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Losing a Father

Father’s Day can be a difficult time for those of us who have lost our fathers, but Lynne Cobb reminds us that with the love and support of others, we’ll get through it. Read more from Lynne on her blog

Losing a Father

“I am going to need you to help me through this,” was the message my sister-in-law sent to me in a text.

We’ve been through a lot together – she’s been in our family over 30 years. We’ve had some great times, and she knows I would never tell her no – unless she wanted to do something illegal. But, oh, I so wanted to tell her, “No, I can’t help you this time.”

Problem is, I have the experience to help her. And I wish I didn’t. She wishes she didn’t need my help. But she does.

She is now part of the club. The club we didn’t ever want to join. The club that has the most expensive membership of all. The dues are high – no one wants to pay them. No one wants entry into the “My Dad Died Club.”

My dad died sixteen months before her dad. Both of our dads died due to complications of Alzheimer’s disease. That life-sucking, memory-killing, obnoxious, horrid, dreaded stupid disease took down two good guys that we loved dearly. She watched us suffer and she supported us. We watched her suffer and we supported her. Our families are like so many others these days, witnessing this awful disease and its devastation.

So when she called me, crying, and asking me to help her, my heart was breaking. Of course I would be there for her. This awful Club is big – and gets bigger every year. I had plenty of friends that were there for me, guiding me and listening to my stories and just being a presence as I grieved – and continue to grieve.

I will be there for her, because I know what she will go through, and it won’t be easy.

She will experience a wide range of emotions, and it shouldn’t surprise her to laugh and cry at the same time, though she will think she’s lost it.

She will smile at his memory, and cry when she hears his favorite song – sometimes simultaneously.

Her birthday will never be the same. Nor will his.

The first year of holidays will be difficult to get through, but she will do so for her children.

Father’s Day will be difficult.

The anniversary of his passing will sting. She may relive each and every moment, not because she wants to remember the suffering, but because those moments, as hard as they were, are the last precious minutes she spent with him. And difficult though they may be, she will savor the memory.

She will see a gray-haired gentleman and look for her dad.

She will turn to ask him something, and then she will cry.

Her days will feel empty. Her heart will feel heavy.

The best advice I received regarding the grief process was from a dear friend. She gently said, “You can’t go around it; you just have to go right through it.”

My sister-in-law will get through it with the help of those who’ve been there. We will love her and support her when she is a sobbing mess one minute… and back to her usual self the next.

We seasoned Club members will pray for her. We will hurt for her.

We will get it when she calls her dad, “Daddy.”

We will understand why she wants to talk about him. And we will encourage her to continue to talk to him.

We will understand her needing time to process this great loss. And we know it may never make any sense.

We know that, even though she won’t believe it today, that each day makes one a little bit stronger.

We will encourage her to cry, and tell her stupid jokes to make her laugh.

We know she will survive, because so far, we have.

We know she is stronger than she thinks she is, because when we were told we were strong, we didn’t believe it, either.

We know that when it is her time to comfort someone who enters the Club, she will do so with grace. It will be hard, because she will remember her own hurt. She will cry for the new member, because she knows their pain.

But she will love and guide her friend, because that is what we Club members do.

And our dads would be proud.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

Lynne Cobb

Lynne is a professional writer and blogger, with articles and essays published in local dailies and national publications. She is blessed with a supportive husband and family, who encourage her in all her endeavors. Check out Lynne's blog <a href="http://lynnecobb.com">Midlife Random Ramblings</a>, where you will also find links to recently published works.

Carol Graham

Thursday 25th of February 2016

Thi was beautifully done in every way. My heart hears your cry. I lost both my parents and other family members and there are so many triggers to the pain. But we get through, somehow and learn a lot in the process.

kat

Thursday 25th of February 2016

loved the article on losing your dad. being the first child, I was his favorite - would make my mother mad. anyway, he was a person of many talents, always there for others, helped where he could, was an upstanding citizen, and a fireman! everyone loved him when he died, we were devasted, because we had just lost my sister, a few months before. it broke his heart when she died, and seemed part of him did too. I remember he was concerned about taking care of mom, so my brother and I promised him we would.

now, after losing sister, father, and mother 4 yrs ago, it seems to my brother and I were are orphans - neither of us have really gotten over the losses. I still cant stand to hear Taps (dad was a marine), nor Amazing Grace or Hawaiian Wedding Song (my mother's), and sister's, well that was Patsy Clines "crazy". all in all, its been 10 yrs and we still cry and miss them so terribly. We dont have a light to guide us anymore, its gone out and we're in the dark. when you loose your parents, especially, the "whole being", the core, of the family is gone, and somehow you drift apart.

so thanks for sharing, and words of encouragement, just wish we could get over our deep feeling of loss and abandonment. maybe someday, we go one with our lives, but it isnt the same - holidays especially, have lost something very special, I dont even put up a tree anymore, brother doesnt make the family eggnog anymore - no reason.

its very hard to loose a person or a pet but I dont think as hard as a parent. But its part of life, and each deals in their own way, some never do. It is nice when you find someone who does understand, and can sympathize - somehow it helps for a time.

Lynne

Thursday 25th of February 2016

I am so very sorry for the losses in your family. It is hard. Do you have a support network? Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Bob Wonnacott

Thursday 18th of June 2015

Terrific story, Lynne. Thanks for posting. Although I joined "the Club" during my early teenage days (some 55 years ago), I still have moments on Father's Day. I am glad you wrote this. It reminds us to help others who are new to "the Club", as that first year can be traumatic and overwhelming.

Lynne

Saturday 20th of June 2015

It is rough but as time goes on it gets a little easier. Hope you enjoy Father's Day with your beautiful family!

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