7 In Family/ LIFE/ Vent Sesh

Vent Sesh: A Year Gone

grieving my dad

When someone’s with you, it’s hard to believe there’s a day when you’ll never see them again.

That pictures and saved voicemails will be the only tangible connection.

A year ago today my dad died. He was only 62 years ago; his mom outlived him. The pain of that reality is palpable to all of us.

Many days I can go on with life. But others, it’s a struggle.

I’ve talked to so many who have lost a parent earlier than anticipated. Not that it’s easy at any age, but there is comfort when someone lives to 80 or 90 years old; that they’ve lived a complete life, saw their family grow and now they are ready.

There seems to be a different heartache for those who lose parents earlier, whether they’re just children or like me, into my 30s.

There’s personal devastation, knowing that you’ll never talk to your parent again. That you’ll never get advice (whether you ask for it or not!), that they’ll be there for family dinners and holidays, to babysit, or to meet up for lunch.

And, there’s the reality that your kids won’t know their grandfather or grandmother. In my case, that our now three-year old will never know his grandpa, and our seven-year old will only have a handful of memories as she grows up.

As much as we’ll work to keep his memory alive, that part really stings.

Being part of this “club” is certainly one I never anticipated. While I always told my dad that he better take care of himself because I wanted him to see his grandkids grow up, I never thought he’d leave us this soon.

Our dad died about two weeks after going to the hospital for gall bladder surgery.

We went to his house after he died and there was a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee half-full right next to his recliner. He was having intense pains, drove himself to the hospital, learned about the gall bladder. In his immaculate home, he obviously never thought he wouldn’t be the one to clean up that coffee.

I still see that cup, a reminder about how quickly life can change, and how you can never anticipate what will come next.

In our dad’s case, the gall bladder surgery revealed other issues (he already had diabetes and had previously had a major heart surgery).

Life is fleeting. We can get so caught up in our daily lives, in trivial happenings, in gossip or things that ultimately don’t matter.

Let that crap go. It’s not worth holding onto things that hurt your heart or don’t nourish your soul.

We never know how long we — or the ones we love — have on this earth.

In two weeks we’ll celebrate my dad’s birthday. This month is not going to be easy but we’re choosing each year on Dec. 21 to celebrate my dad as a family (plus, what kid would refuse an opportunity for cake?!) and my bro and I, each in different cities, will go see an action-packed movie in my dad’s honor. He surely would be doing that.

I give myself permission today, and any day, to cry and let out the pain and remember the good. I take time to grieve, to talk to my counselor about my anger and sadness, and also reflect on the fun times and great advice he shared. I take time to be honest about my pain and why even though I truly believe things happen for a reason, there could never be a justifiable reason to lose my dad. For anyone to lose anyone before they’ve lived a full life. Before we get to life a full life with them.

I know it will be OK. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck like hell.


(image taken seven years ago when I was pregnant with sarah) 🙂 

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  • Reply
    December 13, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I am sure your pain is immeasurable and inconsolable at times. Sending light and love and cheers to lots of happy memories of your dad.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2016 at 7:40 PM

    Sending love and prayers from snowy Wisconsin. I hope you continue to seek out comfort & joy – both now and throughout the year, all in your sweet dad’s name.

    • Reply
      December 12, 2016 at 7:48 PM

      THank you so, so much, Laura… really appreciate you taking the time to reach out. <3

  • Reply
    December 11, 2016 at 7:55 AM

    Hi Alyson,

    I came across your post today and it broke my heart. I lost my own father 6 1/2 years ago when I was 22. Though I still have my mother, my parents were estranged for well over a decade before my father got sick.

    My sister and I were the only ones who could care for him during his illness over 16 months. We were young and anxious about making mistakes. It was the worse period of my life. And still, 6 years later I miss him like it all happened yesterday.

    It’s exactly as you said — it’s a different type of pain when they leave us young. My father was just 58. I’m constantly haunted by all his unfinished business, all the things he never got to experience like walking me down the aisle or even meeting my husband at all.

    I promise you it will get easier. Cry as much and as often as you need too. It helps. It’s a situation you can’t change and the loss of someone as important as your dad is so significant, its hard to ever sum it up in words.

    And if you ever need to talk to someone who understands exactly what you’re going through, please email me at ashley@sedbona.com. I never reached out for help until years later and then felt like such a fool once I did — finding friends who understand helps so much. It helps to know you aren’t the only one going through the pain. It helped me so much to meet a few friends who lost a parent early.

    Sending you love and support,

    Ashley || Sed Bona

    • Reply
      December 12, 2016 at 7:50 PM

      Wow, Ashley, your story and sentiments really resonated with me on so many levels, and I’m so glad you finally connected with others who can understand your journey. I’ve seen a counselor for years (started after a health diagnosis) and continuing even during the best moments, has been a huge help to me when things get bad like this as well. Sending you hugs and support as well, and please, email anytime. Really appreciate you offering the same.

  • Reply
    December 9, 2016 at 11:30 AM

    Oh how I feel each word here. I am praying for you– especially today.

  • Reply
    December 9, 2016 at 10:38 AM

    That’s so special that you’re celebrating your dad’s birthday Alyson- what a wonderful way to continue to honor his memory. I’m thinking of you! <3

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