When I think back to my childhood, I don’t remember much. I often hear people talking about theirs, and they remember so many details.
I remember a few things, but not many. Not as much as others. Usually though, a memory will come back once I see an old picture.
But there is one thing that stands out.
It’s not a happy memory but it’s the one I’ll remember no matter what.
I’ve tried to move on from it. I’ve tried to ignore the pain. I’ve tried to cry it out and then bottle it back up again.
I’ve tried for years to be the strong one.
But now it’s time to release it. It’s time to bring back those memories and talk about it.
It’s time to share what it’s like to be the girl who lost her dad.
When I was only 8 years old, my dad was in an accident at work.
My loving, hardworking, best dad in the world was taken from me. After only eight years together.
He was an electrician at a power plant. He went in on his day off to help after a storm and the accident happened.
I’ll never forget the day. I was sitting outside after school with my two siblings and childhood friend.
I looked up from our chalk drawings and saw my dads coworker and wife pull up. I thought it was weird that they were randomly at our house.
Shortly after, we were being loaded up in the car to be dropped off at our grandparents office. They owned an air conditioning business.
I don’t remember too many details, like the time lapse or anything, but I remember playing. Just hanging out, waiting for mom to go pick up daddy.
But then soon we loaded up again. This time we went to a small hospital in a very small town.
I’m guessing the same town the power plant was in, or the nearest town with a hospital.
I sat in the hallway with my two siblings who were 6 and 5 at the time. I remember a lot of people being around. Nurses I think. My grandparents also I’m assuming.
My moms face is what I remember most.
We were sitting in these cold, plastic chairs while my mom held my hands and tried to get the words out.
She told us our daddy was gone.
In the moment, as an 8 year old child, those words didn’t register. What did she mean he was gone?
I remember feeling the heartbreak in the room.
Everyone around us just watching helplessly. Watching a young mother tell her 3 babies the worst news that any of us could’ve imagined.
I don’t remember anything after that up until the viewing.
I remember at the viewing I kissed my daddy on the cheek. He was stiff. He wasn’t there.
My childhood friend who was there, told me something along the lines that I was weird for doing that.
I remember playing it off and almost laughing like “it’s not weird silly”. Because it didn’t feel weird to me.
But I imagine to an 8 year old kid who hasn’t lost a parent, that it was weird. It wasn’t her daddy laying there.
But it was my daddy.
That was his outer shell and I had to say goodbye one more time.
I remember the funeral too. My dad was cremated so it was just service at the funeral home.
I remember my grandmother kissing me on the cheek as we sat there and listened to the eulogy.
I remember it didn’t feel real.
Losing a parent changes you.
At any age, it affects you in an unimaginable way.
Everything you’ve ever known is gone.
Death made me question everything.
My dad was ripped from me.
Death happened so close to me.
I was so angry.
Why did I have to grow up without him?
Why did my dad die.
As if people could be immune to death.
I blamed myself.
I asked God if this had been some sort of punishment for wishing to always have my parents with me.
For being greedy. Or not grateful enough.
I struggled with that feeling for a long time.
But one day my dad came to visit me in a dream.
I can’t remember how old I was or how much time had passed since his death, but I can tell you everything about the dream.
It was short, but so so real.
I got home from school and ran inside like I was expecting him.
I went straight to the back door, which had a window on it. The sun was shining so brightly through it, it was almost blinding.
My daddy walked in, wearing a grey sweatsuit, and greeted me with the biggest smile and bear hug. No words, just love.
And that’s all the dream was.
From there, I knew everything was ok.
His smile let me know he was ok and I knew I would be ok.
That was my sign from him to let those feelings go. I wasn’t to blame, he wasn’t to blame, and God wasn’t to blame.
Death isn’t the end.
When you lose someone you love, it feels like the good days are gone. In those first few days of grieve, it feels like your life is ending.
But it’s not.
Death was the end of their time here on this Earth. But your story will continue.
Your parents would want you to continue living and loving your life. You know they would.
You may wonder how you’ll make it through each day without talking to them. But you have to remember that you can still talk to them. They just don’t respond back in the same way they used to.
I feel my dad with me everyday. Our time together on Earth was short, but he’s forever in my heart. The memories he left behind mean more to me than anything else.
If you’re struggling with the loss of a parent, I want you to know you will get through it. It sucks and it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever go through, but you will.
And I know you’re probably thinking that doesn’t fix your pain. It doesn’t fill the void.
I know exactly what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling. My heart is aching for you.
The advice I want to give you is to cry. Cry whenever needed. There’s no such thing as too much crying.
You can’t overcome the sadness if you don’t let the sadness out.
Pray. Be mad at God. Give Him your struggles. Give Him your pain. Ask Him to help you through this.
And talk to your parent as if they’ve never left. They are with you. If you listen closely enough, you may just hear their response ❤️