Post Three: The death of a parent. 6/2017
My dad passed away 1/2017, I find myself thinking about my dad everyday literally not a day goes by that I do not think about my dad. I would have never thought losing a parent could change my life so much. Of course, losing a loved one (a parent) would be a terrible experience and a life changing event. I just never knew how deep of a loss and how much I would miss my dad.
Growing up you believe you have all the time in the world. I took those phone calls for granted. I knew my dad would call me on my birthday, to go get lunch, stop by my office, or we would take a trip to the casino. At all our family gatherings and Holidays, he was there cooking for all us kids and telling stories of his childhood. Growing up our parents are in our lives since our very first memory and our whole life thereafter. To lose my dad was the hardest thing and biggest loss, I have experienced in my life.
I look back at all the memories growing up. As a young child, we really did not have a choice not to go places or stay home, so we went to dinner, camping, vacations, church, and everywhere in between. As you get older sometimes you do not spend as much time with your parent(s). You are off to college, having a girlfriend/boyfriend, working, starting a career, and going out with friends. Your parents are always there for you, but you drift away some during these years. I was close with my dad so even with everything going on in my life I still had special time with him. My dad loved Nascar and going to races. We made several RV trips to different tracks for the weekend. My dad would haul me and a few of my friends for a weekend trip. I recall once my dad asked me to go to a Nascar race in NC and I said I was “too busy” working. I was busy starting a career in mortgages but looking back I wish I would have taken that trip with him and done more while he was here. At the time there are things you don’t want to do, or you are tired, so you pass on an opportunity to spend time with your parent(s). These are moments I wish I could have back. Now I would do anything to have a cup of coffee with my dad or take a weekend trip somewhere – anywhere.
One thing losing my dad taught me was to be more sympathetic when I see a friend lose a parent or loved one. Growing up I had several friends lose a parent before my dad passed away. I was always sad for them and extended my condolences but until I went through it myself, they were just words to a certain degree. It is a tough time you struggle for the right things to say- I am so sorry for your loss. If you need anything at all, please let me know but life just marched on. I would stop at the funeral home at times to say sorry and other times I was busy and did not make it to the funeral home. Well after my dad passed away, I looked at it totally different. I try to make it to the funeral home, send flowers, reach out, and try to drop something off at the house if we can. I now understand when you lose a parent it is an extremely difficult time. Even though time and the world marches on – you are dealing with a huge loss and your world comes to a stop. You are remembering all the memories, going through pictures, comforting family members, thinking about what else you could have done, and starting to realize what life is like without your parent in my case my dad.
I wish I would have spent more time with my dad. I miss the phone calls. I miss the conversations.
I don’t show it a lot or share my feelings or thoughts on my dad and his passing away. Part is because I just deal with it in my own way. I think about it a lot when I drive or jog or I am alone. Going to Church makes me think about him and I get sad.
My Dad was the only person who understood my drive to work and own businesses. When it comes to work, ideas about work, building a business, starting a business, talking about money my dad was it. I have realized that piece of my life having my dad there for me is missing and I will always wish I had more time. We always wish we had more time especially with a loved one.
My advice is to spend time with your loved ones. On the days you are too busy or too tired go grab dinner or a cup of coffee and have that conversation. Have your parents write out about their life in a book. You can buy all types of memory books. I tried to get my dad to do this. He just never got around to it. I would like to read about his life and thoughts. I am sure one day my boys would like to read about his life. This is another reason I created this Blog site for my family. They will have my thoughts whether they like it or not.
I saw this online: Losing a parent is among the most emotionally difficult and universal of human experiences. And although we may understand that the loss of a parent is inevitable in the abstract sense, that knowledge doesn’t lessen the grief when a mother or father dies. Losing a parent is grief-filled and traumatic, and it permanently alters children of any age, both biologically and psychologically. Nothing is ever the same again; the loss of a mother or father is a wholly transformative event.