Guys, I have to let it out and please let me apologize to you first, some of you don't have the time or desire to read my story, but that's ok, I know the deal, and life is a busy thing for sure. no problem.
Maybe no one will read this, I don't know. I can't talk to my wife or family, or friends 100% about this, so I am looking for a bone for you to throw at me....just a small one. I lost my Dad on March 19th after a bout with the H1N1 flu, and pneumonia. That's right. You would have to know/see my Dad to know where I am coming from. Big, Man's man..tough as nails and all. Yeah. It's still like day 1 for me, I am trying to find peace with it. I have no siblings, my parents have been my rock since the beginning. I laugh when people remark about that, as being the "spoiled" only child, lol. Yep..the only one to help dig ditches, split wood and shovel snow. for sure.
I know everyone grieves differently, situations are all their own, but I am just looking for a relation, anything to move forward beyond my days. Get up and go to work, perform the tasks, and take it as life presents it. I know I am not the only one to lose their dad that they were close to. I just wasn't ready...he had a lot of gas left in the tank, should have seen his grand kids graduate, college, etc. I know. Just looking for something to believe in.
I know this letter is generic in a sense..,but to me it's one of a kind. I feel that I am the only one ever to have this kind of bond with a/my dad...I know that's not true, but still.
I have a lot more to say if anyone is in the same boat as me. I am struggling through this to be a good dad to my kids, stay married, spend the time, etc. and maintain the life established. thank you for reading.
Ryan, I am so sorry for your lose. I too am one of those son of the man's man. If you go back to my post from last year you will see my story about my dad. Being the oldest son I was always called the Golden Child, especially when my youngest son was named after me and my dad. Make no mistake about it though, you know what they say about the head that wears the crown. I spent many spring breaks and summer vacations working my ass off to buy my own clothes, car stereos, gas, and car insurance long before I was 17.
Since my fathers death I was called upon to take care of my house, my mothers house and bills, and take over the family business. The thing that kept me going is knowing all the things that my father taught me. It sounds to me that your dad had sort of the same principals. Family first was always the first rule. So I encourage you to take that part of his legacy and run with it. Give your children a man to look up to. Keep your head up no matter what. Don't let your dad's legacy die with him.
Every day I say or do something that reminds me of my dad and I know that my wife, sisters, bother, in laws, nephews, and nieces see it when it happens (he was a huge influence in the lives of those he loved). Most have even started to make comments comparing me to him when it happens, and instead of being heart broken when it happens I take pride in those moments.
Ryan, he raised you to be THE PROUD, INTELLIGENT, HARD WORKING MAN THAT YOU ARE. Don't ever forget that. Never be ashamed to shed those tears, but don't let them control you. Every day you must know that it is your duty to honor him and in doing so you don't have to do anything special except carry on and move your family forward into the future.
My heart goes out to you and yours.
Thank you for taking the time to reply with your inspiring and genuine words. I did read your story and I am also heart fully for your profound loss. Your Dad sounds like he was quite a fine man who naturally commanded respect and love of those in his flock. You stand as a fine example of his legacy.
I appreciated your words to me and what they hold. From what I can deduce this is all a work in progress and each day that passes seems to set in a row of all of the days before, maybe it does get easier, but maybe there is a numbness that develops too. I don't know, I'm trying to think of ways and things as my Dad would have them. He was a believer in mind over matter...I can remember being a kid in like 4th grade...I had a lot of bouts with strep throat when I was young, this one time he told me that I needed to picture white soldiers-white blood cells fighting a battle with demons which was the virus..he told me to close my eyes and picture that, tell your body to fight it off, etc. That was something he said to me in that time, and with the mind thing. I am using that in my daily duties to hold my emotions and carry on as he would want. But like you know, it's not so easy.
I too had to take over everything at my mom's house. I have no siblings and the chores have fallen on me for the most part, my sons help with what they can but you know, there is a lot with just maintenance, grass, home repairs and all...plus helping to sort all of the closure things from my dad with my mom, helping her to pick up and hold her up as well. I have my daily job, all of my own home work and at her house...it's very consuming, and everywhere I go up there I see him. In his garage, I look for tools - where did he keep this, that...it really puts things in perspective and his spirit seems to be everywhere...and I know it really is. I guess as a kid, man, you never really know what this experience is like until it happens huh. Time heals all wounds they say, that might be true but the scars last forever.
