Lessons Learned in Loss





Meet Aaliyah

Aaliyah is a Jamaican 20 something who is interested in all things fun, edifying, entertaining and stylish. She grew up in Montego Bay, St. James then left the second city at age 19 to attend the University of the West Indies where she studied Journalism. While trying to find her footing in a new space she learned many life skills and lessons that she is always eager to share in a bid to help others who have similar encounters. When she is not documenting her experiences navigating these 20 somethings, she spends her time like any average young girl – working, watching Netflix, shopping for unnecessary household items and trying to keep it all together.

Lessons Learned in Loss

5 Things I Learned After Losing A Parent

Nothing will ever prepare you for losing a parent, and quite honestly, I think it’s even harder losing them when you are young or just on the verge of adulthood. I don’t say this to invalidate anyone’s experience because, of course, dealing with death is difficult at any age. But for me, during that period between your late teens and early twenties, while you are trying to figure things out, it’s truly overwhelming to also have to deal with the loss of a parent on top of everything else.

I’m not sure why I chose this to discuss this week. I just sort of opened my laptop and it was the first thing that came to mind. It’s been about five years since I’ve lost my father and I still think about him every day - Literally. Not one single day goes by.

I wish I could say I only think of the pleasant memories, but that’s a lie. I think about all the things. Somehow, while growing up, I thought that when someone dies, you’d only remember the happy and blissful moments. I came to realize that’s not entirely so. You think about absolutely everything you can remember and all the feelings you had in those moments with them. You think about how you wish that some moments could have lasted forever and how others could have played out differently.

Honestly, I am possibly just starting to confront how I truly feel about it all. I am even struggling to put the words together for this post without getting too emotional. I guess I am still not prepared to deep dive into it all but I still wanted to share the top five lessons I learned after losing my father.

1) It’s Not Something You Just Get Over

I’ve dealt with a lot of disappoints, heartbreaks and tragedies throughout my 25 years of life. I have always been able to just pick up the pieces and keep it moving until eventually it starts feeling like nothing ever happened. I am yet to be successful in applying the same method to this. Sometimes I feel like I should be over it by now because so much time has passed but it still feels very fresh in my head. I am starting to realize that I may never ‘get over it’ and I do not believe I am required to. I of course have not allowed it to stop me from living my life to the fullest. But I am truly still just coping with it. Maybe that’s just how it will be for a while. Possibly, professionals can help you deal with it in a more ideal way, but it will still take time and there should be no guilt in using all the time necessary.

2) Other Family Members are Going Through It Too

Dealing with the loss of a parent can often leave you feeling lonely – like no one else understands what you are going through. But while no one will feel exactly how you are feeling, those who were also touched or impacted by your loved one are sometimes going through a myriad of emotions too. You can lean into that community and support each other. I never thought anybody would get it until I opened up to my mom and sisters and realized that we actually going through it together. I took comfort in that, and it made the load a little lighter.

3)Pain and Joy can Coexist

Through the midst of all our grief and sorrow we eventually find reasons to smile and be happy. It does not mean that we have forgotten or that hurt has passed but it is instead proof that we are alive, and we are allowed to feel all emotions even simultaneously. The joy may not come right away, in fact it can take some time. But through the tears or sleepless nights a light feeling eventually creeps over us out of nowhere. It could come from participating in an activity we love or the touch from your pet or a movie; anything at all. And it is okay to enjoy that feeling.

4) Life Is Unpredictable

When you lose a loved one you realize how fickle life is. You know human beings aren’t immortal but until you must deal with the death of someone extremely close to you, you have not really faced mortality. Things really change in a flash. Your life gets turned upside down. There are so many changes to be made and so much adjusting to do- most of which you never once thought you would have to deal with. Nothing in life is truly permanent so we must enjoy, love and cling to all that we can for as long as we can, and understand that when those things go, we can only try to find peace in the fact that we at least had or experienced them.

5) Life Goes On

This lesson I did not necessarily learn only after I lost my father but seeing how thing just kept going after really cemented it. The clock does not automatically stop on the world when your loved one passes. The sun does not just cease to rise. The rivers continue to flow into the ocean and earth continues to spin on its axis. Everything pretty much just keeps going as normal. You will still have several responsibilities and obligations. Many others who showed up for you will have to return to their normal lives. The show goes on regardless. We eventually have to start going too – taking it just a day at a time.

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