I jumped on my computer this morning to start off my workday as usual. I opened Facebook and was hit with a bunch of notifications. As I scrolled down I saw my Dad’s name pop up. In September it will be five years since my Dad passed away.
Facebook wanted to let me know that it had been 7 years since we became friends. I wasn’t expecting it! Seeing his name and a picture out of the blue stopped me in my tracks.
I honestly find grief one of the hardest things to write and talk about. It is so incredibly personal to me, and still very real. I recognize now it probably always will be. But I’m going to give it a go, because I know that grief is something we all have to deal with someday. I am far from the only one.
Here are 5 things I have learned about grief in 5 years since I lost my Dad:
1. You will learn to live without them
It may seem disheartening some days, but your life will go on, and you owe it to your loved one to make the most of it. They would want you to be happy and continue to strive and grow into the greatest version of yourself.
There is an adjustment period, but you will get used to your new normal. As human’s we are designed to adjust and grow, and we do. Once grief has knocked you sideways, you will find a way to get back up and start standing again on your own two feet.
Know that the firsts are generally the hardest. Your first birthday without speaking to them, the first Christmas they’re not there to share with you…there will be a good number of them.
There isn’t a set timeline to how long it takes you to learn to live without someone. Some days it feels easy, some days it feels so hard. Above all else, be gentle with yourself as you pick yourself back up.
2. Memorable moments with loved ones are what make life worth living
Modern life is incredibly busy, and many of us are running on what can feel like a hamster wheel at times. Don’t forget to slow down and enjoy those who you love dearly.
Prioritize fun and relaxation with those you care the most about. Create a sense of adventure and do things that are out of the ordinary. Make sure you create a life full of precious memories.
Money doesn’t buy us happiness. We find it in our joy-filled moments with others. When you lose someone close, you will never regret having invested heavily in your shared memory bank account.
3. Everything they taught you still exists inside of you
My Dad was perhaps my biggest cheerleader in life. He was optimistic and believed in big dreams. He taught me how to get into a mindset that made me unstoppable if I really wanted something.
Since losing him, it absolutely feels like there is something missing. In the moments when I want to share my achievements or need a little boost, he’s not there to turn to.
You learn new ways to be because you have to. No one could replace the role my father played in my life … it was his. Grief has required me to step into my own power and embrace all the lessons he instilled in me. I recognize that everything that he taught me still lives on inside of me and I can call on those skills when I need them.
4. There are lessons you can learn from your grief
Even in grief, there are blessings. If you stop to reflect on what your grief can teach you, you will find there are precious lessons about life to be found.
Losing my Dad has helped me focus on what I really want out of life. It has helped me recognize first hand that life is short – nothing is guaranteed. I see now that time is an all important currency, and I want to invest my days in things that matter to me.
I believe my grief has also helped me to become far more empathetic than I was. When you have experienced heartache you move from an intellectual understanding of inner pain, to a heart-based understanding. You feel people more. I believe it has allowed me to show up and be much more real with others who are going through any sort of inner pain.
5. You will miss them forever, but that is only one part of your story
I will forever miss my Dad. It’s true that some days I won’t think of him at all. Grief doesn’t have to consume you or define you. Yet there are other days where my grief can seem to sneak up on me and still hit me like a freight train out of nowhere. After 5 years it is still the same, and I have learned to accept that my missing him will never go away.
There is a wound in me that will never completely heal, but that doesn’t mean I am broken. Rather, I like to think of grief as a crack in my hard shell that lets the light into my heart. It is a place of vulnerability inside me that I truly believe just makes me more human. Most days are good, and some days I am just sad, and that is what being human entails.
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Hi. I’m Kate Snowise. I’m a Life Coach and host of the Here to Thrive Podcast. I help people get clear on what they want, need and crave, and then helps them take the steps to move towards that.
I believe life is about more than surviving and being good enough. Each of us truly has the ability to thrive and live a beautiful, aligned life where we remember and connect with our authentic selves. I have an MSc in Psychology (the positive kind that concentrates on what is right with you). To read more about my signature coaching program The Thriving Life Project click here.