The days and weeks and now months after losing my dad have been filled with pain and sadness. My head and heart physically ache. My emotions are inconsistent and unpredictable. Time keeps passing, but I don’t feel it. Is it 9am? 11pm? January? April? It all feels the same. It is difficult to describe: how I can see one of my dad’s belongings and fall into uncontrollable tears, how an unexpected phrase can cause a panic attack, or how I can forget, for a moment, and then feel intense heartache over the fact that my dad isn’t physically here. Nearly every morning, when I wake up, I feel a reset of tremendous pain as the reality sets in. It’s been unimaginably difficult.
My dad’s memorial service was a sharp contrast to all of that. It was incredibly comforting to be in the presence of so many people who love my dad. Through tear-filled eyes and sleepless nights, my sister and I had written a tribute to my dad to share with everyone. Before I spoke, I remember pausing and just gazing at the crowd. The balcony’s were full, and there were people standing in the aisles. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people paused their day to honor my dad, and that meant so much. You’d think it would have been difficult to stand up and talk through the grief, but I found strength and comfort in sharing these stories and I knew my dad was right there with us. I have been wanting to share an excerpt of what I read, and in time I probably will. Right now, all I want to share is one small thing I’ve learned in this horrible journey: grief is love.
As I’m re-evaluating everything in my life, I’m so grateful for my friends and family and my dad’s friends and colleagues who have reached out and who continue to reach out with cards full of happy memories of my dad and so much love and support. On my hardest days I re-read them. I love being reminded of the impact my dad had and continues to have on so many people. And I love knowing that I am not alone on this grief journey. It has made all the difference.