Death of a Parent Grief

Life After Death – Remembering My Father

Life After Death - Remembering My Father
Written by Allison Costa

Today is the one-year anniversary of my father leaving this life. I remember those horrible freezing cold weeks from last year as if they were a dream.  It was the coldest ice storm that Texas had seen in about seven years.  It was depressing and yet fitting that the earth should mourn my father’s life the same way that I was.  My older children had lice, our washing machine broke, and all of my kids got food poisoning from a cub scout banquet.  Three days after his passing was my wedding anniversary and my husband and I both  cried, saying that we would laugh later – that on our eleventh anniversary we were cleaning up puke, combing out lice, and trying to change our spring break plans to accommodate a funeral.  My sweet middle child turned six on the day of my fathers viewing. We went to the beach that morning and had cake and presents late that night. I know it sounds odd, but the juggling of the normal with the surreal is all that helped me survive.

It happened so quickly and unexpectedly, that it truly has taken all of this last year to process. The pain and the loss still feels so fresh and so raw that I find myself sobbing out of nowhere.  At times my heart still doesn’t quite accept that he is gone.  For months after he passed I would still text his phone with funny comments and little quips that were part of our every day banter.   I keep our last text messages saved on my phone as a treasure and could kick myself for all of the texts and voicemails that I erased.  Last year on my birthday in July, ironically, I found an old voicemail of him calling and singing happy birthday to my son Talon.  It was so good to hear his voice but I was racked with sobs for a while.  Death is like that.  It is a thief that sneaks up on you again and again–even after what you love has been stolen you can still feel the loss so intently months and years later.

Six months before my dad died I gave birth to my sixth child.  My water broke at  9:30 pm on my kids’ second day of school.  I planned to drive myself to the birthing center and have my husband meet me there, but my father insisted upon taking me.  I could tell how nervous he was as we drove in semi-silence.  I remember assuring him that we would make it with plenty of time. He told me he wasn’t worried, even though I could see his knuckles white with fear on the steering wheel.

After he passed this memory became so special. My father driving me, his sixth child, to deliver her sixth child. How poignant. I know that my baby girl, Cosette, will not remember her Papa at all.  Sadly, most of my children will not remember him.  But I am so incredibly grateful that he got to meet all of them.  If the weeks during his rapid illness and decline in the hospital taught me anything, it is gratitude. In my fathers death – somehow I also found the joy of life.  I found the importance of knowing that each moment—for good or bad—could be someone’s last impression of you.  Or yours of them. So take the pictures.  Give the hugs.  Realize that “this too shall pass.”  Know that the child who will not sleep in their own bed, potty train or give up their binki, eventually will. Put forth the extra effort even when it isn’t convenient. Say what you need to say. Be better.  Be kinder.  Forgive often.  Let go.  Smile. Laugh. Cry.


Know that your life is enough just the way it is and don’t waste anymore time wishing away the monotony of your days, or the simplicity of your relationships.

About the author

Allison Costa

Allison Costa is a stay at home mom to six young kids, ages 10,8,7,5,3, and 18 months. She grew up in Florida, went to college in Utah and has since moved around quite a bit, but is currently settled in a small Texas town. Her background includes degrees in English and Political Science, but truly her heart will always be in dancing, writing and her family. She is a lover of all things super hero and comic book in nature, the beach, root beer and chocolate covered cinnamon bears despite being a fitness fanatic.


  • Beautifully written! Sorry for your loss, but I do feel a lot of the same emotions. My mom passed away about 19 months ago and most of my kids won’t remember her. My youngest wasn’t even born yet. But there are random little memories that mean so much more now that she has passed. Hugs!
    And I feel like we are ships passing in the night! I grew up in Utah, but now live in Florida, but I have lived in Texas. How crazy is that??

    • Stephanie–how funny! I bet somewhere along the way we know some of the same people. I loved growing up in Fl, college in Utah was great and we have been loving Texas. I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. I know in just a few years I will lose my mom as well and that will be so incredibly hard. We often talk about more children but I kind of love that my dad at least got to meet all of my children before he left this life. But who knows. Thank you for your kind words!

  • So sorry for your loss and living in grief myself, I completely understand how the monotony of your days in the beginning get you through and how that sorrow creeps up unexpectedly. Beautifully written.

    • Meg, I am so sorry for your loss as well. Losing a parent is so different than other losses isn’t it? I lost my brother to a car accident when I was 22, and I have lost grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends as well. But somehow the loss of a parent is just different. Sending you hugs during your time of grief and i hope that you are able to cherish your beautiful memories as well.

  • So beautiful. It was so wonderful to read your touching tribute to your relationship with your father. The last sentence is definitely going down in my life quote book. Thanks

    • Thank you Kelli! It has definitely been a year of life lessons and growing for me, but also filled with lots of beautiful moments of memory and joy.