When I went to sleep that night, I was the girl whose dad had stage four cancer. When I went to bed the next night, I was the girl whose dad died of stage four cancer. My life was forever changed. For anyone else who knows what this is like, and for anyone who has the luxury of not knowing, this one is for you.
No matter your age, losing a mother or a father is one of the hardest things that you will ever have to go through, because now, the person that was responsible for your being on this Earth, is suddenly gone. I know one of the hardest things for me is seeing people hug their dads. That's something I'll never get to do ever again. He won't be able to see me graduate from college, he won't be able to walk me down the aisle, and my children won't ever know how amazing of a man their grandfather was.
Grieving over a lost parent is weird. For me, my grief comes in waves, and its always at very unexpected and inconvenient times, and it has cost me. My grief makes it hard to do homework, to want to wake up for class, and it has affected some of my friendships as well. My grief has affected me athletically, and socially, and sometimes I feel like nothing will ever get any better.
But sometimes, I have great days, and I don't really understand why. I try to not question it, but life without my dad is awful. It truly is. He was one of my best friends and one of the greatest people I ever knew, but not having him here is the worst thing I ever could have imagined.
Losing a parent means you will miss them each and every day, no matter what you are doing; whether it is reading a book, watching Netflix, doing homework, or just before bed, it can hit you at any time. My dad will always be with me, I know that, but sometimes its hard to be brave and act like I can get through this without him...
Then I think about the great support system I have surrounding me. The Lawrence University community was absolutely incredible right after my father passed. Emails, donations, letters, and kind words were showered on me. The people that my father touched that were there by my family's side, my friends, my siblings, but most importantly, my mom. My mom has been my rock since day one. She has kept herself together like I could have never imagined she would. I have her to thank for my strength during this time.
For anyone who has lost a parent, look to your family for strength. My mother and my sister have been my greatest allies at this time. Losing part of my family is so hard, but I am so thankful for the ones I still have.
Daddy, you will always be in my heart, and with me wherever I go, and as the six-month anniversary of your death comes next week, things might only get harder. But a wise friend once told me,
"Things will never get better, but they will get easier each day, I promise."
Love you always, Daddy.