It was a Friday, a beautiful day I hoped, being a first-year student this was a great day because I get to go home for the weekend to see my dad the first time since starting college. I was very excited but nothing would have prepared me for the weekend that was ahead, the EXCRUCIATING pain that awaited my hopeful jovial heart. NOTHING could POSSIBLY have. I had spoken to my dad on a Tuesday we made plans to see each other that weekend, Well it actually happened if you think of it only, one of us could see the others though. My dad died that Friday. I was a few minutes late to see him. I wish he had waited or maybe I had been early so we share one last laugh. My father was a happy man, full of life, jokes, a very friendly man and the only parent I had. The past 2 months some of my close friends have lost parents, this has brought back so many memories, this is the kind of pain I never wish anyone go through. See, when you have your parents you are so focused on all the things they won’t let you do, like all the disciplines they are enforcing on you but when your parent dies all those things do not matter, you think of just how much you should have told them you loved them or appreciated them. You wish you had done whatever thing they had asked you to, you wish you never argued with them. You can’t believe how the same parent you thought was overbearing is the one you won’t see AGAIN it’s the worst feeling in the world.
When you lose a parent you cry, your world falls apart, you wish, really wish you could see them one more time, you hurt, a whole lot of hurting and you are scared of what’s coming next. There are some things that people say to you during this time that you wish they hadn’t. They are things that I have heard people say to my friends that are grieving a loss of a parent or even to myself that I go, uh maybe this is not the time to say that, I know that they mean well and are trying to help but honestly some things aren’t what a person grieving wants to hear in the early stages of grief. Here are some of those things:
- I know how you feel: No you don’t, this is commonly said by people who have gone through a similar loss. I mean as much as we can understand we do not know how the other person feels. We have no Idea what kind of relationship existed between the two and even if we did, we didn’t experience it so we can’t possibly know what kind of pain the other person is feeling. The big problem with this is it takes away the uniqueness of this loss. It makes this loss seem as a common loss but it isn’t, there is someone grieving the loss of their Father or Mother who are the only ones who knew how to relate to this parent in a unique way. Even siblings experience loss of a parent differently because they each had a unique way of relating to that parent. To one the dad might have been a friend, to the other the dad was an advisor they are grieving the loss of a dad but also one has lost a friend and another has lost an advisor, and how can we know how they feel when their own brother and sister can’t?
- All Things work together for the Good: Okay this one is my personal least favorite, I had a lot of people say this to me when my father died, See when one is dealing with loss in the moment NOTHING is GOOD, NO, It really doesn’t matter if all things work together for the good because there is nothing Good about losing a parent, there is nothing good about the pain one is feeling, there is absolutely nothing good about the change that is coming your way. As much as there are a lot of lessons coming ahead of you and there is a reason for this but this period the pain overshadows everything. I believe we will understand somethings in glory when we get to heaven. So can we not?
- With time you will forget: Can we be real now? okay Honestly no one wants to forget the parent that meant the world to them, No one looks forward to the day they can’t remember Dad anymore. Truth is you don’t forget, the pain goes but you don’t get over it, if at all you really just learn to live with it. You want to tell your kids about how amazing your parent was, You have reminders of them every so often, you can’t forget, you don’t even want to try, when you think you are forgetting your late parent it feels like a betrayal. At that time you are dealing with a lot of questions on what life will be like without them and yet someone wants you to look forward to forgetting it’s really not fair.
- You need to stop crying and BE STRONG: I don’t know why people think there is too much crying. I feel very sad when someone says this to a person grieving, the pain you feel is too much and the least you can do is cry and you need to cry, you need to let it out. How can we expect someone to be strong when their world has just been torn apart? I know they will need to stop crying at some point and deal with the pain but we need to stop forcing people to stop crying, we need to stop asking them to be strong when they don’t even understand what their world is becoming. God, we need to give them time to process, to understand and later to accept this tragedy and then we can ask them to be strong. We need to let people CRY for their parents/ loved ones we need to because it is the only time they will get to say GOODBYE to the person they thought would make it through whatever. It’s hard.
- Are you Alright? : If you have ever said this please know that I don’t like you! let me explain, It’s not bad to ask someone this but maybe ask this after a few days have passed,or maybe ask them way you can do to help instead of asking if they are alright. Of course they are not fine, HOW can one be fine when they have just lost a parent or a loved one? How can one be alright when they don’t understand why God has done something? You can never prepare for the pain you will feel when your parent dies it doesn’t matter how long or short your parent has been sick. You are angry, confused, scared, and most of all you are in so much pain and shock. You just want to wake up from this bad dream and the last thing you want is someone asking you if you are alright because you are really far from it.
It’s been 6 years since my Dad died, I always wonder what he would think if he saw me today, I mostly wonder if he would be proud, or if I am half the person he thought or hoped I would be. Days go by that I don’t think of him, It doesn’t hurt the same way that it did that hot October night he died, No it doesn’t, but I think a lot about him when I achieve something, when I go to weddings and see a Dad walking his daughter down the aisle I think of how I won’t get to experience that with him, wedding officiations almost always make me cry. When I am struggling to make a decision I think of what he would say. I see my father’s smile in the back of my mind some days.
I think of what he would say if he met my boyfriend, what kind of joke he would make, what questions would he ask him. I want to tell my kids about my dad, I want them to know him even if he won’t be part of their life. I think about the biggest hug I would give him if I saw him today. I miss my father and I really honestly don’t wish anyone the pain of losing a parent, it changes you. But if you do I hope you have an amazing support system around you, I hope you take one day at a time until you get to a place of celebrating your parent’s life and being grateful you were the lucky one to be their child. I hope you find healing and comfort that makes this whole experience bearable.I hope you lean on the Lord’s everlasting arms, and if you are angry with him I hope eventually find peace and know that he never makes mistakes, and one day you will understand why he did this. I hope He, The Lord gives you the strength to take each day and I hope you grieve your parent and then celebrate their life. I hope you understand how Sorry I am for your loss. It’s HARD.