A major piece of my heart is missing and will forever be missing. My dad was the light of my life, and I was (and am) the definition of a daddy’s girl. I have learned how to keep moving forward throughout the years, getting better year by year. I try to focus on the now, who and what I have in my life presently and continue to try to live my life in a manner that I know would make my dad proud. I still feel the major aching pain of that piece of my heart missing every single day, but have learned how to focus the pain into happiness. I’ll never forget the words of my best friend when my dad first passed — “It honestly will never get easier; you just learn how to deal with it and manage it.”
I lost my dad unexpectedly in May 2015. My dad had been sick for years (he spent most of my life on oxygen 24/7 due to having only having one lung, congestive heart failure, major back issues, on dialysis for the last few years of his life), but he never let this bring his spirit down or let it stop him from doing the things he loved. He had faced death several times throughout my life and fought harder than anyone I knew, not letting his sickness win. He had been on the upswing and doing better than he had in years when he lost his life, making this even more of a shock to us.
Tips for the early days:
- Surround yourself with your family and friends. Your friends may not understand what you are going through, but they will understand that it hurts and will be there for you for anything.
- It’s okay to not be okay. If you feel like you need to break down, just do it. It’s better to let it out than it is to keep it bottled up.
- It’s okay to ask for help. I honestly wish I had asked earlier than I did — it helped tremendously.
- Talk to the people around you — friends, family, coworkers, etc. about the fun/funny/amazing/good memories you have of your loved one. It may hurt, but thinking and talking about those memories will bring laughter and joy to you.
- Do things that your loved one loved to do. Every year, on the day of my dad’s passing as well as his birthday, my family and I go places and do all the things that brought joy to my dad.