Wilting rose

The growth in loss

Share good news. Ignite change.

This week marked 14 years since my dad died suddenly of a heart attack. 

In the past, I did whatever I could to numb out on this anniversary. But when I’m more present to the loss, I feel deep sadness. He will never know me as an adult. He won’t get to meet my wife or sons. For years, I felt lost and alone without the men supporting me that I desperately needed. On some level, I still can’t totally believe that he’s gone. Every day, I feel his absence.

I also feel fear. Will I go in the same way? Will I get to see my boys grow up? Will I leave them alone without the men they need to support them? If I do go early, am I at peace with my life as it is right now?

But I also feel gratitude. There is no way I’d be the man I am today without this loss. I wouldn’t be nearly as resilient. I wouldn’t feel the same freedom to be my own man. I feel a solidity within me now that could never have come out so strongly and quickly. 

I still can’t believe he’s gone. But more than that, I can’t imagine a version of myself that didn’t walk through this loss. It’s now essential to who I am.

What loss in your life has turned you more into who you really are?

Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *