Loss, the Toughest Pill to Swallow

It has been 3 months since the death of my father in November. It has been one of the most difficult experiences in my life to try and cope with loss. One of the most important pieces to my puzzle is missing, and I am completely broken. The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult things to deal with in life. There are many ups and downs to life after loss. Sometimes it’s like staying in bed out of pure sadness, and other days bring random bursts of energy to do spontaneous things you love. Grieving loss during and after a loved one’s death is the toughest pill to swallow. It happens in stages, and then the process restarts itself all over again. Here is my story, and I hope it helps one of you.


My father had congestive heart failure, but in 2014 he got an LVAD (or artificial heart) which he was able to live with for some time. For 6 years there were frequent doctors’ visits for maintenance, appointments, and occasional setbacks. My dad was living somewhat normally. He had seen everything from my sibling’s weddings, graduations and the whole 9 yards! He planned on seeing it all. I was so excited for him to see me head off to college; however, life had other plans.


After going to the hospital after a setback, my father was able to get a heart transplant. This would seem like a joyous occasion of course, but after the surgery, everything was fine except for my father’s brain. My father suffered a stroke during the process of his heart transplant, and he was no longer himself. Then he had another setback after throwing up and losing oxygen. The brain needs oxygen to function, after so long it’s beyond the body's control.


The process of seeing my father’s health decline was the worst of them all. Hearing my mother get calls every day while my father was on life support was torture. It was awful wondering if my dad wasn’t going to wake up, or if some biblical miracle would make him okay again. The many hospital visits of doctors telling me what we already knew, wasting our time, and being insensitive to our family was infuriating. This part of grief is one of the most trying because of how fresh it is. Finally came the day where my dad was taken off of life support, and I saw him take his last breath. I gave him the rundown, the speech of how grateful I was for him and then it was his time. This was a painful experience that I am still struggling with to this day.


Then came the funeral. My dad was loved by many, and that was clear. But this whole process was no longer about him. Grief opens your mind to many things, especially the people who are for you and who really aren’t. The people that truly love you genuinely will be there, and they love you with no strings attached. There are so many people that tell you that they care for you, but their actions do not reflect that. Then there are people that come into your life momentarily and act as if they are there in the long run. Those people reveal themselves and letting them go helps in the grieving process. After sorting through negativity, the most important thing was to always remember the purpose, and that was to honor my father.


Luckily, I was able to celebrate in the best way possible with my siblings and send my dad off in style. We sang, danced, hugged, cried, and most of all we lived for my father. Evidently, that’s what he would have wanted. Living is all that he did, and that what I hope for in the future.


Losing someone is not a walk in the park. It is not something that a person can just shake off, but in the end, talking about it can really get you through. The journey to repairing my mental health will be a long one. With my father dying, it feels like something died in me. The truth is, sometimes it feels like nothing died because my father’s spirit will always live inside me.