Seriously, how do we all do it?

Recently, I got an email from a humanist who was looking for some help on dealing with his fathers death and I thought we could post some of our thoughts here.

I'm deeply sorry that this person is experiencing such pain and I hope that we bring this person at least some relief.

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My earliest memory of my father was a conversation that he had with me while sitting on the front steps of our modest home in Iowa. I couldn't have been more than 4 years old at the time. It was summer and I know that because our street had just been tarred and sanded for the season. The smell of tar hung heavily in the air. It was just the two of us, my father and me. My Dad, sitting on the top step of our two step porch, was teaching me a life lesson: to look both ways before crossing the street. I was standing on the first step of our two step stoop and was so small that I was only eye to eye with him while listening intently. He said to me: "look both ways before crossing the street son, and never play in the road when a car is coming." He continued: "if you were to be hit by a car then I would lose my only and best friend in the world and I wouldn't know what to do without you."

I didn't understand at the time that what he was expressing to me was an unconditional love that only a father can know. I understand now exactly what he was saying as I face the prospect of losing my "only and best friend in the world".

The smell of tar bothers most people.

For me, the smell of tar, is an aroma that stirs memories of a love from a father to his only son. When he passes, the smell of tar will always bring back this memory and conjure with it a deep abiding feeling that will forever warm me and one that I will never experience again: The expressed love from my dad.

I hope I can find some peace along the way in this long journey that I'm about to take. My main wish is that my Pop doesn't suffer in his final chapter. I love him so. And this is so hard.

I will appreciate any advice, kind words, suggestions and encouragement.

I want to thank you Froll0 for seeing my pain and engaging this amazing community in my struggle.

I will do my best to respond to everyone who comments.

Thank you and may you all find peace in what is just a part of life: our mortality.


Well J I know what you are going through, only the one I lost was my wife. That was 5 years ago. I don't really have any answers for you, other than I feel your grief. One is able to handle the situation better as time pass', but the pain never goes away. If you would like to drop me an email to just talk, feel free to do so. I am sorry for your loss, and wish you happyness for the future.

Rev Dr Alan FCD Prime
thank you. I will. Tomorrow I leave to see my father as he gets his bone scan and a meeting has been set up to lay out options for him.

I don't know how he will handle this. And I don't know how I will handle his handling of this.

I'll drop you a note. Please keep in touch.
Joey S. Make sure that you do the most fulfilling thing a person can do - become a parent, if you haven't. When you do, you will experience a love that you cannot imagine. Only then will you truly understand what you meant to your father. When you know that, you can take heart from how much love and joy you brought your parents.
I'm crying right now for you. I didn't really know how to cry when I watched sad movies until my children were born, because it was only when I had children that I learned what sort of pain others go through when they lose a loved one. Every time a parent reads about a death or illness in somebody else, he immediately thinks of his own children with a quick pang of fear. It's the flip side of the love that they bring. If we didn't feel so much pain, we could never experience so much joy.
You will only get through this with the love of people who care about you. If you are concerned about not getting enough support from your social circle, then talk to your father's friends.
Okay, I stopped crying. Be there for your dad.
I have my wife, my sisters, their boys (one of which was essentially raised by my dad) and we're all pulling together.

Thank you. I came here because of my isolation in my non-belief. My belief in humanity has increased 10 fold because of notes like yours. Thank you.

I would have children, but I'm 49. I don't want to send my kid to college when I'm 70. I think I missed my window. But I understand - as much as is possible, what you are saying about having children. It is a profound regret of mine.

Thank you for your kind words.
what you contributed to the world lives on after you, and what people taught you carries on after they're gone. good luck Joey man, i'm glad you got family to pull through with you. -L




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