Dear Anna,

My dad passed away last year. We had a rocky relationship, and there were many things left unsaid. I still feel like I’m needing closure, but don’t know how to go about it. What would you suggest my first step be?

Thank you,

-Nichole L.


Hey Nichole!

Whenever I discuss grief I often give the example of being in the ocean. When the tide pulls you underwater, you initially want to fight it. But, the best thing you can do, is relax your body and allow the waves to pull you under. They will toss and throw you at random. Everything feels overwhelming, dark, and disorienting. You don’t know what is up or down, and you fear you may run out of air. But, eventually, it passes. You come up for air, take a deep breath, and walk back to shore.

The stages of grief are very similar: denial, anger, sadness, and eventually acceptance, are all parts of the intricate dance our souls navigate. They come at random and in no particular order. But, when the waves hit, they hit hard. You may experience waves of emotion not only regarding your father’s death, but also the loss of what you wish the relationship had been. Sometimes that grief is even harder. 

The first step I would encourage, is to not fight the waves when they come. You may see a commercial that reminds you of your dad and burst into tears, or you may pass a familiar landmark and boil with anger. Both are equally healthy and are your body’s way of working through the grief. When the waves hit, allow them to swallow you in that moment. Feel every inch of them, even if you think it might kill you – I promise it won’t. Each time you allow your heart to grieve (as painful as it is) you inch closer to acceptance and healing.

Grief is never easy, and I encourage you to consider looking for a grief support group in your area. Talking with others facing similar challenges can be a much-needed lifeline. As always, make self-care a priority and don’t be too shy to reach out for support. 




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