Dealing with dad's death

My dad passed away from leukemia. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what actually happened. He was in the hospital for so long and battled the cancer for almost my whole life. My mom, younger sisters and I are a wreck. A bunch of my friends are saying stuff like, "He's always here, but you do need to get over it and stop crying."

Do you have any tips that will help me and my family get through this tough time? I am surrounded by friends, but I was wondering if there is anything I can do to help my mom, my sisters...and myself.

Hey girl,

I am so sorry to hear about your father—my condolences to your family because I know that’s tough. Two years ago, I lost my cousin in a car accident, and there are still moments, even today, where it hurts. Know that it's OK and perfectly normal to feel the way you do. The loss of a loved one is always sad; it’s just about channeling that sadness into positive energy that will help you get through it. Celebrate the memory of that person and realize they’ll always love you. I’ve got a few suggestions that helped me with my cousin. I hope they do the same for your fam.

P.S. I love you

After my cousin died, a bunch of people wrote on his Facebook wall with comments about how much he meant to them. Seeing that outpouring of love showed me that the impact of his life can and will remain. And for me, writing on his wall helped to let out the feelings I had been holding back. My suggestion for you and your fam is to do just that: Take an evening and write a letter to your dad about how you feel. It was definitely hard for me when it came to my cuz, but putting those feelings on paper, sealing them away and putting them somewhere he could “see” them—be it with flowers by his grave or an e-mail in his inbox—really helped me get through the grieving process. It was letting go of the pain—the first step to moving forward.

A new kind of family

Know that even in the most horrible events there is always a silver lining. For me and my family, the loss of our cousin strengthened our relationship and brought us closer together. My advice is to take advantage of that new bond. You, your mom and your sisters are all going through this together and feel the same way. So, plan something fun so you can bond and seize the day. Fun trips act as a reminder of the joy you can feel together. After the excursion, have a heart-to-heart. Be sure to let your mom and sisters know if they ever need someone to talk about your dad with, you’d be happy to hear them out. Those convos can be comforting to both you and your fam. Focus on sharing the good times you had with your dad. He may be gone, but he'll never be forgotten.

Friends who don't understand

I'm so sorry to hear that your friends are telling you to "get over it." Please know that it's OK to cry and let it out. You could try to write some of your pals a note telling them how hard this is for you and how you would really like their support. I know it's frustrating. Since your friends didn't go through the same thing, they don't quite get it. If you feel overwhelmed in school and your buds aren't cutting it as an outlet, please see a school counselor. This way, you can vent AND they can hook you up with even more tools to come to peace with this.

Time heals

Death is always a tricky thing, but know with time things do get better. While life may never be quite the same, there is light at the end of this tunnel and some positives. For me and my family, this horrible tragedy has made us closer than ever. During tense moments, we share the good times we had with our cuz. It definitely takes time to get there, but you and your fam can do it! Continue to talk to your buds and remember that you’re not going through this alone. Lean on your family and friends for support, focus on the good times you had with your father and do activities with your fam that bring you closer together. The result? More smiles and a bond your dad would be proud of. Stay strong and positive, girl! You can do this.

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by Alyssa B. | 2/1/2016