Something that I think it’s important for people to know, including myself, is that my grief is just as valid as your grief. It might hurt less than if my father had been a part of my life, but it still impacted me deeply.
My dad was a very kind, very gentle man who had a green thumb and a golden heart. He loved to make people laugh and made people feel at ease. He was very artistic, painting and making music often. He also wrote poetry that described the scenes that played in his head on repeat. I inherited his artistic abilities, his love of music, and the love of creating tapestries with words. I still am told by others that I remind them of him, and I think of it as an honor. He was, and is, my hero.
The exact degree of pain this kind of loss can bring isn’t something that anyone can truly prepare you for, no matter how much they tell you or try to prepare you. However, one thing I saw over and over in conversations I had with people who had encountered similarly difficult things was a desire for more conversation about difficult, taboo, or simply not-talked-about topics. We feel alone and unprepared because no one is sharing their experience with hard things. We are just expected to figure it out on our own.