Writing in Grief

I had to write my father’s obituary. No big deal, right? I’m a writer. This is what I do, but when it’s for your father, or anyone who you love, it’s not quite as simple as you would think. I mentally steeled myself and glanced at a few tips and formats. I started off simply and followed the so-called ‘rules’.

Then, I deleted every single word.

This wasn’t my father was all I could think as I reread my words. My father was so much more than a few facts and mentions of his former career as a builder. He was vivacious and was known for his giant belly laughs. He preferred jokes and snappy retorts. He was a simple man with an extraordinary personality.

So, that’s how I chose to write about him and his life. Exactly how he would want me to pen an obituary for him and, when I was finished, I could almost hear his laugh once more. The tears dried as I started and, by the end, I was smiling. I wasn’t sure how my mother was going to react but, when I finished telling her what I had written, she was laughing through her tears and said, “That’s dad.”

I think I have been struggling writing these last few weeks because quite frankly, I’ve been in a state of pre-mourning. I knew it was coming. I had a pit in my stomach and I could barely focus on anything. I realized something though as I wrote out his life in my own words. My father would be ticked off if I stopped writing because of his death. He would want me to get back on the proverbial horse and do what he thought I did best.

It’s not easy to lose someone you love. You never truly get over it. You have to learn to go about your life and, at the end of the day, you need to realize how lucky you are because having the ability to love is the greatest gift of all. To have someone love you back just as much is the treasure of a lifetime.

I will miss him every single day of my life and I will cherish each memory I have of him. Those that we lose are never gone if we keep them in our hearts and minds forever.

It’s back to work for me next week and I want to thank my dad for reminding from the great beyond of how powerful words can be, and also, how healing it can be to have the ability to express yourself through words.

~Shannon

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