10 Things That Are Helping Me Deal with My Father’s Death

It’s been a month since my father passed away from lung cancer. I still have random breakdowns when I think about him, and about how suddenly it happened. I haven’t been able to sleep through one night without waking up. I just realized that I still have his number saved as a “Favorite” in my phone.

A friend whose father also passed away said it took months to feel “normal” again. I think that’s probably true. I honestly don’t know if my life will ever be normal again, but I hope that I can move on and not let it effect who I am as a wife, a friend and a mother.

I know that everyone deals with loss differently, and that there is not one-size-fits-all treatment for it, but here are a few things that are currently helping me deal:

  1. Looking at this drawing from my best friend’s son, because everyone can use a “portable hug.”
Lepracat. Genius.

2. Listening to country music, because my dad loved it, and because how can you not like songs by people named Garth, Dwight, Randy and Jo Dee.

3. Reading my daughter’s children’s books, because they exude innocence, kindness and cute cartoon critters.

My current favorites.

4. Watching television shows that make me laugh (like “Atlanta”), make me tap into my inner child (like “Yo Gabba Gabba”) and make me appreciate the human spirit (like “Transparent”).

5. Letting my daughter splash me extra in the bathtub, or grab the glasses off my face, or put her greasy chip-covered fingers up my nose, or eat all the Goldfish crackers for herself, because well, kids.

6. Reading messages of hope and happiness (like a friend’s declaration that her child has no more chemo treatments and another friend’s post about her son earning his green belt in Taekwondo) instead of anger and spite (like everything related to the election).

7. Looking at old photos of me and my brother, because one minute he’s torturing me and the next he’s hugging me, and that’s pretty funny.

Sibling love.

8. Laughing at/with my daughter as much as possible, like when she tries to walk in her father’s size 12 shoes, or when she breaks the silence with an unladylike burp, or when I try to do the Running Man dance in front of her and she is not amused.

9. Rebuilding relationships with the family members that I have left, and realizing that we’re not perfect and we have flaws, but we will always be there for each other, no matter what.

10. Showing extra love to these two “kids,” because they have been through endless ups and downs with me, and they have never loved me any less.

The odd, yet lovable, couple.

I know it will take a while to come to grips with my father’s death (and maybe I never truly will), but I feel proud that I’m focusing my energy on the things that truly matter to me. I hope that this will inspire others dealing with loss to do the same thing.

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