Transformed After My Father’s Death

One thing I’ve learned about grief since my dad was diagnosed with the brain cancer that took his life only 10 weeks later is that it can make people think about, feel, and even do things they might never have before; I guess that’s just part of navigating the road on this journey.

There are some things that I’ve started to think about since my dad died that leave me with feelings of uncertainty; the more I ponder those things, the greater the lack of clarity I experience.  However, there are other things that I have become completely clear about, sometimes because I had never experienced or considered these particular issues before — and some things that I had come across but about which I hadn’t had this particular perspective previously.

Here’s one of the things I know for sure: I know that the world is different without my dad in it, but it’s probably not as different as I judge it to be, at least not in a general sense.  Personally, I see the world now in a totally different light than I did before Dad got sick, and I’ve developed a view that is perhaps less naive, perhaps more jadedor maybe both.  Every time I hear or read the statement “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” I want to argue: from my perspective, this could not be further from the truth. If we can keep from allowing it to break us down completely, we are not left stronger; if we are lucky and diligent, we are left transformed, metamorphosized, different.

I search for consolation for the rest of my family and for the other people who knew my dad and who still say to me “I just can’t believe he’s gone,” but I am unable to find anything of comfort for them since I have yet to find it for myself.  Time has passed; some of the sharp edges of grief have moved into more of an aching pain, but the sorrow and all of the other emotions that come along with the mourning are still there, with no end in sight.  I am different from the person I was before my dad got sick; I live differently, I think differently, and I believe differently.

I know this grief won’t end. It will only change and lessen. We will not get over it, but we will learn to live beside it, hopefully more efficiently and more gracefully than we have been able to do so far. We will hold our memories in our hearts and rely on the promise that the thoughts that now make us mourn will one day be overshadowed by the ones that make us smile.

Our thanks to Stephanie Lancaster for sharing her story with us. Her original posts and more can be found on her blog, Just My Current Perspective.


  1. CAROL said on November 14, 2013 at 1:11 pm ... #

    Lesli told me not long ago that she wants her mama back. I told her that I did not know how to get her back. That Mama is gone and what she is left with is me and I am only half of what I was. I don’t know how to change that.

  2. CAROL SUE PALMER said on November 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm ... #

    Lesli told me not long ago that she wants her mama back. I told her that I did not know how to get her back. That Mama is gone and what she is left with is me and I am only half of what I was. I don’t know how to change that.

  3. Justin said on November 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm ... #

    I’m new to this site.

    I want to say I’m sorry for your loss. I’m 20 and this past June I lost my dad to a motorcycle accident. He was my best friend, someone I could talk to about literally anything, who I lived with and saw everyday, and then he was just taken from me. It’s true, I don’t think the grief will ever go away, but we can learn to live with it and train ourselves almost for it to not take over. I feel so lost without him.

  4. Elizabeth said on November 18, 2013 at 9:13 am ... #

    I’m grateful for this site: I need to read how others articulate their sense of loss. My father died after a long illness, and from old age, in February, and I’m still reeling. I knew this was going to be hard, because I had so many conflicts with him, while at the same time he was such a powerful presence in my life, a man who always needed to be in control, that without him here I feel unmoored. It’s odd, because so many years I at times wished he were gone, so I could have a sense of control about a number of things, but now that he’s gone, that locus of control seems gone too. I needed his approval; I rarely got it. He was manipulative, charming, ego-centric, dynamic, difficult, and lyrical. My life did center on him, I know, much to my chagrin, but there’s the truth. Each month I have a few more string of days when his disappearance doesn’t unglue me, so I know time will lessen the blow. Still, it’s been incredibly tough just to get up and get necessary things done.

  5. Jim said on November 21, 2013 at 12:38 pm ... #

    My father passed before I was born so I never experienced the pain of his loss that I’m reading about. But I somehow believe that because I never knew him or had him in my life, that somehow it left a wound on my psyche that now seems to inhibit my healing from the death of my wife more than two years ago. I’m retired and just feel adrift with a lack of purpose and direction and, most important, a zest, or even an enjoyment, for my former pursuits in life. I feel “disabled” in a sense which has narrowed my world and left me feeling somewhat afraid and uneasy of this world. It’s like, the world, it seems, is no longer the same, nor safe, with her no longer in it. I just can’t seem to reinvest in living, nor how to do it being alone and probably still mourning.

  6. Don said on December 2, 2013 at 3:32 pm ... #

    Thank u

  7. Anonymous said on February 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm ... #

    Just two days ago my boyfriend’s mother died in her home; he was the one to find her body. He’s been disconsolate since and I don’t know what to do for him. He seemed to know exactly what to do and say when my cat died a little less than a month ago, but I feel so awkward about how to comfort him, what to do, how to deal with my own grief…

    She was very ill and he spent the majority of his life taking care of her. On top of him grieving for her, I know he’s wrestling with other unresolved emotions. He’s trying very hard to deal with these things,and has no desire to see a counselor. The only thing I can think to do is remember the little things; picking up the mail, making coffee and dinner, letting him decide the pace and relieving him of his responsibilities around the house. I just hope that I can help him stop blaming himself and start healing.

  8. Dawn said on February 11, 2014 at 10:29 am ... #

    My dad died December 4, 2013, 39 days after a cancer diagnosis. He went in to the hospital with a sore leg, turns out he had stage 4 lung cancer.
    He just turned 73 in November. I am struggling with this, my mother died when i was 20 years old. My mom was 43 when she passed. I was very close to my dad and I miss him so much. I am having feelings of rage and sadness. I am so angry at him for leaving me. I am an only child and have always been a daddys girl. My husband is suffering my wrath almost on a daily basis. I dont know what to do, or where to turn. I feel like an orphan

  9. Ronda said on March 25, 2015 at 4:51 am ... #

    Dawn I’m in the same boat.. I lost my daddy May 18,2014 and my whole life is screwed up. I cry,alot, I miss him Every day, I am angry 90% of the day and now me and my boyfriend fight constantly cuz he don’t know how to deal with my anger mostly.. I am miserable and miss my dad twrribly…

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