I know the pain. I know the heartache. One day he was here, the next he is gone. It feels as though you’ve lost everything at times. You are waiting to wake up from what must be a crazy bad dream. He can’t REALLY be gone, can he? I’ve been there.
As a little girl he was always there. He was your idol, your biggest fan, your loudest cheerleader. When you heard “daddy’s home” your heart swelled and you ran to be the first to greet him. No you see a man and his daughter holding hands crossing the parking lot, or a little girl wearing a shirt that says “daddy’s sweetheart” and you break. I’ve been there.
Getting older you think about graduation and making him proud. He may even shed a tear or two (or a million) as he watches his little girl walk across the stage. You helps you move into your college dorm. As ready as you are to take on the world, a piece of you knows how hard this day is on him. I’ve been there.
Then you imagine your wedding day! He walks you down the aisle and officially gives you away to an amazing man who you pray will be ½ the man he is. Then comes the father daughter dance. A day of celebration and love, wrapped up with fun and laughter. He twirls you around the dance floor making you laugh while “I Loved Her First” or “Cinderella” plays in the background. I’ve been there.
How could this be happening? What does this mean? He’s gone and you’re still here. You start to move on, but something reminds you of the loss. Sometimes it’s a song, or a memory, or a picture. Sometimes it looking at the future and realizing from here on out you have to talk about him in the past tense, or that anyone new you meet will never know him. I’ve been there.
I wish I could say it gets better. I wish I could say it gets easier. But honestly that is a lie I’ve been telling myself for 8 ½ years now. The situation sucks. Your father/dad/papa/daddy is gone, and you are still here. You are forced to face this hella scary world without him and the safety you felt when you were with him. If, like me, you are single you are forced to think about walking down the aisle with someone other than the man who raised you. Reality will hit you when you see friends getting married and having that special dance with their dad while you are choking back tears and forcing a smile to show you’re OK.
It doesn’t get better or easier, but you adjust. You learn to be a bit more independent. You find a strength within yourself that you didn’t know was there before. That strength comes from within, and it comes from him. Everything he taught you, everything he showed you, even when he thought you weren’t paying any attention. All of that comes back around when you least expect it. You realize that daddy’s little girl turned into daddy’s strong independent woman. You pray to make him proud in all you do.
Being a girl who has lost her dad is tough. It is not a position I EVER imagined to be in, especially not at the age of 19 when it happened, and now 8 years later I still struggle sometimes. We all handle loss differently, but at the end of the day losing your daddy sucks. It’s a club that I hate being a member of and did not join by choice. It’s a bond that so many young women and I share, and I want to be able to support others as much as possible. Know that you are NOT alone. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling. Be patient and kind to yourself. It’s a tough journey, but know you are not and will not be alone in it.