Dealing with grief: The gift of time and Father’s Day

I thought a lot about sharing this post with you, and I think it’s appropriate that I do, seeing as it’s Father’s Day this weekend.

A week today will mark the one year anniversary of my father’s passing. Just reading that statement seems so odd because it truly still feels so fresh to me — as if it all happened just the other day.

I found this sign in a beautiful orchard during my recent visit to England. It spoke to me in so many beautiful ways.
Photography by Simone Castello


A few days back, I found a note I had saved on my phone. It was dated back to November of last year. Reading the note, now, is an interesting experience because I’m able to see how I was emoting back then. I remember the exact moment I typed it out in my phone: I was going home after work one day, and while on the train, I felt this intense urge to burst out into tears. I don’t know why. I just wanted to.

I guess it’s a credit to being a writer — when suffocated by a thousand and one emotions that your unable to process or comprehend, the immediate impulse is to write. Just write. Or type. Whatever it takes.

So… here’s what I wrote:

November 2012
In the weeks and months since my father passed away, I’ve been struggling to hold on to memories. Anything that will keep him in my life. I find that in quiet moments it’s when I remember him the most. It’s fine when I’m busy, but the silence…

I miss him. I miss his voice. I miss his laugh. I miss his giant, contagious smile.

I feel the void. For better or worse, my father took up space in my life. Certain emotions were kept especially for him. People say that with time, you just remember the good. But what if remembering the good makes you feel sad? What if hearing an Elvis Presley song remind you of him singing it, and it tears you up inside? What if something you see on the news reminds you of one of the last things he ever said to you?

Maybe time heals. I don’t know. I hope it does. All I know is that right now, I miss his smile.

Wow. It was tough reading that just now, but it was also good. I’ll tell you why.

My life flipped upside down and over again at this time last year. Everything that has happened since then has been part of a challenging journey for my family and me, and I can firmly say that it’s ongoing. It’s a forever journey that will twist and turn in many ways in the future. But the view from this side is a lot different from the months gone by.

Today, I’m not walking around like a choked up ball of tears, ready to explode at any second. I still miss my father terribly (and for the most ridiculous things, I’ll admit), but the knowledge that life doesn’t stop until you’re ready to move on has helped me grow strong again. The fact that life keeps moving forward; that the world keeps spinning, and that your place the big picture doesn’t change because you’ve experienced a tragic loss is actually quite healing.

I’m glad I wrote that note because I’m able to see how much the passage of time has comforted me and my loved ones. Not a day goes by when we don’t think of him. I don’t know if that will change in the future, but for now, such is the case.

This experience has taught me that it’s important to let yourself grieve. In fact, it’s necessary. We’re human beings — we come complete with emotions that need to be experienced — whether good or bad. It’s when we don’t deal with these emotions that the real problems occur.

It’s important to confide in someone, whether personally or professionally. Even if you don’t need advice, you certainly can always use a listening ear. And I’ve learned there are many — if you let them listen. If you don’t like talking to people, meditate. Spend some time reflecting on your experiences and emotions and focus on your heart.

And as I said in my post earlier this year, the most important part is to be kind and compassionate to yourself. Don’t move forward on anyone else’s timeline. Move forward on your own. Whether in baby steps or giant leaps, the important part is that you move forward. Because life does. And however it happens, you will too.

If you’ve overcome grief, or are in the process of doing so, I’d love to hear how you’re doing. Please leave a comment below and join in the discussion.

Best wishes to you always!