When Your Father Dies


When your father dies there are so many thoughts and emotions that your body can’t process everything that’s happening. You can’t cry, at least not at first. All you do is sit staring into space, wondering why this happened to you. Why did he leave you? Why would God take away one of the most important people in your life before you were ready? You’re so mad. You want to punch God in the face, or whoever is responsible for those sorts of decisions. And you’re absolutely miserable. There is so much pain and misery, so much sadness. It’s like your world is caving in on itself. You flash back to the last time you talked to him. What did you say? What did he say? When was the last time you saw him? Did he know you loved him? And that’s when the tears come. You realize that you forgot to say “I love you” when you hung up the phone, or before you closed the door and then all of a sudden you realize you’ll never be able to say those words to him again, at least not in person. You will never see him, hear him, touch him, or talk to him again in this life time and the realization of this comes crashing over you like somebody just dumped a bucket of ice on top of your head. This is where the real sadness begins. When you think about all the things you forgot to tell him, all the times you fought with him, the stupid things you said, the inconsiderate actions you did. Everything. You can’t take it back, all you can do is hope that the good times outweighed the bad. That you did everything you ever could to show how much you loved him.

The worst is still to come though. You haven’t thought about the future yet, but now you are. You begin to think of all the big events in your life he’ll never get to see. He won’t see you graduate college. He won’t be there when you get your first job, first house, first real-person anything. You can’t bring your boyfriend/girlfriend home to meet him and gain his approval, and your fiancé can never ask for his permission to marry you. And the worst of it all, he’ll never walk you down the aisle into the arms of the next man/woman who is supposed to love you as much as he did. He won’t give you away, and he won’t dance with you on your big day, and he’ll never meet any of his grandchildren. This is the most crushing of them all – the fact that he will never be present at any of your biggest life events, no matter what they may be. The future without him looks so dark, so hopeless.

I know it all looks horrible. Your world is falling apart, and nothing seems to make sense anymore. Your father is gone. He was just there and all of a sudden he’s not. It knocks you down and it tries to keep you there but then you remember that’s not what he would have wanted. He didn’t raise you to fall apart when life got rough, and he definitely wouldn’t want to see you unhappy. So you conjure up all the memories, all the feelings, and every last bit of him you can and you remember. Because remembering the time you had with him, no matter how short or how little, will help you through it all. And whether you want to believe in a heaven or an afterlife or whatever, he’s watching over you from somewhere. He’ll always be there with you, as long as you remember. His memory will keep you going. And yes its scary and unknown and so incredibly depressing to the point where you don’t even think you can carry on, but you must. Because that’s what he wanted. All he ever wanted was for you, his amazing, beautiful, perfect child, to be happy and to be the absolute best version of yourself.

Time will never heal the wound his absence leaves in your life, but it will give you perspective and strength to keep living. You will never forget the sound of his voice. You will never forget the warmth or feelings of his hugs. And you will never, ever, ever forget the love he made you feel every day. Don’t take any moment for granted because often times it’s the things we thought so little of at the time that make the most vivid and precious memories later.