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Missing my Dad


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On the 26th December 2008 my dad passed away of cancer (ear, nose and throat).

When it gets to this time every year things start to get difficult for me again but I don't feel like I can talk to anbody about it as either: 

a - They don't understand

b -  I don't want to look like I'm looking for sympathy

I find it so hard to cope with sometimes and 6 years on I find that things haven't got better and the pain hasn't gone. I was 10 when he passed away and I feel like there should have been so much more time for me to spend with him throughout my life. :( :(

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I'm so, so sorry to hear that you lost your dad... especially at such a young age. It is such an important time of your life, and to know that you are dealing with the loss of one of the most important people in your life... I wish there was more I could say besides I'm so sorry for your loss. Hugs to you.

I lost my mom just before Christmas three years ago. I find this time of year is very difficult too. And, three years later I find that people move on with their lives... But she is always in my thoughts and sometimes I feel sad and angry that others don't talk of her or seem to remember her. Because, I miss her very much.

What I've learned is that grief is a very personal experience. It's hard not to feel alone when you are grieving. Others really don't understand your loss, because the relationship you shared with your dad was very special and very personal. But, others have experienced grief and can appreciate how you are feeling. It helps to talk about how you are feeling. Please don't feel like you are not able to talk because you worry others will think you are looking for sympathy. The right person will understand and be so honoured that you chose to trust and confide in them. I hope that you have someone with whom you feel comfortable to talk so they can help you to understand your feelings. It's a journey... There is no time limit on grief. Your feelings and your loss will come back to you in different ways as you get older and move through different times in your life. You will always miss you dad. But, it will get better with time.

Sometimes life takes us in directions that we don't want, but it doesn't mean that there can't be good still. For me, I get through the holidays by focusing on good things... I spend time with family and friends, try to do good deeds for others, and spend time doing things that I enjoy. It's not the way that I want it to be, and sometimes I have to just sit and cry for a few minutes, but it's all we can do... I know without a doubt that our parents would want us to try to enjoy the holidays, they would want us to find whatever joy we can.

Take care this holiday season...

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tremendously sorry for your loss, though i might sound like a broken record. My father also passed away from cancer (gastric, late-stage), about a year before yours, though i was a bit older than you were at the time. "sorry for your loss" is something that most everybody said around me then, including friends from high school. Though it often leaves something to be desired, Ive come to see it as the best many can do (i am not trying to be condescending here). Also, it is better than nothing being said, and certainly kinder than some vicious and genuinely cold-hearted things I've heard being directed to my mother at the time. 


in a lot of ways, you remind me of myself in college and my sister now in the aftermath of my father's passing. 7 years on, my mother, my sister, and myself all struggle in our own ways with his death, and as i see it now, we always will. but I feel my sister noticeably suffers from not having those close relationships outside of family in which she could talk about our father and her pain. it is leading to dishearteningly frequent feelings of anxiety and loneliness for her. As I'm sure you are, my sister is leading a perfectly capable life outside of her personal turmoil; she recently graduated from one of the best law schools in the country, and is working a fine job in corporate. But throughout her time as a student and into her career, she has not had someone aside from myself with whom she could talk about what she was struggling with deeply, which is mostly centered on our father dying. 


In my experience, finding people who truly listen to your story, who seek to empathize even though your misfortunes are completely foreign to their consciousness, is rare as hell. In college, which is when I started struggling the most with my father's passing (moving away from mom, living independently, demanding coursework, untenable sense of self-purpose/calling, etc), I needed someone like that tremendously, but most of my friends weren't of that breed, or so I thought. Most friends I drank with, studied with, and sat next to class in, but they didn't want to start profound conversations about deeply personal struggles, aside from study and college pains. 


I think the issue was three-fold. 1) I went to a pretty high-powered undergrad institution; we all got into the school as high achievers, and revealing or discussing any sort of glaring weakness and deeply personal issue runs contrary to the air of effortless perfection we want to let on. 2) Just simply, not many of our peers have been through what you and I have at a young age. I remember when I first tried to talk openly about my family to my roommate of three years, one of my closest buddies in college, but of course the conversation became generally unpleasant and uncomfortable when I brought it up, and it never came up again and I wasn't able to confide in him those struggles.


Unfortunately, I think I resented him a bit for that, for not being as understanding as I expected him. But in retrospect, I wasn't right to feel that way. I can't blame someone for not fitting to my expectations. For reasons related to his immigrant story, this guy was very focused and driven to get a job in finance; he didn't have room to process and talk sympathetically about dead parents and my sense of wandering.


