Death is a hard thing to endure. No one is every fully prepared for the loss of a loved one, especially at a young age. The death of a parent is always portrayed to be something a child encounters at an older age and Hollywood always depicts it as an elderly person dying a peaceful death. But in actuality, death isn't "pretty" and painless. Losing my father at a young age has taught me plenty of lessons. Yes, there are still times where I miss him and I wish that he were here to witness so many milestones. However, after losing him has helped me grow to be a better person.
1. You learn that life is not fair.
Sometimes you begin to question why this happened to you and your family and that is okay. The biggest lesson I have learned is that life is not fair and sometimes there is absolutely no rhyme or reason why this happened.
2. You learn to grow up.
You learn to grow up mentally and physically. Whether it learning to put your own needs aside and working a part time job or learning how to take care of a younger sibling and yourself, you are in fact learning how to grow up.
3. You learn to value all of your friends and family.
My friends and family are the most important people to me. They are always there when I need and I am always there for them as well. I always take the time out of my day to make sure my friends and family know I am thinking about them and that I care about them.
4. You learn that life is short.
Learning that life is short begins to make you realize that you need to seize every moment. Whether it is going on an adventure with friends or trying a new food, those particular risks and chances are something that may only happen once in your life.
5. You learn that time is more valuable than things.
You learn to take time out of your day to spend with family and friends. There are days I would rather not check my tests or emails and spend time with others. I rather spend the money some other people would use on a new phone for dinner with family and friends.
6. You learn that holidays are tough.
Holidays are always hard as you get older because your family drifts away. You always find presents that you would give to your loved one and what meal they would share with your family.
7. You learn that memories are important.
The memories you had with your loved ones are what keep their memory alive. I love telling my friends about family vacations with my dad and being able to go to work with him.
8. You learn that no one can ever replace your loved one.
It's true that no one can ever replace your loved one. At the end of the day, someone might physically replace their role in your life, but no one can ever replace their personality and mannerisms.
9. You learn that the present moment is where life occurs.
I have learned to get off my phone and be around the people who are taking the time out of their day to be with me. At the end of the day, social media will always be there, but the journey with friends and family won't.
10. You learn that the loss is always a part of you.
Whether it has been 1 month or 11 years, you will always miss your loved one. I personally will always miss my father at big events, family functions, and sometimes even in everyday life.
11. You learn to choose your words more carefully.
I have learned never to leave a room angry or when I end a fight with someone that I will always make up with them before I go to sleep. You learn to always say "I love you" and "I'm sorry" because you never know if those will be the last words you and your loved one will share.
In Loving Memory of Matthew Kerner
August 28, 1949 - March 18, 2006