The growth in loss

Wilting rose

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?

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