What I want you to know about losing a parent at a young age

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Lindsay.

When I was 11 years old, my father died suddenly of a massive heart attack. He was only 37. My younger siblings and I struggled with this loss. Whenever you lose someone, people always say that it gets better with time. That's both true and false. You get used to your new normal, because it's your only choice. There's times when you are going to miss your loved ones. There's time where the loss feels more raw and exposed than when it first happened. There's times when you feel so robbed of the years you should have gotten. There's also times when days, weeks, or months go by, and you realize that you haven't thought about that person. That hurts more than you would think, and if someone talks to you about it, you need to listen. Don't try to make them feel better, or say "That's what happens." Instead, listen to what they have to say and let them vent. Let them feel their grief, and their emotions.

I lost my dad in middle school. That means he missed my high school graduation, my undergraduate graduation and will miss my ceremony when I receive my Master's degree in a few months, as well. He'll miss my wedding day, and he'll never get to meet any of his grandchildren. I want you to know that though these will be happy occasions, a part of me will be looking up to the sky, saying hello to my Dad in Heaven, knowing he's looking over me, but also wishing he was here.

I want you to know whether it's been 15 days, 15 months or 15 years, a loss this big is always going to hurt. I want you to know that you are never alone in your grief, and that there is always someone there
to support you. I want you to know that if someone you know has lost someone, the best thing you can do for them is to listen, and be there.

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