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Father’s Day is a day of celebration, connection, and togetherness, that’s what Father’s Day used to be for me, a funny card, a small gift, a time to chat and reminisce. When I see other daughters with their Dad now, a quietness comes over me, a sense of sadness as I recall what I once had with mine but no longer have. Yes, Dad, you may have died but you’ll never be forgotten. This Sunday I’m choosing to remember him with hope and joy – this is his legacy to me.

If your Dad is in your life, do make time to ask questions about his life, and write them down. Don’t let business or your lack of time be an excuse, you’ll regret it later. When they are no longer there that’s when you realize the time you had with them was far too short.

Dad’s death changed me in so many ways and its because of my experience with grief, that I do what I do today. Despite my struggles, my belief was you can heal your heart from loss. The sadness still creeps up on you from time to time, but by allowing the feelings to come up I know they will pass. Journaling is what helps me remember Dad and what I’m missing.

Gifts From Dad

He was the artist of the family. He taught my sister and me to appreciate nature, wildlife, a river—just about anything to him was a potential subject. Unfortunately, at the time, we did not appreciate his fine eye, although we loved nature and being outdoors. Often through our eyes, we saw the delights of play and not from the lens of a painter.  

One gift to me was to see the beauty in nature so I could paint it with words. Just like an artist hones his painting skills, I, too, began honing my skills to paint with words. You never think about the death of your parents. They have been there forever; they will always be there you think. Except when one is taken from you the landscape suddenly changes. So many years now since Dad died, but his gifts to me continue to grow. They have lain dormant, like compost decaying, which eventually turns into rich fertile soil.

This desire of mine to write, timid at first, just like newly planted seeds, has started to root and grow. My words to describe what I want to say get stuck and hang back in fear, but when they do come forth, I delight in their creation. Sorry I have gotten ahead of myself and need to slowly go back to when it began, this desire of mine.  

My Journey into Grief

During those first months of grief and tormented by so many emotions. Unable to think or work. Everything was such an effort, even the simplest of tasks. How lost I felt and eventually did lose myself for a time. A small seed of thought took hold during those early days of my grief and began to grow louder and louder with each day. What I needed was a road map or perhaps a grief map.

Perhaps I’d write a book, one that would assist me and others in knowing what to expect. Guiding my readers to show them the way through and, eventually, out.  Finding my grief map seemed like a great idea because whenever I go on a journey, I always take a map along.

Dad had taught me from an early age how to read road maps, another of his gifts to me. I’m forever grateful because if I get lost, I can easily find my way back. Such a comfort to me to know that I have this ability and my inner compass.

Grief’s Abyss

When dad died,  I didn’t have a map; my inner compass was broken and just kept spinning around. This went on for the next six months. Recognizing now that I was in the clutches of grief’s watery hands.  Its effects were present in everything I did or didn’t do. My brain felt waterlogged. The ability to think or function properly eluded me. From time to time, my eyes would release the pressure and allow the tears to flow. Even my heart was drowning in the turbulent waters as it was tossed around by all the emotions ever known to humankind. For a time I’d live in this watery land of grief and feared I’d never get out.

To me, it felt like an abyss, which, according to the dictionary, describes beautifully what I was experiencing. An abyss is deep and it takes up immeasurable space; at times unfathomable, infinite; pure, primal chaos and it felt like hell. However, each day some new experience—sometimes laughter, like the sun—would peep through, showing me the way. I relied purely on instinct and intuition. This was a journey that I had to experience alone, without any external tools, and certainly with no beloved map to lend comfort.

The Journey

My grief had pushed and pulled at me. Even it shook me so that I would release all the things in my life that no longer mattered. The petty arguments with my father tucked away in my memory were released and washed away. After about six months, grief deemed that I had been emotionally cleansed and slowly receded from my life. Feeling lighter now but still dazed. The sunshine and blue skies beckoned me on to another part of my life. Seemingly in calmer waters, and then on dry land, perhaps time to move on with my life. Although no longer buffeted by raging waters, I remained exhausted. For me, the land of grief was bewildering, because I’d never been taught what was expected of me or what to expect from the experience.

Eventually, I emerged from my journey in grief. Introspection, time, and support, and much self-care were required. Emerging stronger and wiser because I’d traveled grief’s many waterways and highways. Truly a difficult journey and one that all of us will eventually experience.  The book I’d go onto to write is the road map that resulted from my journey with a beginning, middle & end through grief

Grieving a Loss

If you’re grieving the loss of your Dad on this Father’s Day, it’s my desire that this will help you and give you hope that your pain or tears won’t be forever and you too will be able to talk about your Dad, as I can with gladness and joy as you do.

Would you like support or assistance on your journey? Do reach out – another one of Dad’s gifts was I changed careers to become a Life After Loss Coach – [email protected]

Interested in reading more? You can find the book Grief’s Abyss Finding Your Pathway to Peace here

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