My father passed away on the morning of July 14, 2016 at the age of 86. It’s only been a year but I still find myself silently grieving. Losing a loved one is always hard, especially when it’s a parent. The past year brought about so many changes but it also brought out so many lessons. Here are some that I’d love to share with you.
1. Grief is different for everyone.
As a Christian, I believe that as long as you have a relationship with Jesus Christ then you will go to heaven. Death only means that we would be reunited with our heavenly Father. I kept reminding myself of this fact during my dad’s final weeks. It brought me comfort at first but it was different when he finally passed away.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
I don’t think I cried as much as I should have. I just ended up feeling numb. It was only during the start of this year when I really gave myself time to grieve. And I realized that it wasn’t really for my dad’s sake; I grieved for my own sake, because I was going to be living a life without him in it.
2. You are not alone.
Sometimes I felt like I was alone in my grief but I was reminded that God knows my hurt. He placed people in my life to get me through the tough times. From my family, friends, to my support groups God reminded me every day that I wasn’t alone. I had friends who came to see me as soon as they heard and friends who visited more than once. Even my office was very supportive, they had set up a van to bring people to and from the wake after office hours. I also received messages of comfort from those who have gone through what I was going through, and a lot of them were always around to help.
3. The first year of losing a loved one is the hardest
It’s like joining a club you never wished to be a part of. It’s my first birthday, first family reunion, first Christmas, and first New Year all over again. Let’s not forget those little milestones of life in between. Each event was like a jarring reminder of what I’ve lost in the year. I’d like to believe that I came out stronger from it though. Just knowing I got through the first year gives me comfort. It was definitely easier knowing that I still had a heavenly father watching over me, and what a loving father He is!
4. Forgive yourself
There are times when I catch myself recalling past disagreements and arguments. Sometimes, I even feel like I didn’t do enough show my dad I loved him.
I’m reminded that as humans we’re not perfect and our relationships may reflect this. Shortcomings and mistakes happen on both sides and we have to remember that this is all in the past. Whatever happened has happened and we cannot change this. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we let go of the guilt and remember the happier times instead. And these are the memories we want to remember.
5. Losing a loved one doesn’t define you, but it does change you
Even if we don’t want change, we will have to accept it. And we’ll be ready when we feel it. Happiness will come and we will learn to live again. I’m currently proof of this. Broken crayons still color so let God use our brokenness to create something beautiful.
If you’re still reeling from a loss and need someone to talk to, send me a message and I’ll be available to chat. My prayers are with you and your family. We’ll get through this. I promise.