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Losing A Parent Hurts Like Hell, So Don’t Tell Me To ‘Get Over It’


As I watched my father lying in the hospital bed, slowly dying, I thought that was the hardest thing that I will have to go through. It was something that I was preparing for since my father was diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago.

I knew that that day had to come. Every chemotherapy, every hospital admission, every social gathering imagining what would be like when he will not be there – was breaking my heart.

I knew that cancer was going to rob me of my father and my future children of their grandfather.

My father was dying. A part of me was telling me that he would get rid of that monster and he would finally be at rest.

When the nurse came to tell us that my father is gone, I stood there numbly and breathed a deep sigh of relief. My dad was at peace now. He was relieved from the pain.

But, the grieving process was just beginning. And it has been one painful, excruciating, devastating, horrible, and for some reasons wonderful.

Even though 10 years have passed since I last saw my father, I still grieve the loss of him every single day. And not a day passes by that I don’t feel the pang of sorrow when I think about him, especially when I want to share something with him and see his smiling face which now I see it on my son.

I will never get over my grief, and I don’t want to. For me, grief is something for which I am grateful.

It is not a fleeting emotion like sadness or anger. No. It’s more than that. It is not a process either. There are people who call grief “a process” but by saying that they are implying that there is an end to it. That there will come a time when I will say, “I am done. I don’t miss my dad anymore.”

It isn’t like that.

Grief is something that will stay with me forever. So, stop telling me to get over it.

Honestly, I’ve become a better person because of it. Grief has made me a more understanding and emphatic person. I am now a better friend because I know what matters really in life. I experienced a tremendous loss and I know what it feels like to be hurting and try to help anyone who goes through a hard time in life.

Grief has also made me more compassionate to strangers. I no longer get angry for no reason or snap at someone who cuts me off in traffic. I feel calmer, more forgiving, and more loving to others because I’ve been through hell and back. I’ve learned to practice kindness every day because I understand that other people can’t know what I am going through and they can be mean to me without wanting to.

Now I know to stay silent instead of asking a person who is going through a loss how they are doing. Of course, they are doing bad. They are falling apart. There’s no need to ask them anything. Just be with them. If you want to say something, say “Death sucks.” Because it really sucks, and I needed someone to tell me that as well.

The day my father died was the day that I got bolder and braver. I carried the pain inside me while I was going about doing my business, raising my children, and managing a household.

I will never say “It was God’s plan” or “They are better off now” to someone who is grieving a loss of a loved one because my grief and experience have taught me that saying “I’ve been there, I can see your pain” or just sitting quietly beside them is what makes a difference. One action of kindness can do what thousands of empty words cannot.

I didn’t want grief to enter my life. I didn’t ask for it. But now since it is here, I learned how to live with it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Grief is something that made me vulnerable and caused me to experience deep and raw emotions that probably I would have never experienced. And these feelings are keeping the memory of my father alive and fresh.

Thanks to my grief I feel close to my father even though we are skies apart.  

Mary Wright