To the friend who just lost a parent:
I see you there, sunglasses pulled down over your eyes covering the emotion that leaks from behind them.
I ask you how you are, and you say you’re doing OK.
I know that’s probably the answer you give everyone. The easy answer. The acceptable answer. It’s the same answer that rolled off my tongue six years ago because it was so much simpler than the truth.
The truth is, you’re trying to wrap your head around what this life is going to look like without him in it.
Who will you turn to when you need reassurance or someone to talk some sense into you? How can you accept that you’ll never hear his laugh again or see his number on your caller ID?
The finality of losing a parent is impossible to comprehend.
I get it.
I know how hard it is to escape your grief when everything you see reminds you of him.
I know you feel pressure to be strong for those around you, to hold them up even though you can barely keep yourself upright.
I know it hurts the most when you lie in bed at night, or when you’re in the car alone . . . whenever it is that the quiet gives your thoughts a chance to sneak in and consume you.
You wonder if you should have done things differently. You did your best.
You wonder if you were enough. You were.
You wonder if you made him proud. You did.
You think of all the things you’d say to him if you could just have one more conversation . . . What you would have said if you had known it would be your last.
I know the weight sitting on your chest right now.
I asked how you were, and you told me you were doing okay. I hugged you and said I was thinking of you, but what I really should have said was this:
It gets easier.
I know that seems impossible right now, but it’s true.
The pain won’t go away, but it will somehow scab over and become less raw.
There will never come a day when he doesn’t cross your mind, but there will come a time when the hurt is no longer unbearable.
You’ll get past the point where it takes extra effort just to breathe. Past the point where your heart physically aches from the heaviness within.
One day, you’ll laugh again—and mean it.
You’ll feel joy again—and exude it.
You’ll think of him and smile—really, truly smile—because your heart will somehow find the balance between missing him and being grateful for the years you shared.
When a parent leaves this world, they take a piece of you with them. It’s a truth I’ve discovered firsthand, and one that I’m so, so very sorry you’re now learning for yourself.
I want you to know I’m here for you, day or night. To cry to, vent to, or sit in silence with. If you let me, I’ll be by your side every step of this journey.
You’ll never get over this, dear friend . . . but you will get through it.