Coping with the Death of a Parent
My dad was always my best friend. He was always smiling and a genuinely happy person. Come to think of it, minus my sister's and my passion for shopping and habitual tendency to lose things, I never once heard him complain or voice a strong dislike for anything. My dad had this aura about him. He was jolly and loving and he took those wonderful feelings and spread them to those he interacted with -- the real version of Santa Claus, but better. He never lost this joy, even battling terminal lung cancer.
My father was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer my senior year of high school. My sister was only a freshman. When he was given thirteen months to live, my world crumbled underneath my feet. I still remember when my parents sat my sister and me down to tell us. To stop our tears he said that life was not to stop. In order for him to fight we needed to give him reason to live. We were to keep living our lives as normally as possible and keep striving to achieve our goals. I was to still go to college in the fall as planned and if necessary I could come home. As hard as it was at times, laughter and a somewhat normal pace to our lives was one of the best medicines we had.
I lost my father five years after he was diagnosed. He saw my sister graduate from high school and me graduate from college. One is never prepared to lose someone but I kept my promise and managed to keep doing things that made me happy. Of course I cried and mourned, but I also kept my promise to keep living my life, the life he had worked so hard to give me.
My dad will always be present. Every morning I look in the mirror and I see his eyes -- our eyes. It is then that I remember to live with intention and strength. With a smile on my face and happiness in my heart, I carry him with me as I live, laugh and love.