How one GL girl is dealing with loss in a positive light
When my friend Jessica's dad Robert was struck by a vehicle on a morning run, her world was instantly turned upside down.
Not only has she been grieving the loss of her father, but she has also lost him tragically during a worldwide pandemic—a time of great uncertainty. While times are tough, she has decided to focus on how she can make her father proud as well as how she can help others going through similar situations.
Jessica and her father were inseparable and did everything together. Losing him has taken a toll not only on Jessica, but on her mom, brothers and their entire community. Jessica's dad was a selfless, loving, generous and hardworking man whom everybody looked up to and admired.
I was able to check in with Jessica and ask her what has helped her the most during this time—how she gets up every day and is able to find positive moments in this dark time.
Her main coping mechanism: opening up to family and friends for support. The love from others in her family and social circle has kept her going. While many times social media is a good way to communicate, she has decided to take a break from these overstimulating apps. Instead, simple gestures like receiving a letter or old-fashioned phone call have meant the world to her. She is also taking online summer classes, including chemistry and microbiology, and keeping herself busy with healthy activities such as running, biking and going on nature walks. She's also an advocate for therapy —and believes that therapy can really work if you give it a chance.
Also, her mom has suprised her with a brand new cockapoo, Charlie Bo, named in honor of her dad because that was the phrase he always used. Since the family was not able to have a funeral or shiva (a way to celebrate the life of a loved one in the Jewish tradition), they have been considering other ways to gather when the virus is over. They are hoping to honor her dad's legacy by planning a fundraiser including her family and close friends of her dad's.
What advice would Jessica give someone who is grieving? Most importantly, she highlighted to me how important it is to express emotions and to cry. She is going through the waves of grief and with that comes both good and bad days. She also emphasized that it is okay to not be okay at all times.
She believes that nobody owes anything to anyone and healing takes time. While talking to Jess, we went on to discuss the value of checking in on others especially during these times. Everyone grieves and handles hard situations differently, and no matter how someone is grieving, checking in goes a long way.
While Jess is in pain now, she is realizing that the pain might be even greater in a year or even five years down the road. Although the pain may never fully heal, she knows that she needs to keep her head up and stay positive through her tragic loss. She is an inspiration to both myself and many others because rather than going down a dark path, she is deciding to handle this situation with grace and maturity to move towards her bright future.
Life isn't fair, but it is how you choose to handle the obstacles thrown your way that define you and your situation.
I have tried to write out the proper words, however, there are truly no words for a loss this devastating. All I can say is that I am absolutely heartbroken. We all are. It’s been nearly 3 weeks without a ‘good morning sunshine’ or a ‘goodnight, I love you’ and every day just gets harder. I loved my dad more than anyone. He was my role model, confidant, biggest fan, and very best friend. He always believed in me and would do anything to make me happy. He spoiled me rotten, not just with gifts, but with all the love, attention, and support in the world. He made me laugh no matter how dull a situation was and It breaks my heart to think that I may never laugh or smile the way I did when I was around him. Robert Meyers was the epitome of what a man, friend, husband, and father should be. He was hilarious, kind, courageous, caring, and somehow humble in the loudest way. He put everyone before himself, always doing the right thing no matter the situation. I will forever be proud to say that he is my father. I would not be the person I am today without him. He taught me all of life’s important lessons. He helped me overcome the many obstacles and challenges that have come my way, always making the best of any situation. He taught me to stand up for myself and what I believe in. He taught me what true love is. The way he looked at my mom is the way I hope to be looked at one day. He taught me how to work hard but also to take time and enjoy life and everything it offers. I know now more than ever that life is too short. He won’t get to see his children grow up or live out his life with my mother. He won't get to see me graduate from college, walk me down the aisle, or meet his grandchildren. While the heartache will always be there I will try and be strong for him. I will do everything in my power to make him proud. He may not be here with me but he will always be in my heart. Remember that life is unfair and unpredictable. Try and stop worrying about tomorrow and enjoy today. Take an extra moment to tell your loved ones how your day was, hug them tight, and tell them you love them. Keep on running Dad. I will always be your little girl. I love you forever❤