What comes along with losing someone you love is a lot of grief and an ongoing healing process that is never fully complete. People LOVE to tell you that things will get better with time and that you will get through it, but this is only partly true. YES, you will get through it, no matter how long it takes, or in what way you achieve this, you WILL find a form of happiness again, but I don't think it ever gets easier.

Seven years later and I am still not over the death of my father. I have finally accepted his death, and have learned how to cope with it, but in NO way am I over it, and that's completely okay.

What I didn't know when he died, was that I would continue to get small signs that show me how close to me he still is, even if I can't see him. I also never expected to dread telling others what happened, but I do. I dread telling people what happened to my dad, not because I don't like talking about it, but because I don't want the sympathy.

I am a normal 20-year-old college student, and just like everyone else my age, I just overcame a lot before getting here. This event made me into the person I am today, but it does not define who I am, and that's what people fail to differentiate between.

I appreciate the concerns, but I do not want you treating me any different just because I lost a parent. I want to continue to live as normal of a life as possible, and the constant expressions of feeling bad aren't allowing me to do that.

Yes, I live with only my mom and brothers, but I still have my dad. I see him through butterflies coming near me, I hear him through different songs, and I carry him with me everywhere around my neck. I hate not having him physically here with me, but I know he has never left my heart and is the best guardian angel I could have asked for watching over me from above.

I am continuously overcoming his death, by pushing myself to create a better life, by looking after my younger brothers, by making my mom laugh, and by being a source of strength in our family that lost a rock, but continues to be full of hope, happiness, love, and success.

I am doing everything that he would want me to be doing.

So dad, exactly seven years later, and I still think about you every day and talk to you every night. I wear you around my neck everywhere I go, and my love for you is just as strong. Time seems to fly by since you've left and it won't quite slow down. But, I know you haven't left my side, because you've sent me small signs throughout the years.

There is a lot you did for me that I never really got the chance to appreciate, but it in no way is unnoticed. I want to thank you for choosing mom; she is the most courageous and selfless person I have ever met, and you chose an amazing woman.

I want to thank you for teaching me all that you did in our short time together, and I want to thank you for giving me my two younger brothers who continuously inspire me to be a better sister and a better woman. They also constantly remind me of you, which is like a breath of fresh air sometimes.

There is so much that is missing from my life now that you are gone. I miss your laugh. And I miss your voice. But, most of all, I miss you. Having a parent taken from you at such a young age is awful, but the strength I have because of it is what makes me who I am today.

I get angry at you sometimes, feel sorry for you, and miss you, but through it all, I still only want the best for you.

I hope that you are smiling in heaven with your uncles who passed before you, and with our many pets who have passed on as well. I hope that you laugh with us, cry with us, smile with us, and most importantly just simply still do life with us.

Life is hard, but it's even worse without you. I don't know why God had to take you when he did, I don't think I ever will. However, I have come to peace with the fact that you're gone, and it took me a long time to get here.

Seven years seems like an eternity, but it also feels like the blink of an eye. You will forever be my favorite guardian angel, and will always be my favorite man. I thank you for allowing me to be who I am today because I'm pretty proud of that person. I wish you happiness and joy in all that you do above us. And, I want you to know that I love you with all of my heart, and I will never forget the father you were to me.

I love you.