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An Open Letter to Anyone Who Has Lost a Parent

Dear Friend,

First, I want you to know that this is probably one of hardest letters I’ve ever had to write.

I write to you in hopes of offering you support and letting you know that you are not alone.  Losing a parent at a young age is a tragedy. For me, that tragic day was on October 22, 2015 when I lost my father to stage-four pancreatic cancer. He was 61 years old and I had just started my third year of university. I remember going home from the hospital that evening without him and it felt like I was in a nightmare where my world had just collapsed before my eyes. A piece of my soul was taken from me and I did not know how to survive without it. All I thought was that it wasn’t fair I didn’t get enough time with him. He didn’t get the chance to see me graduate, walk me down the aisle, or see his grandchildren. So I grieve because I loved my father so deeply, and that is the price I’ve had to pay for a love so wonderful. I now know one of the deepest pains a person can feel.

So for someone who has also lost a parent at such a pivotal time in my life, I want to tell you that I am incredibly sorry for your loss and that you are not alone. I know that what you’ve gone through has probably changed you forever. But it is important to grieve. Grieving allows you to understand the pain endured from such a big loss. I won’t lie: I didn’t deal with my loss in a very healthy way, but I’m learning and that is part of the process, too. All I can say is there is no time limit when it comes to grieving; we aren’t programmed to all grieve the same way either, so my experience may look different from yours and that is perfectly fine, too.

I can only advise you not to neglect your reality because life has to go on at some point. What I’ve always kept in mind is that my dad wanted to see me succeed and I only wanted to make him proud. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about him and that is okay, too. Eleven months later, I still remember every detail. I always remember, and I always will. Some days I feel so overwhelmed and I am easily triggered by the simplest reminders of my dad, like running into a friend of his at the grocery store or driving by his favourite spots in town. So remember you will have good days and you will have bad days and that is part of grieving. It is the price of loving so deeply.

Lastly, I want you to know that you are not alone and there are many of us who know your struggle. I hope that you may make peace with it, find your happiness, and then gain the strength to carry on again.

All my love and tears,


Dhouha is a fourth-year student at the University of Windsor majoring in Women's and Gender Studies with a minor in History. Dhouha is a dual citizen of Tunisia and Canada, currently living in Windsor, Ontario. She is a writer & editor for HerCampus at UWindsor. Dhouha describes herself as a free-spirited social butterfly who is chasing every little thing her heart desires. In the future, she wishes to pursue an MA and a PhD. in Gender Studies.
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