This one is a little harsh. But it needs to be said. When you lose someone, those comforting you feel the need to say :”It’ll get easier. Things will get back to normal.” And that’s a lie. Things will never go back to normal. How will things ever be ‘normal’ again? What’s normal about never being able to call your parent? What’s normal about rethinking your future without one of the most prominent members of your family. I think it's about time we stopped lying during grief. (Especially to children). I was eleven when I lost my dad. Adults attempted to sugarcoat what was happening...and I hated that. So let’s be honest. Losing a parent is awful. It’s hard. Things will never go back to what you once referred to as normal. You will find a new normal. You will find a routine that makes you feel whole again. The new normal will be beautiful. Life will move on, and you will be ok. But it takes time. Don’t let those that want to help- rush you through a process that takes time.
I’m getting old. And i’m no longer reminded of my dad’s energy everyday….and that’s a little sad. I lost my dad before social media, so our photos can’t really last forever. They wear and tear when I travel with them. My sisters and I have one photo that we tend to hold onto. When someone passes, everyone tells you to remember the best memories of that person. And I try to. But I can’t help but remember the last few months of his life, and that’s been hard lately. My older sister is a fighter. We’ve had complications with her health over the last few years. When we walk through those same hospital hallways-I can’t help but feel his energy forcing me to acknowledge him. Recently, I’ve chosen to travel with items of his-rather than photos. He had this 4 foot tall sculpture of Michael Jordan in Space Jam, and it is in my room. It doesn’t really fit in with the vibe in the room. But it belongs.
When you first lose a parent, there are dozens of people around. Friends. Extended Family. Neighbors. Everyone surrounds you so that you feel the love constantly. I always warn people that the first 6 weeks after losing a parent are fake. They set you up for a false new normal. Because all of those people will have to move on. And they don’t mean any harm by it. They just can’t live up to everything they’ve promised. (and to be honest...you don’t want them to) The flowers and casseroles will stop arriving. The phones will stop ringing. And your immediate family will finally have to face grief face to face. But it’s ok. You’ll be ok.
I’ve been in a relationship for the last few years. We’re good. But once you’re past the 2 years mark outsiders try to rush you to the altar. (especially if they’re southern) The other day, someone asked me if I thought about who was going to walk me down the aisle. That was the first time I broke down about my dad in years.It’s hard to explain….but you eventually forget about how a parent would usually play into certain milestones in your life. You just don’t think about it until you have to deal with it. Weddings. Graduations. Babies. It has been 14 years, and I still don’t have an answer to combat this feeling... But it fades. And you start to think about how proud they would be of you. How supportive and loving they would’ve been. And eventually...that’s enough. Knowing that they would have loved to be there is eventually enough.
I spend too much time making others feel comfortable about my loss. I say this often, but it doesn't make me uncomfortable to talk about my father. I LOVED my dad. I’m very comfortable sharing his life and our loss. But it makes others extremely uncomfortable. They get weird. And awkward. And then...they feel bad for you. I HATE that. I don’t need your pity. I am living my best life. Taking over the freaking world...i don't need your PITY! However, your understanding would be great. I’m at that age where my friends are losing parents and grandparents. For some of them, it’s the first loss of their lives. And my heartbreaks for them. My heart doesn’t break for those who have passed on. My heartbreaks for the journey to finding a new normal. But you’ll get there. And you’ll be happy. And feel whole. And that’s a beautiful thing.
It's ok to be angry for awhile. Don't let them tell you that you can't be. It's ok to cry. It's ok to break. You are allowed to feel that. There are going to be days that you should be ecstatic at how well you're doing in life----and you will feel like something is missing. But one day, you’ll wake up...and won’t feel the pain of grief. Grief transforms into appreciation. And it is soooo freakin' beautiful. Those memories that made you cry weeks ago, now bring you joy. Old memories that once haunted you, will bring you peace. You learn to appreciate the time you had with your parent. I feel so lucky to have had my dad. He loved my sisters and I soooo much. And made sure that we knew that the world could be ours, despite what others may try to say. Happy Father’s Day everyone. Love on those around you. And send love to those that have left us.