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Learning to Deal With Grief Not Even My Trauma Prepared Me for

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Over the last almost nine months since I lost my dad, I have experienced so many different feelings and emotions. At times, I didn’t know I could ever feel a certain way, nor did I really ever want to. Just like so many other people in this world, I have experienced different traumas throughout my life and have found ways to cope with each one, none the same as the last. No prior trauma in my life could have prepared me for the grief I am dealing with now because most of the time, it feels like the only thing that can make me feel better is having my dad, and that’s the only thing I can’t have.

Grief is a part of life for everyone, no one is spared from it, some just experience it earlier in life than others. Everyone has to find their own way to cope with grief because, what works for me may not work for another person. This has been hard for me as with every other trauma I have worked through in my life I can take from others whom have had something similar happen to them. But, my relationship with my dad and the bond we have is just ours and no one else’s. I can’t compare it to, say, my sister’s relationship with him because the two couldn’t be more different. Finding ways to heal from this is harder than I could have ever imagined and all I can do is work at it every day.

One of the hardest things I have experienced is there are moments where my mind almost forgets my dad is gone. It is very painful when this happens because I then catch myself and have to pull myself back to the reality that he isn’t here and I can’t just call him at work and ask him what he is doing. What I wouldn’t give for one of those phone calls again, even though I always knew exactly what he would say: “Just working kid, you?” It’s the simple things that are the most painful and are missed the most.

I am very grateful for all the memories I have with my dad because they give me a comfort that nothing else can. From all the pictures as a family, the voice message he sent me on accident where he is just simply talking — there is a laundry list of things I can think of, and these help, but they don’t take away all the sadness and pain.

Grief is such an isolating type of feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone because it takes everything out of you. Some days are better than others yes, but sometimes it feels like a hole left in your heart may never close, and even if you are known as the girl who smiled and laughed all the time, that smile is not as easy as it once was and much doesn’t seem funny as often. I want more than anything to go back to the way my life was a year ago, but that isn’t possible. So many people in this world are having to move forward without people they love. If I can take anything from all the stuff I have gone through in my life, it is just to simply be grateful to all those who are in your life who love you and who you love because life can change in the blink of an eye.

Original photo by author

Originally published: May 4, 2021
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