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My father was just 49 when he died at the start of this year; I was 19. My dad had a bad heart condition when he was a child but he hadn’t had any major issues with his heart since his teenage years. The week before my dad passed away he was complaining of not being able to breathe and how he was in an extreme amount of pain, the doctor told him he had a torn muscle, gave him ibuprofen and he left. A few days later my dad died very suddenly due to a heart Aneurysm. That was almost 7 months ago. Everyday is still a struggle for me and there are some days where the mention of his name brings me to a crying state, but most days I try to find positivity in this loss and I have been successful so far.
1. Love is stronger than death.
My relationship with my dad continues. He lives on through my mum, my sister, my brother and I. When I hear Elvis songs, when I notice a John Grisham book being released and win at monopoly, I feel as if we are together. Death cannot separate love.
2. People who are going through the most can often hide it the best.
I hid my loss from people to avoid sympathy, I still do. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a real jokester, and I know my father would not want his death to change this about me. Anybody who has lost a parent knows the feeling when that awkward conversation about family arises and you’re left to speak about only one parent. It’s not that it makes me upset, it’s that I don’t want to explain or make people feel uncomfortable for asking etc. Never guess what somebody is going through; a smile often hides a lot.
3. Mortality is motivating.
I used to be jealous that my mother's parents were both still alive despite the fact that she was almost 50, and I was 19 when I lost one of my parents. I later grew to find it motivating knowing that if I live to their age (which I hope I do) I am only but a quarter of my way through life. I think when we come to terms with death, both metaphorically and literally, we are more courageous and powerful.
4. Death is not the end.
When somebody dies people often find themselves slowly forming a vegetive state and not wanting to leave the house or the bed. When my father died, I was the complete opposite; I continued to work everyday. People often questioned how I was able to do this and asked if it was my way of coping. I’m not sure yet if it was my way of coping, but what I’m sure of is it that my father would not have wanted me to lay in bed all day or cry so much that I can’t feel my face. He would have wanted me to continue on with my life and do everything I had set out to do and most importantly make him proud. My philosophy is that you can allow your life to stop when you lose a parent, or you can move on with the loss.
5. Don’t take anything for granted
Losing my father so suddenly and so young taught me that you don’t know when it could be somebody’s last day. Since my fathers death, I have gotten a much closer bond with my family and friends as I know now there is no time to waste. Do the thing you’ve been putting off for weeks, see your grandmother you haven’t seen for a month, and put in the effort with relationships that matter. Do not go to sleep with a grudge against someone, fix the problem and fix the relationship. We only get one chance at this life, make it count.