We have all heard about there being stages of grief, with the last one being acceptance. Once you do accept that your loved one is gone, what happens from there? I think that maybe “Missing” should be another stage. Even though I have acknowledged that my Dad is gone, I don’t really accept it.
I was there every step of the way throughout my father’s battle with mesothelioma. I saw him suffer, go through physical and emotional trials, and ultimately be taken by this disease. Even though I know what happened, it doesn’t make his death any easier to digest.
Although I still grieve for Dad every day, I think that now I miss him more than at first. In the days and weeks after his passing, I was still in shock, trying to figure out what had happened. How could he really be gone? I was still expecting him to walk through the door, smile, and say that it was all a big misunderstanding and that he was going to be fine.
A profound loss is a lot to process. Once I had a chance to really understand what had happened, I started to really miss Dad. I miss his laugh, his stories, his way of making even the biggest challenges seem like nothing. I miss him at family events, at weddings, on holidays. It’s a different type of grief that will never go away.
Knowing that my father no longer has to bear the agony of mesothelioma does bring me comfort. I know that he is in a better place with no more pain or suffering. Even though I understand that with all of my being, I still miss him. Maybe it’s selfish of me, but I would give anything for him to be here to see my daughter. I would love to hear his laugh and have him tell me, one more time, that he loves me and that everything is going to be ok.
Grieving for someone that you love is a long and bitter undertaking. It is a journey that we each have to take in our own way. For me, it is now easier for me to look back and laugh at things that Dad and I did together. Now, I can see these things as fond memories, not painful ones. These recollections deserve to be greeted with a heart full of happiness, not an empty ache.
I will always look back on my Dad’s life and wonder why it couldn’t have been longer. He was taken from us far too soon. However, I know that he would rather us all be happy and think of him with a smile. Even though I’ll always miss my father, I pray that we’ll meet again someday.