And, lastly, 3) I let myself buy completely into 1) and 2), succumb to discouragement from previous failures to confide in friends, and, as a result, stopped trying to talk to others about my father and my family altogether. It was especially hard for me at that time in college, when I was struggling deeply with what I wanted to do come graduation. Though petty in comparison, that angst was compounded and informed by my father's passing, and my bottling up all of those emotions. As you've echoed in your post, those hidden demons come out sooner or later as renewed difficulties. 


I would be more than happy to share more details about this later, but I eventually did find someone late in college with whom I talked candidly about my father and family (and surprisingly it wasn't a girlfriend). It was a buddy of mine, a year ahead of me in college, whom I had known since i was a freshman. The circumstances of that conversation were almost serendipitous, but I will spare you the details outside of those I think are most important. 


This guy I had met right before I entered college; he had lived in my aunt's neighborhood back home. He apparently became very involved into church when he started college, and we talked halfheartedly about him taking me along when I got to school. I was not a religious person then (and to be honest, I am not a religious person now) so I didn't spend all that much time with him before we had a conversation about my father. When we did, it was simply over lunch at the dining hall to catch up, and I was actually more or less backed into a corner when we started talking about it. A kid at school (who we both knew) had died under tragic circumstances recently, and I think the conversation was colored by that fact, but he himself first brought up my family situation and my father dying while we were talking. I had no idea he knew about it! Apparently it was something my aunt had told his mother about, who must have told him. 


I was taken aback when he did. I actually had to gather myself and pace around the cafeteria a couple times before sitting down again. As I spoke to before, I had wanted someone to share all this meaty stuff with not so long ago, so I must have subconsciously jumped at the opportunity because whether he expected it or not what followed was me vomiting the entirety of how my father passed, how it was making me miserable in college, and all the angst and uncertainty I was feeling at the time. He was generously open to listening to my story, giving me his thoughts regarding my troubles, and sharing his own troubles. Without treading anywhere near proselytizing, he told me about what Church had taught him in his own personal struggles, how they related to mine. He openly admitted the death of a loved one was an event he had never suffered through, and that neither he nor anyone in his religion had all the answers to the problems my tragedy posed, but he did share how church gave him much needed perspective and encouragement in dealing with his own personal struggles, and he felt compelled to share that encouragement with others struggling including myself.


Emotions were high, I teared up quite a bit. But most importantly, it was cathartic. It is incredibly unburdening to be able to confide in someone openly about all the things plaguing you. We are social beings by nature; whether we realize it or not, we as humans are dependent on others our whole lives. This dependence is obvious when we are born, and we die. All the time in between is no different; relationships are integral to healthy living. “healthy”


Afterwards, I eventually did go out to church with him a lot more. To be very clear, and I cannot stress this enough, I don't want you to think I am trying to evangelize here. Church and religion cannot give an answer to all of our struggles. Also, the simple “it was in God’s plan for your father to pass away” could not be more infuriating and alienating to me, but that is not what churchgave me.


It is true, as I’ve found, that church has community groups where people are more open to discussing their personal issues, where they try to establish a culture of openness and empathy where deep relationships and friendships can grow. Of course, church is just like any other social construct in our society, and there are jackasses and people you might not be fond of. But I strongly believe you could find people who you could share your struggle with, as I had, if and only if you are open to the idea.


I sincerely hope what I wrote helps in any way. I wish you and your family happy holidays.




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Hugs Faye, I am so sorry for the loss of your dad.  It is always too soon when we lose a  parent but my heart sure goes out to you in losing your dad at such a young age.  You made such a good point that people don't understand.  That is, unless they've lost a parent themselves.  I know that when some of my friends had lost a parent I would pass along my sincere condolences but I did not really truly understand what they were going through until I lost my own parents.  Now, when a friend loses a parent I really do know what they are going through and I really do understand how they are feeling.  I really get it now.


As far as not wanting to come across as looking for sympathy ... again anyone who has gone through this would know that is not the case.  As for others, if they know you, they will know that you are struggling with this.  We can never know what others are thinking so I don't try to figure it out anymore.  I just share my feelings when I need to because it brings me some relief.  Of course I share with people who I consider good friends.


I have a feeling that any of us who have lost a parent will never really get over it but I am hopeful (like others who've lost a parent tell me) that as time goes on, it does get better and the sadness lifts.  For me personally I find that in seeing the blessings in having them as parents lifts my spirits because I really have been blessed in having them as parents.  


I am not religious but I am spiritual.  I don't attend church but I do read the bible, especially since losing my parents.  My personal belief in reading it is that your dad, my parents, all of those good people who have left us are now in Heaven in perfect health.  I also believe that one day we will all be reunited again when it is our turn to go "home."  I've read it and I believe it!


Please take care and know that there are people out there who really do understand.

Cindy Jane



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