Losing someone to mesothelioma changes your life in a million ways. One way, in particular for me, was how my family looked at itself without Dad. Dad was the steady, kind, thoughtful presence who always put others before himself. Trying to redefine who we are as a unit was a daunting task; I kept trying to picture life going on without him and was unsuccessful.
In the days following Dad’s death, I felt like I was walking through a fog. I knew that it was real, I knew that we were planning my father’s funeral, but I still couldn’t face it. People came to the house and brought meals, cards, and anything they thought we may need; their generosity seemed boundless, but I couldn’t bring myself to properly thank them. I tried to smile when people greeted me, but all I could see was the sorrow in their eyes; they had lost a friend as well.
I was given a lot of encouragement from people who truly didn’t know what to say. I felt as though it was hard for people to see me; in a way, it probably was. What words can befit the loss of a parent? Still, I appreciated their outpouring of love and support, even though I wasn’t sure I wanted to accept it. I felt like if I did, it would make everything more real.
I will never forget one of my dear friends, who also sadly lost a parent, coming to the viewing. She told me that she wasn’t going to sugar-coat anything for me and that things were going to be terribly difficult. The change in my life would impact me at every moment of every day. She told me that I would miss my Dad at both major life events and during normal happenings but that she would be there for me, as would all my friends and family.
Our conversation has stuck with me, and I honestly think that speaking with her that night made me realize that I had to consent to this path that God was leading my family down. Hiding from the fact that my Dad had passed away would hold me back from living my life as fully as I could, and from working to help others in the mesothelioma community.
Allowing something positive to come from my Dad’s illness is exactly what he would have wanted. He would have wanted his family to continue to work to be a positive influence in any way we were able and to support this cause as much as possible.
For my family, the best way to honor Dad is to share his story of faith with others. I feel truly blessed to have this platform to do just that. Thank you for listening to our story.
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