when I was 15 years old. Literally, one minute he was kissing me goodbye and saying have a good day at school, and the next, I hear that he had a heart attack at work and died on the spot. I can't believe that man left in this world. I can't believe I only had him for 15 years. I often wonder what my life would like with my father? Would my love life look different? That's a real question that I ask all the time! Would my work-life look different? Where would I be? And the answer is this: I honestly have no idea because he did not make it that far.
Losing my dad at a young age; put me in a place of searching for myself for a long time. I wonder what life would have been like growing up with my dad. Today as we celebrate Father's Day, I want to put some positivity out in the world for you and me. We are not alone. Grief has its way of making us feel lonely, isolated, irritable, and like we do not have anyone with us. I am 28, and I lost my dad at the age of 15, and there are days that I sit up and look at a picture of him and just burst out crying. It hurts to have lost that man at such a young age.
But I will say this, grief is a process that we must understand for ourselves. There are steps to grief, but those steps do not go into chronological order. We can be excellent for 1 or 2 years and boom it hits us. I often become emotional during graduations. Graduations are a huge trigger for me. Perhaps I do not want a wedding because neither of my parents will be there. There is a lot of self-reflection that happens when we are grieving. I have had to sit down and really evaluate what is inside my heart. My soul has been broken for a long time. I once read in a book somewhere that when people pass away, we learn how to be with them in a different relationship. They have transitioned, and it is ultimately a new relationship that we create with our loved ones. I never thought of it like that until I read that in a book.
"More recent thinking recognizes that the relationship with a loved one doesn't really end---it changes. Part of what we do during grief is to develope a new relationship---a continuing bond---in which we don't disconnect from our loved one, but instead reconnect with him or her in a new and different way." (Haugk, 19.)
With the memories, lessons, stories, and pictures, we can live a life and keep their legacy alive. That can look different for each and every person. Maybe it's a balloon release, perhaps it's buying them a birthday cake on their birthday, maybe on their deathversary you travel, or maybe on days like Mother's Day and Father's Day you get a friend to go to their grave or go out to eat to celebrate the life of your loved one.
On Mother's Day last year, I went with my good friend to her mother's grave and put up balloons, and we talked, and I remember she said to her mom, "You left me, girl." That was a release for her. We sat there and talked for a long time and allowed her the space to release those feelings. Afterwards, we went out to eat and just cried. Two friends, we both lost our mom, and we gave ourselves permission to be in that space of vulnerability.
I wish I would have had that when my daddy passed. I never had the opportunity or space to truly grieve when my daddy passed. Now that I am older, more people are open to allowing me that space to feel the loss of him.
A couple things that I do on days like this are:
I wear my daddy’s favorite color.
I have a shirt with his face on it.
I drink coffee. My daddy loved coffee and I picked that up from him.
I write in my journal.
I talk to my friends when they call to check on me.
I look at pictures and I talk to the pictures as if they are him.
I show gratitude to what I do have.
I have been blessed that my friends' fathers have taken me in as their daughter, and my stepdad, who I call Poppa, has taken me in as if I'm his. I honestly, can show gratitude to these men who have opened their lives to me. Not just the older men, but the men in my life in general, such as friends' husbands, men I went to school with, and coworkers, have taken me in and showed me so much love and respect. For that, I appreciate them!
My Poppa has come in and has taken on a father figure that I never asked for, but he loved my mom that much that he knew being with her meant being with her kids. He is legit one of my biggest fans! For that, I appreciate him!
On behalf of HealingSheGotFaith we want to wish a huge Happy Father's Day to every father and man out there on this day!
Journeying through Grief Book Four, Rebuilding and Remembering By Kenneth C. Haugk
Copyright © 2020 HealingSheGotFaith. All Rights Reserved