The Beauty in Grief & the Meaning of Life

It was with great loss that I learned the meaning of life…for me. 

For the worse part of 2022 I was stuck in a mode of grief, I lost my father suddenly to a heart attack in July. He went to bed one night and never woke up. It was one of those moments I will remember for the rest of my life. 

For whatever reason I couldn’t sleep (weird how the universe works in ways to tell you something is wrong), I rolled over about 2 am and checked my phone. I had multiple missed calls from both my mom and my sister. I knew something was off, so I called my mom immediately. She told me my dad had something resembling a heart attack while he was asleep, she called 911 they worked for over 45 minutes to bring him back….but he was gone. Just like that. Gone. So many things I would never get to experience again.

After that I think I spent a lot of time in denial, or shock, telling myself it was one big joke and at any minute he was going to pop up and say “got ya”. Obviously none of that has happened. But I have still spent a lot of time thinking about life, the meaning, anything and everything relating to my dad. I’ve also spent a lot of time crying…obviously. But I learned a lot from this tragedy. I mean what else can we do in life if we don’t learn from every experience right?

I learned the meaning of life for me and maybe this is true for others, but maybe it’s not. I really believe grief depends on the relationship you had with that person. For me, I learned we need grief in life (obviously I would rather never go through it but…). We need tragedies and loss, we need to remind ourselves that life is short, shit happens, and you are going to have bad days! LOTS of them! If we don’t have bad days, can we really learn to appreciate the good ones? 

It is with loss, or tragedy we learn how to pick ourselves back up and rebuild who we are. Does that happen overnight? Absolutely not! But little by little, day by day we put one foot in front of another, and we move forward. If we don’t, we get stuck, absorbed in that loss, we let it get the best of us. The one thing my dad did teach me was how to be independent. He showed me that men can let women have their own life within a relationship. He taught me that nothing should hold me back simply because I am a girl.  He taught me to love, so fiercely I took it for granted. He showed me how to be adventurous, take time for myself and be my own person. He taught me how to be me, unapologetically. Don’t get me wrong, other things also helped get me there, but it was my dad who showed up at my apartment one night after a comment I made and took me out for milk shakes and reminded me of the strong independent woman I am. He probably saved my life that day. I truly believe that moment was one that kick started my journey of rediscovering who I am and what I wanted out of life. 

My journey has evolved over the last 17 years and had many bumps along the way but when I feel down, I go back to that moment, that reminder of realizing sometimes I need to make changes in my life to find happiness, and that I deserve to be happy. 

Ironically the one person that I wanted to turn to with the loss of my Dad, was my Dad. He lost both his parents before the age of 40 (his dad in his 20’s and mom in his 30’s). Even with his presence gone I still know what he would want me to do. He would want me to keep chasing my dreams, keep living my life, keep making mistakes and learning from them. He would want me to keep getting up, showing up and being a better version of myself tomorrow and I am today! 

No matter what I did he was always proud of me and the person I have become! 

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