The death of a father at any age can be devastating, but the younger we are, the more difficult it is as our sense of identity is not firmly established. We don’t know who we are so we rely on our fathers to give us direction and provide us with a sense of security and stability. Without that direction, we are like rudderless boats, lost at sea, feeling empty, alone and insecure. It can be scary navigating life without them.
The first step to how to deal with the death of a father is to find ways to grieve your loss. As you grieve your loss, your sadness will be diminished and you will be able to find meaning and joy in life once again. Here are some suggestions for healing your grief:
Grieving is a process that takes time and depends on many factors such as the circumstances of your father’s death and how close your relationship was. It can take years to feel right in the world again after this type of loss. So, it is important that, as you try to find how to deal with the death of a father, to not feel pressured to just “get over it.” Repressing our grief only causes more challenges such as anxiety, depression, addiction, illness and feeling dissatisfied with life. Expressing it, on the other hand, can help us to grow and develop more wisdom, love, and compassion.
Further, many who have experienced the loss of a father have used their anger and sadness as motivators to do great things with great purpose. For example, George Washington became fatherless at the age of eleven. Thomas Jefferson was fourteen when his father died. Franklin D. Roosevelt lost his father at nineteen. These presidents all left their mark in the world. Many famous musicians, artists and writers who have lost a father have found healing and great meaning through sharing their creative expression.
By focusing on what is possible after your father dies instead focusing on what you lost and feeling sorry for yourself, you will be empowered to create a rich, meaningful life.