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June 14, 2019

How to Survive Father’s Day without Him.

Growing up, I was always “daddy’s little girl.”

He was my rock. He was the person I could and would go to for everything. You never think anything will happen to your parents. They are supposed to be here forever, or so you think when you are a little kid.

My parents migrated us to America when I was just a baby.

They didn’t have a lot of money to their name. They came with $700 and a dream, but they worked so hard to keep our family moving forward. I watched how much effort they put in to saving money instead of spending it. They were my role models. They taught me the meaning of work ethic and doing what it takes to get to where you want to be.

I talk about my dad a lot more because his story and journey were at first so rewarding, and then I had to watch it all get taken away from him in the blink of an eye. He spent his whole life trying to create a life full of happiness, health, and abundance. What came next just didn’t seem fair.

My father was diagnosed with leukemia when I was 17. The doctors told him he only had two years to live. I spent every day stressed and depressed that I could lose him at any given moment, and I spent a lot of my days in the hospital with him. Leukemia is a disease that doesn’t discriminate.

How was I supposed to know when it would take my papa away from me?

Those two years my father was given to live turned into nine. We called him a cat with nine lives. I sat by his side, time after time, thinking this is it, today will be the day that he dies. But he had a will to live like I’d never seen before. He loved life! He enjoyed it. Everyone loved him.

As grateful as I am that he had nine years to live, it wasn’t enough time. I lost my father when I was only 26, and I wasted the nine years that he lived trying to drown my sorrows with alcohol and drugs. In the time that he was sick, my mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer. A double whammy. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My days were consumed with doctors and hospitals and after-surgery care.

This heartache sent me into a depression for the longest time. But if it weren’t for my dad, everything he taught me, and his will to live, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Because of him, I turned my life around and I found gratitude. Instead of waking up each day, dreading what was to come without him, I found myself being grateful for what I do have. Even though it was the worst thing to happen, it was also something that changed my life in so many ways.

You see, him being sick sent me on the spiritual journey I am on today. I found Kabbalah when I had no hope and thought my life was ending with his. I am grateful my dad passed after I was settled into spirituality. Without it, I am not sure how I would’ve survived.

Kabbalah taught me about the meaning of life—how we are not all meant to live long ones. I learned that we are here for a purpose and when our time is up for whatever we are trying to accomplish, it’s time to go. I made peace with that.

With Father’s Day right around the corner, I write this article with a heavy heart. Every Father’s Day without him is difficult, but trust me, it does get easier. The void is never filled, but the pain subsides. The way I got through the grief was appreciating all the good times.

When I would get sad and cry over him, I would remind myself of the 26 years I was lucky to have with him. I was grateful for the time we had together, I was grateful for the dad that he was and the love that he shared for me. I would remind myself of all the children in the world with no dad, or worse, a dad who neglected them, abused them, or raped them.

I am grateful for where his path in life led me; I became a natural medicine healer because I watched both of my parents struggle with cancer. And I have massive amounts of gratitude that I now get to spend Father’s Day with the father of my children, who happens to be an amazing dad too.

Celebrating Father’s Day when your father is long gone is hard, but being grateful can make it a little easier.

I know I’m not the only one in this boat. I know I’m not the only one celebrating this day without a father by my side. For those of you just like me, find gratitude and things will look up (it actually rewires your brain and makes everything better).

And for those of you who still have your father, be grateful for each Father’s Day you get to spend with him. Hug him tight, forgive him if you’ve had a falling out, and work on healing yourself so you don’t waste whatever time you have left. You never know when it will be the last.

So, go out there and be grateful for what you have. Don’t forget that we’re all in this together. We are not alone.

I don’t know about you, but I will always be daddy’s little girl.

~

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author: Shilamida Kupershteyn

Image: Author's own

Editor: Naomi Boshari