Updated: Jan 4, 2021
2010 had to be one of the most difficult years of my life. On March 20th, 2010, my grandfather passed away. Two days later, his wife, my grandmother, passed away. Four months later, their son, my father, had also passed away. If I remember that year clearly, it was a year of tragedy, loss, and pure sadness.
Losing my grandfather was a tragic loss for me because in my eyes, I had just lost the best grandfather a girl could ever ask for. He loved his grandchildren and every time I was in his presence, I truly felt that unconditional love. Although my grandfather had pre-existing health issues and was in and out of the hospital, his death still shook me to my core. His passing was the first death that I truly understood and felt. He was my first loss, and I couldn’t do anything but dwell in sadness.
When I thought I couldn’t take any more pain from his death, my grandmother passed away just two days afterwards from a blood clot in her brain. I was speechless; my whole family was. Her death was something we did not see coming, and it took a significant toll on my family, especially my father. My grandmother, like my grandfather, would do anything for her children and grandbabies. She did everything in her power to make sure we were all taken care of. Within two days of each other, my poor father had lost both his parents. When I remember the hurt in his eyes and how he acted at their funeral, it brings tears to my eyes every time. How could someone experience or handle so much loss in just two short days? That kind of pain is unbearable. I will never forget the beautiful memories of my grandparents and the times we shared. The love I received from them is a love I promise to share with my children and grandchildren someday.
On July 16th, 2010, I lost the first man I ever laid eyes on, my father. At this point in my life, I was still grieving the death of my grandparents. Their deaths were still relatively fresh so when my father passed away, I hit rock bottom. My father’s passing was a painful loss. My grandparents’ loss was tragic and sad, but my father’s death hit me differently. Never in a million years did I think I would or could lose a parent at the age of twelve. There isn’t a child out there expecting their parent(s) to die anytime soon but there I was, crying out to my father to take a breath but he didn’t. Right in front of my eyes, my father was gone. I lost the first man I ever fell in love with at the age of twelve.
Today, I am twenty-three years old and still mourning the death of my father. As I am writing this entry, I am holding back ten years of pain; ten years of tears. I don’t think this pain will ever go away. As I think of walking down the aisle without my father, him not seeing his first grandchild, or not celebrating any more birthdays, how could I not cry? How could I ignore that kind of pain? Those thoughts hurt and I think it will always hurt. Which is why I don’t believe in the saying “time heals all wounds.”
So how do I deal with it? I deal with it one day at a time. If I want to cry on father’s day, I do that and I let it all out. If I want to talk about a beautiful memory that I had with him, I do that too and I do it with joy. I deal with it by living with the emotions because they're real and raw. I don’t suppress how I feel when I talk about the loss that I’ve experienced in my life because what good would that do? There are five stages of grief: denial/isolation, anger, Bargaining (i.e., “If I had only known how to perform CPR at the time I could’ve saved his life”), depression, and acceptance.
I believe that I am at the acceptance part because I have accepted that he isn’t here and that he isn’t coming back. Although I am at that stage, I still allow myself to feel the emotions that arise when I think of him or look at a picture of him for a long time because that’s all I have. Just because I have accepted his death doesn’t mean I have to forget what he meant and still means to me today. Alive or not, he is still my father.
Lastly, I lean on the people who experienced the loss with me: my mom, sister, cousins, best friend, and more. I am genuinely grateful that I have people around me to go through life with. After God, they are my rock. They’re the shoulders that I lean on when I can't stand on my own two feet. My friends and family have never rushed my grieving process. They have never asked, “Are you still not over this yet?” This is why it is so important to surround yourself with honest, loyal, and pure-hearted individuals. They respect your life as if it was their own.
If you are experiencing some form of loss, the best advice that I can give you is to let yourself feel all of the emotions when they arise. There are going to be days that are harder than others and that’s okay. Don’t rush your feelings. It’s part of the process. Finally, lean on the people that are there for you; the people who support you like no other. If they love you, they won’t mind being your rock until you’re ready to get back up again. Let yourself feel the loss. It’s okay; you’re not alone. May God bless you and comfort you. May His peace and love walk with you all the days of your life. May His joy fill your heart both now and forever.
"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."
(Unknown Author )