I know I need to make time, as you say be the man that my kids look up to, for my kids, have fun, take them fishing, enjoy some of the summer-they are getting older and I need to be the person and father that I should be for them. That's what my dad would want, as yours would as well.
Chuck thank you once again for those powerful words...this is exactly what I was looking for - to find here on AoM, guys like you who have advice and inspiration in enduring a loss such as the one in our Dads. Thanks so much for your time. I will look to carry what you said and progress through time and carry him always.
All my best to you and your family, take care.
Hi Ryan. I am very sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my dad the morning of 4/24/14 to a heart attack that came out of nowhere. Similar to what you describe here, I considered my dad my best friend and he taught me the value of so much in life, including resilience and hard work. I was the kid who was mowing lawns as soon as I could push a mower, landscaping yards and hunched over whatever household project he was working on at the time, learning my way around a box of tools and the value of a good sweat. Even as we grew older, we still made it a point to see one another monthly (we live 400 miles away) whether it meant a car show or a family trip, and we were closer than ever when he passed. I thank God that he was around to see me get married 7 weeks before he died and I know that was one of the happiest days of his life (and mine).
I wish I could tell you that the pain goes away...it doesn't. You just learn to live with the pain more and more, day after day, and it becomes part of you. What has been really helpful to me has been talking to friends (and even new acquaintances) who have been through the same thing. Sometimes we'll grab beers and swap dad stories, sometimes we don't talk about our fathers at all, just having that bond really helps with the coping process, as you feel that you are with someone who truly understands what you are going through.
My dad's passing has really brought me closer to my family (especially my mother, whom I was not nearly as close with) as well as my aunts and uncles that I have not spent a lot of time with. Also, it has really made me realize what a blessing my wife's family is, as they were there the morning I got the news, serving as pillars of support. I don't want to wake up one day and realize that I didn't fully appreciate those close to me, so it has been a real motivator to spend more time with all of my family and carry on my dad's legacy. He was always the planner for the family, and that role has now fallen to me as I am planning the first family reunion for the fall. I feel that I have grown more in the 2 months that he has been gone than I have my entire life.
I know that my dad wouldn't have sat around and let life pass him by, so I want to be the one to carry his torch and honor his memory through my actions. It is as if I want to make him even more proud now that he is gone, and that my daily actions are serving a larger purpose and a higher motivation. Be proud of your father and carry on his legacy. Move forward, but let the memories of the past guide and inspire you. Lean on your family and those around you. They are there for you. Your dad is no longer here, but he will always be with you. Live each day with that in mind.
I read something the other day that really struck a chord in dealing with the passing of a loved one and continuing to live with memories and their spirit within you. It is here.
My deepest condolences. I know what you are going through, and I know that you will emerge from this even stronger.
Thank you very much for taking time out of your life to write a reply to me like you did. I am so sorry to hear of your own loss of your dad, and in much the same unexpected and shocking way. That's the hardest part to come to terms with. I keep telling myself that I should have prepared for this, just that I guess i wasn't ready, nobody is..you weren't. I can't go back and prepare now...it's just the shock and the huge change in life, everybody's life, the hole that is left....that's where the struggle is. I just didn't expect...just like you apparently as well, like many people too i am sure.
My dad was in bed with the flu, he's had it before and all....no big deal, right
?..just figured he'd be down a few days and recover. I kept checking on him after work that week, asked my mom if he was doing any better, etc. Then it became like the 4th day and high fevers, told him we should go to the hospital and he wouldn't have any part of it, said he'd be fine, etc. My Dad was stubborn! So another day or so later, my mom texted me when I was at church that we needed to call the ambulance for him, she couldn't hold him up when he got out of bed...so I got home and we did just that. He looked at me and still insisted he's be okay, just needed more time, etc...but we weren't budging. Then he said okay...seemed defeated in a sense, but that was it. We went to the ER not knowing how serious this was. After a while, the Er doctor came out to us and I'll never forget the conversation. He said that my dad is a very sick man, vicious pneumonia and influenza...the chances of him passing were far greater than him surviving. Wow....those words were like shattered glass in a quiet room. At first my initial reaction was that he didn't know what he was talking about....but he did. We had no idea it was like this, so then the rest was history. They couldn't get enough oxygen into his lungs with a respirator to they life flighted him to Lehigh med where he passed two days later.
