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I’m going to share a story about my Dad. I’m not sure where to begin; however, I find myself wanting to begin at the end.

My Dad passed away on November 1, 2010. It was unexpected. It was absolutely devastating. It was the most heartbreaking and soul crushing event of my life. My Dad checked out on his own terms, and made the decision to take his life.

It has taken me over 7 years to say this (or in this case, type it) out loud, without taking a pause, and without collapsing into my tears immediately after saying it.

My Dad was larger than life. He was always the most charming person in the room, and had a smile that immediately put anyone at ease. Why would he do this?  Why didn’t he know that his family would’ve helped him through anything? Why would he leave us like this?

The truth is that I’ll never get answers to these questions. Over the years, I’ve learned that trying to find the answers keeps me stuck in this very painful part of my grief. It’s kept me from remembering the happy times. Although, I’m not quite there yet and willingly recalling happy memories, recently I have found myself enjoying things that remind me of my Dad, and then I’ll find myself in a happy memory. Just like that, I’ve finally found myself smiling when my Dad comes to mind, instead of crying.

My reason for sharing this is because I felt a strong urge to remind the world that your grief journey is completely yours. It’s unique, and your grief might look differently than mine. Sure, there are parallels, and some things have the ability to trigger anyone’s grief.

I remember beating myself up for a very long time because I wasn’t “over it” yet. I would be in a puddle of tears and unable to leave my bedroom. All I wanted was to feel better. All I wanted was to stop feeling, and stop missing my Dad.

The truth is that my Dad created half of me. I’m like him in many ways, and I looked up to him. He was more than my Dad. I modeled so many things in my life after him. He was an idol. When he died, he took a big part of me with him. At least that’s what it felt like.

At times, especially in the beginning, it felt like half of my soul was gone. It took me years to realize that it wasn’t. I was just hurting. I was in pain and I was just lost in grief. All these years later, the fog has lifted and I can see that. I wasn’t a shell of my former self, and I’m still here. I’m right here.

I will always miss my Dad, but I’m happy to share that my grief no longer consumes me. I was lost in my sadness for so long and wondering when it would finally be over, that I now realize that the healing was happening. I didn’t know it, but it was. Time just has to take its course, and everyone’s grief journey is different.

I love my Dad. I find different ways to honor him, and I take comfort in knowing that the happy moments I find myself recalling today, will turn into full-blown memories that I will openly share with anyone who wants to know about my Dad.

Thank you.

-Kelly
Kelly Drouet-Hill
Kelly is a former program consultant in Applied Behavior Analysis, and has a Masters Degree in Special Education. Currently, she is a stay at home mom and wife trying to navigate this new stage in life.  In addition, she’s exploring the world of freelance writing and grief support. She has been navigating grief since 2010 and would like to find a way to help others.

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