What it is like to lose a loved one you grew up with

Ten years ago, my dad died of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s that same disease people were doing the Ice Bucket Challenge for a couple of years ago.

Through the years, whenever I meet people and tell them that I lost my dad, they usually say stuff like, “Oh I am so sorry to hear that”, but you can’t really be sorry for certain.

And whenever I read up on blogs of writers who share stories of how they too lost somebody they were close to, it’s usually about a bunch of life lessons and stuff.

Today, I’ve no direct life lessons for you.

I just want to try to put it in words of how it really feels like to lose a loved on you grew up with.

It is surreal

It feels like just yesterday when my dad was still around, walking around the house, watching TV and talking to us.

Me, my mom and my brother still live in the same house my dad bought for his family.

It’s been ten years, and the memories of him still being around is so fresh.

You just can’t believe he’s gone because this place was his. I can still remember the sound of his voice, the way he walked, the way he laughed, the way he slept and even the way he scolded us.

Yet, death happens in life anyway. The rest of us living simply have to deal with it.

It is sad

After the day my dad got cremated, I was very worried for my mom as for the first time in her life since her marriage, she had to start sleeping alone.

I remember intentionally sleeping with my door open for a few weeks just so she would know I was there should she choose to look over to my room whenever she couldn’t sleep.

It makes you not average anymore

Let me put it this way:

The average person in life wakes up in the morning, gets ready for work, makes his coffee and starts to read the papers. He reads about the bad shit happening in this world.

Rape. War. Disasters. Protests. Police brutality and so on.

And the average person goes, “Oh that is sad” while at the back his mind, he’s thinking, “Oh it probably wouldn’t happen to me.”

He then goes on to work and proceeds with his normal life. Soon, he forgets about the sad and bad shit happening everywhere, because it has never happened to him.

But it happened to me.

You realize these things are very, very real.

That is why you should never take life for granted and assume everything would go well for you. That’s not to say you need to lead a paranoid life though. You just have to be careful and make sensible decisions.

It is growing up instantly overnight, whether you like it or not

Most kids, after learning about life and death would grow up believing that their parents or loved ones would simply grow old and die a peaceful, natural death. At the very least, that is what everyone hopes for.

I didn’t get that privilege of course.

I was just forced to grow up overnight.

Again, you realize shit is real. Very real.

It is bonding

A few days after the end of my dad’s wake, I met up with a couple of friends.

One of them immediately greeted me cheerfully and said, “Bro! I heard. If you need anything, and I mean ANYTHING, please do not hesitate to ask.”

Then I discovered that his dad of cancer when he was young.

That was the first time I actually felt comforted since my dad died.

After you see a loved one go, you kind of feel this special bond with people who experienced the same as you. And I just so happen to have a handful of friends who lost a parent too.

These are the friends I will never let go in life.

It is love and compassion

Because I choose to be good.

Every time I find out that a friend lost a loved one, I never fail to reach out.

I just want to help.

It changes your perspective on everything

Here’s a quote taken from one of my favorite graphic novels, Daytripper by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon:


That is when you realize life is truly too short.

That is why you live life to the fullest.

That is why you don’t want to waste your time anymore, especially with things like a job you hate, chasing money, toxic friends etc.

And for me, this is why I write about my dad from time to time. I just wanted to be reminded of who I am today and the life I have.

It is just life

You know how people like to ask questions like, “If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?”

I always felt that these questions can never apply to me. To go back in time means to experience a reality where my father is still alive and I cannot accept that.

It has been ten years. Me and my family have moved on. As painful as it was to see him go, we’ve grown to become a happy bunch leading our own lives.

Even with tragedy inserted into your life, you’d just have to move on. I simply cannot imagine a life where he is still around.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I can’t really describe why. Heck, I can’t even give you the life lessons I am truly grateful for derived solely from his death. It’s not as if life has been perfect since.

It’s just how it is. Death happens all around you and you just live anyway, you know?

Life happens. You just have to roll with it.


My family and I. Taken at my brother’s wedding recently. 

Thank you for reading.

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