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What I Learned About the 'Right Way' to Grieve Since My Dad's Death

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It has been almost one year since my dad died. I’ll no longer be able to say, “Last year my dad and I did this or that,” because there will be no last year.

People told me life would move on and things will get easier. Time did pass, but the pain is still there as if it were yesterday. For me, it might never go away.

I will say I learned many things from daddy’s death: tell the ones you love that you love them daily, live life to its fullest…taking nothing or no one for granted…all clichés I guess. But there is one lesson that has really stuck out to me — it’s that there is no wrong way to grieve.

I’ve had loved ones and friends pass on before, but no one as close to me as my father. So his absence from my life has had a profound effect on me. When I feel, I feel with everything in me. I’ve been in a depression for most of this year. Last Christmas I didn’t decorate much because I felt all bah humbug. Everything was the first without my dad: first birthday, first Easter, first Father’s Day, first Thanksgiving, etc.

Different people in my family had different ideas on how we were supposed to deal with it all. Some wanted to have celebrations of every little moment, a constant reminder that daddy was gone. Some didn’t want to face the fact that his presence was missing, and moved on without spending these important moments together. I felt torn; wanting to remember the great man for what he was at every given moment, or moving on without memorializing every little thing.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that nobody’s got the grief part down to a precise science. Whether it is an all in gnashing of the teeth, or let’s just move on with our lives, neither one is right or wrong.

What I need to do is come up with what is right for me, and not criticize others for how they want to deal with it all.

Who’s to say what the right way to mourn is? Honestly, no one. As long as you deal with grief in your own way and it makes you feel at peace, then that is right for you.

Photo submitted by contributor.

Originally published: October 22, 2019
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