February is a time that most associate with Valentine’s Day. In our family, a week after the ‘day of love’ is a ‘day of loss’, because fourteen years ago we loss my dad from cancer, when I was just 16. You may be thinking, how can love come from a loss that large? It seems crazy, but it can.
Our family was very close growing up. The four of us did a lot of fun things together like going to Braves games, driving golf cart around and traveling. When my dad was sick we grew even closer knowing that time was precious. After his death, the three of us had a new bond as we learned to take on each challenge without him. Today, I can easily say that my mom and sister are my best friends and we can get through anything together.
The support from my friends is another area where you find love. I kept every card, email and note that was sent to me during that time and put it in a book that I still read sometimes. Friends have held me while I cried, brought me food or was there in silence so I wouldn’t be alone. My friends in college would buy a round of Coronas every year for my dad’s birthday (which would then result in me tearing up). It meant so much to me, because even though they did not know him, they honored his memory for me.
One of the least likely places I found love through the loss of my dad was in my husband. In one of our first intense conversations we had, we learned that the both of us had experienced the loss of a parent at a young age. You don’t come across that very often in your 20’s and it immediately added an extra layer to our relationship, being able to relate on that level. We like to think Dad & Karen had something to do with the timing of us meeting and starting our lives together.
While the loss of anyone close to you is definitely hard, life works in mysterious ways and can bring you closer to your family and friends as you grieve. You never know when an experience like that will create a bond with someone else who comes into your life!