The family put a lot of blame on ourselves..I did as well, like I should have known, I should have called the ambulance days earlier...but there is so much, he was the man insisting he "had to get a lot worse before I go to the hospital"...so it all was just an event that happened quickly and was like a bad dream. We could blame ourselves all day, but we can't. If only. Just didn't realize. The doctors told us that people don't realize just how sick you can become from the stuff that is out there now. Obviously they are right.
So as I'm sure you know...the emotions, the memories, the wishes of spending or doing more things together, it's all tremendous. The sadness of him going, the feeling that my kids were robbed of his influences and experiences, too soon. But as you wrote, I know he would want me to pick it up and move forward...be the patriarch that he was for my family, raise my kids right and keep his spirit alive along the way. I will strive to do that, like you said it never goes away. I agree..too that i think it becomes part of you. We have family and people that depend on us, and most of all our dads would want us to be strong for them....that's what i am telling myself. Guys like you and Chuck who have written me have really helped me to see perspectives, I really do appreciate you sharing your words and inspiration with me. I really do, and thanks as well for the link to that column, that is really great and I am going to pass that along to my family members who are struggling to move forward as well.
Saturday is his memorial service. I am trying to mentally prepare as best I can. There will be a bag piper, the American Legion will do the gun salute, it's going to be a powerful scene. When I was in high school, my dad and I restored our family car, a 1971 Plymouth Road Runner... I will take my Dad's ashes for one last ride in that car Saturday morning and park it by the stone, as it will serve as a fitting part of the service.
Thank you once again Rob so very much for writing, and your words. They are very meaningful, and I know your Dad would be proud of you in just the way you wrote about carrying the torch and in your actions. My thoughts and condolences are with you and your family as well, as it's still new and for you too. Thanks again for this...it's just what i needed. Take care and all the best to you.
This is a very short response due to a time constraint-but your story grabbed my heart.
I lost my father when I was 24-just a tad over half my life ago.
1) One step at a time
2) It will hurt
3) You will feel better-then it hurts again
4) But you do feel better more often and for longer.
5) Over time you meet other members of this fraternity you never wanted to join. I "enjoy" swapping messages with a HS friend who lost his father at 17. That helps
6) Do what you know you need to do-honor your core commitments and his core. THAT is how you honor him.
7) Write him letters-keep a journal. Visit his grave if that helps and have a chat. I already know what mine will tell me-that is a comfort.
8) If you can take time for some runs/find a bunching bag and beat the crap out of it/find a good stretch of interstate where you can drive and scream-great...it helps
9) Do not get stupid-honor his code.
10) I am sorry for the loss-26 years later...still a spot that is raw...but I went ahead and typed this anyway.
Jones, thank you very much for that. Those are strong pillars of guidance, and I can definitely appreciate each one of them. Really good, and I appreciate you sending them to me, making the time to. The fraternity I never wanted to join....none of us, well said and I can take some peace in that with talking to you guys on here who are also in the same fraternity. These few messages alone have given me a different avenue to look down. I am striving to heed those words spoken to me and keep it in perspective, to always have him on my shoulder in all I do and carry on, fulfill my duties to my children and my mom, and my family..as he would want it. Thank you again! All the best to you.
Having lost my dad when I was 12 40 years a go I really do not have a good memory of what it is like to have a dad. I remember him but it has been a long time since I had one around. Still I remember how it was to loose him when I did, and I hope you are doing okay. Glad you posted.
Thanks Michael. Doing okay..little by little every day...seems all we can do.
So sorry for your loss, Ryan. I lost my Dad in Feb 2012. The first year was horrible. The 2nd year was still rough. Then, it eased up a bit. i still have my bad days, ups and downs. I can't say that it gets any better or easier, I am just able to deal with it. I know that's the way dad would want it. I still talk to him every day, and i believe he can hear me. I try and live up to the legacy he left behind, and that keeps me motivated! Press on, brother!
Thank you Don, for your words and your encouragement. It's going to be a long haul, I know and I'm just going with it day by day and being there for my mom. Not a single moment of any day passes without feeling like I'm lost somewhere, I know he'd want me to press on and hold up the family, that is motivating me and I will do the best I can to honor him and keep the wheels turning. Thanks again!