To the young adults out there that know the reality of losing a parent at a young age, this one is for you. Here is an open letter to anyone that lost a parent at a young age.
You experienced a great loss and you’re still so young with so much life ahead of you. You often wonder how you can make it through the rest of your life without the parent that is no longer here. I see you struggling. On the outside, you hold it together. You keep a smile and hold your head up high; you want to take on the world and embrace life. You meet new people and want to tell them your story because maybe they understand. Maybe they know what it feels like. You keep a smile on your face.
But, how is it different when you lose a parent at a young age?
Every day is a good day until a memory strikes you. And it happens so fast. You could be having a normal day until something happens. Something triggers your memory. It could be a song. It could be a picture. It could be a moment; a quick glimmer of a memory that stops you dead in your tracks and leaves you breathless. You close your eyes, take a deep breath, and remember the memory. Because that is all you have now, memories. Sometimes, especially in the beginning of it all, tears roll down your face. And then those tiny tears can turn into a few minutes of sobbing. Now, you have to sit down, because the memories, your emotions, are simply too much for you to keep you on your feet. You wonder when it will get easier. You wonder when a Tom Petty song or a white Ford pickup won’t leave your heart aching. You wonder if it will ever get easier.
Because you heard that it does get easier. You’ve heard that the deep heartbreak will turn into a dull ache. It won’t be so sad. It won’t be so bad. It gets better. Someday…
People have told you that the memories won’t always make you want to cry, won’t always make you feel so sad. One day, it will make you smile instead of weep. Yet, you still experience the heartbreak and the daily reminder that your parent is no longer here on Earth. And it just hits you: it could be that you go to pick up your phone to give them a call, and the sudden realization that you can’t, isn’t fair. Or, you may want to share some amazing news like you bought a house or that you’re pregnant. But you can’t. And again, it’s not fair. It’s not fair that all of these new and exciting events going on in your life also make you feel sadness in your heart. You feel sadness because they aren’t here to see it. They aren’t here to talk about it, to live it with you. Maybe it’s seeing you walk across the graduation stage or to hold their first Grandbaby, whatever it may be, they aren’t here, and the bitterness that you feel about that sometimes overwhelms and consumes you.
You try as hard as you can to live your best life, because people keep telling you “that is what they would want.” But it’s hard. I know that this is so hard. You don’t understand why these people even say this because normally, it’s those people that have no clue to what it feels like.