A little over a year ago, I lost my father unexpectedly. My oldest son was just over two years old, and my youngest was only five months old.
Losing him has not only been hard for me because, well he was my dad, but it has also been extremely hard because of my boys. My dad loved my boys more than anything. It really hurts me that he will never get to watch them grow. He won’t ever get to see all of their milestones.
And unfortunately, even though my oldest still remembers him, as the years go on, he will slowly start to forget him. I mean, he is still very young. And my youngest will never know who he was- period.
I think that knowing that my dad isn’t here for them hurts just as much as losing him in the first place.
Grieving has been tough. It has really taught me a lot.
It has definitely been a challenge, especially since I have children. While I want my boys to know that it is okay to be upset sometimes, they are still very young, and I do not want them to see me so upset ALL of the time.
Now that is has been over a year since I lost my dad, I am able to sit here and write this without it tearing me apart. But that wasn’t always the case.
I have struggled with my mental health over the past year since he passed away. It has been an extremely hard time for me.
Being an adult is exhausting. Being a parent is exhausting. Grieving is exhausting. It all begins to take a toll on you.
As an adult, you are expected to go through all of these hard times in life, and still be able to get up and go to work every day. Still come home and take care of your family.
Life broke me down. It all got to be too much. As I started to let my emotions take over, it became very hard for my family to even be around me. I came home from work miserable and I would just lay on the couch and cry every day. That was my life.
I will admit it. It was a very dark period of my life. And it went on for several months.
At my lowest, I finally realized that I was not okay. I also realized that it wasn’t fair to my husband or my boys. What kind of example was I setting for my kids?
Even being so upset over losing my dad, I realized that I was even more upset with myself. How could I let things get so bad?
Mental health has become very important to me. Your mental health is just as important as physical health.
While it was very hard to put myself back together, I realized that I needed to make a change. You get wrapped up in all of this misery and you have to be able to break the cycle.
I realized that I had a problem- and I got help.
I lost someone who meant the world to me way too soon. Why would I want to live each day locked in my bedroom, not spending time with my kids, and not taking advantage of the time that I have left with loved ones?
Losing my dad a lot sooner than I ever imagined has made me realize how quickly everything in your life can change. You can’t live each day being miserable. You just can’t.
Now, am I saying that you aren’t allowed to be upset? No. Can you have your bad days? Of course! But you can’t get comfortable in those bad times.
I one hundred percent think that you are allowed to have emotions and express those emotions. If you are having a bad day, take some time to let it all out. You can be as upset as you want to be, but you can’t let yourself live in that mindset.
You have to be able to find that balance between being there for you kids, and also being there for yourself. As hard as it can be sometimes, you still have to pick yourself up each morning and carry on with your normal life. Your kids need you.
But, you also have to remember that you need to give yourself some time alone too. You need to find a time that you can let all of those emotions out without it effecting your kids.
I have had friends and family there for me when I needed to talk, and I even went to a few counseling sessions- and it really helped out a lot. But, that doesn’t help you at night when a memory pops in your head, or when a show or song reminds you of the loved one who passed away.
I have learned that taking a drive really helps. My husband would watch the boys and I would take a drive by myself. And a lot of times that would even just consist of me driving to town at ten o’clock at night to get us some milkshakes. I would listen to certain songs that were my “depressing songs” as I call them and just cry it out!
And I know that it sounds super cliché, but crying in the shower really helped me too. And it still does!
It is important to do what makes you happy too. Take a family trip. Read a book. Take a relaxing bath. Even just sit on your front porch and drink a cup of coffee. Whatever it is that makes you feel good.
I have also learned that my boys will always be there to cheer me up.
To say that I don’t ever cry in front of my kids now would be a lie. It still happens every now and then. And that is okay!
My oldest son will usually give me a hug, tell me that I am “the best mommy ever”, and then I reel my emotions back in.
My boys are my support system. And I can honestly say that if I didn’t have my boys, grieving would have been even harder for me. We are all human. And though, as adults we are not perfect, our children think that we are. They look up to us. Let them help you make it through your bad days.