My Dad Died… Jessica’s story
Year after year it didn’t get any easier. I would sometimes take out his old tape recorders just to remember the sound of his voice.
On a day that should have just been normal and routine, my dad told me heartbreaking news that would change my life forever.
I remember sitting in the dentist office and wondering as to why my dad was acting a little strange, like something was on his mind. At the end of the appointment, we made our way to the elevator. The doors opened and we slowly walked in. As I leaned on the metal railing, he broke the news. In an attempt to keep it together, he had a forced smile plastered on his face, but no one can really hide and pretend that everything will be fine, no matter how hard you try.
“Jessica, I have to tell you something… I went to the doctors office, and they told me I have a tumor…” I can’t even remember what was said after that.
A tumor… At 12, that really means nothing to you. I wasn’t even sure what a tumor was, I just knew it wasn’t good. The rest of the way home was all a blur. All I remember is feeling the heat of the sun beaming on my face, and blankly staring out into the sky.
“My world is over.” I thought to myself, over and over again. Everything stopped. The world seemed to go so slow at that time. It literally felt like everything just paused, and fell into pieces.
The following weeks all seemed to go by so slow. His health was rapidly deteriorating, and each day was filled with uncertainty. Each phone call, each hospital visit, each time I would step into my house, I would never know what to expect. Hope quickly dwindled and I had to force myself to embrace what my reality might be.
It was about three years after my mom and I moved to the U.S. that he passed away.
My entire family was thousands of miles away, leaving only my mom and I to depend on each other. You would think that his passing would bring us closer; however it only drifted us apart even further. My mom began to work more and more just to make ends meet. She tried to stay strong, but I would find her crying every now and then. At one point I found her folding his clothes in the closet, but I guess it just reminded her too much of him so she began to break down and cry. I hated being home; home only reminded me of him. It reminded me of what it’s like to “live” (didn’t really feel like living) without him.
Once the reality of losing my father settled in, I began to feel very angry. I felt unsafe and insecure. I would find myself having trouble sleeping at night. I cried myself to sleep, and would sometimes cry when I would first wake up just because I missed seeing him and hearing his voice every morning. As time passed on by, I began to feel more and more empty inside; I felt like I didn’t have much to look forward to. I envied every girl that had a father. They all had a dad to walk them down the aisle and give them away, to watch them walk on graduation day, to watch their kids grow up and tell stories to. All these things I felt was robbed from me and I couldn’t do anything about it but wait for the sadness to go away. I felt like a hollow person inside, like I was just going through the motions of life, but inside I felt dead. Year after year it didn’t get any easier. I would sometimes take out his old tape recorders just to remember the sound of his voice.
My turning point really came about my junior year of high school when I was hanging out with a friend who introduced me to some lovely girls. Each time I was there along with these girls, I felt this overwhelming comfort take over me. I was aware of the many people around me, so I tried to hold back my tears each time. However nothing in me could stop what was happening. Each time I would go back, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I knew that it was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. It wasn’t the same as covering up the pain with other things like alcohol, which I had tried to do. This feeling felt genuine, and surreal, and I began to feel a change within me.
Learning to trust was the key to my healing. I had to open myself up and trust that these friends really did care for me, and that I was in a safe place. Trust is sometimes given away so freely, but once it’s broken it’s never that easy to get back; at least, for me it wasn’t. I had such a fear or allowing anyone in, because I was so afraid of feeling the pain all over again. I began to write down my thoughts, emotions, and my dreams. I kept them all in a journal..
The day after I realized I needed to learn how to trust, I vividly remember walking out to my living room and feeling so at peace. I sat on my couch that faced the window and just stared out in the distance. That feeling of emptiness had left me, and I felt alive again. We hear all the time from people, whether someone tells you or you hear it from someone as you walk by, “I’m so happy!” We see all these definitions of happiness and what it is or what it feels like.
However, I can only tell you that today, and truly mean it when I say, I am happy. Not just happy for now, for an hour, a day, a moment. But I am genuinely happy despite of whatever life brings. The kind of joy that nothing on this earth can rob me from. I no longer feel all the things that I’ve felt before. To say that I am a changed person, would probably be an understatement. As I tell you my story, I can see the girl that I used to be, and who I am now is nothing like who I was.
Life today still isn’t perfect, and I never expect it to be. I still miss him often, and cry when I think of him and moments he is missing out on. Despite it all, I don’t feel fatherless. I feel loved, secure, confident, and filled with purpose. I have hope for the future and I know it’s brigther than I can ever imagine.
I used to be devastated and alone.
Now, I am lovely.