Dads share a special bond with their daughters.
To a girl, her Dad is the first man she will ever love. He is the first man who was there to catch her when she started to fall. The first man to wipe her tears away when she was afraid or hurt. The first man to tell her how beautiful and special she is. He sets the precedent for any man who walks into her life. To a girl, her Dad is invisible. One day though, you learn that your Dad isn’t invisible after all. So, you stand there and tell him you love him and that you will somehow be okay. You stand by his side while he takes his last breath, and then it hit’s you. You aren’t going to be okay.
In the days, weeks, and months that follow the death of your Dad, you will feel a heartbreak like you cannot even imagine. Think of your very worst break-up, multiply it by 100. That doesn’t even begin scratch the surface of what you will feel. You will be angry, so angry that you find yourself shaking. You’ll cry until your head is pounding, your eyes are swollen shut, and your nose is so stuffy you cant breath. Then you’ll cry some more. Food will lose it’s appeal and the weight will fall off faster than you can buy new clothes. You might pick up old bad habits, anything to help numb the pain enough so you can sleep through the night. Sleep won’t come though, you will toss and turn for hours looking at old videos and pictures just so you can hear his voice or see his smile. One day you will be walking through a store and see someone that resembles your Dad, your heart is going to sink to the floor. For just a second, you’ll forget that he is gone. It will hurt, bad.
There will be times you pick up your phone to call him but stop after the first ring because it sinks in. He’s not going to answer. In an effort to feel “normal” you will go to familiar places that he went to, you’ll drive his vehicle for hours, listen to his music, you’ll even spray his cologne on your pillow. It won’t help. You’ll find yourself screaming in anger, crying until you’re sick, and begging God to bring him back.
People will try to comfort you with the “right” words, but those words don’t exist. You will learn that some people you trusted and thought were “friends” will do things and say things that will make you lose trust. They think they are doing what is best, and they are. They do what is best for themselves and you get to pick up what pieces you have left. Be very careful who you let into your heart in the first few months, you are extremely vulnerable. Any sense of “love” or “comfort” sounds good, but it can be deceiving. Nobody will ever replace your Dad, it simply is not possible. Please, do not let anyone break your heart so soon after the death of a parent. It is better to be guarded than to be shattered again when you haven’t even begin to heal from your loss. There are “stages” to grief, or at least that’s what is rumored. Grief doesn’t know it is supposed to come in stages though. Instead it tears down your facade, wrecks your world, walks out casually, then returns hours later to do it all over again. I wish I could say one day it is easier, that you wake up and feel whole again, but I can’t. You will wish you were dead at times, not because you hate life but because you want so badly to be see your Dad again. You will push people away even though you love them deeply.
The thought of loving someone so much, of being so captivated by someone, only to have them ripped from you will take it’s toll on your heart and mind. Realizing you would rather be alone than to ever feel so much heartache again is normal. Take the time to be alone if needed, but don’t disappear. Somebody cares about you and is worried.
There will be days you can’t get out of bed. There will be days you don’t want to smile. All that is okay. Nobody can tell you what to feel, how you should feel, or how to handle your grief. If anyone does try to tell you how to grieve, punch them in the nose.
Having to experience holidays and birthdays without your Dad will be one of the toughest parts. You will experience “happy” occasions that are almost impossible to push through without crying because he should be there. If one day you chose to open up again and find a man your Dad would be proud of, you’ll have to walk down the isle without him by your side. He won’t be there to give you away, he won’t be there to hold his grand-babies, and he won’t be there to give you parenting advice when your teenagers and putting you through hell (he warned you, you reap what you sow). Missing your Dad is something you will feel every moment of every day, even when you’re happy. You will be having a good time and all of a sudden wish he was there. All the emotions will flood you with a vengeance. That’s okay too. If you’re Dad was anything like mine, he deserves to be missed. It’s hard to try and move forward with your life when your confidant, friend, biggest fan, and defender is gone. Remember, you are half his and his DNA is coursing through your veins. You will always miss him and wish he was here, he was your Dad. Take time to feel the emotions and take time to miss him. You aren’t alone. You aren’t the only one who feels lost.
You aren’t crazy for feeling incomplete. Let yourself find peace. Remember that he loved you with a pure, unwavering,and endless love. Take that love he showed you and share it with others. Make his love your legacy.