The art of letting go

Francis Salazar, Staff writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

I was playing tag with my cousins — waiting for my mom to get to my grandmother’s house so that my siblings and I could go to my dad’s place. I remember running around the house, hoping not to get tagged. I remember the placement of the living room where we were playing in. It’s all vivid. It’s not a perfect recollection of the day, but I remember everything that led to the news.


I remember being walked into the kitchen. I remember thinking it wasn’t a big deal that my tias, my aunts, were crying for some odd reason.


The weirdest part is that the colors of my grandma’s kitchen are what I recall most. I don’t know why those colors stick out to me.  But for the most part, it’s hard to forget the day you find out that your dad isn’t here anymore — that he’s gone. I remember being told that he was gone. I can’t recall the exact words, I don’t think I ever want to remember the words that told me — at the age of six — that my dad was gone.


There seems to be a before I found out. A before my worldview changed, before a slight difference in me occured. Before my laughter became quiet confusion and before my large smiles became quiet crying. There was an after too. After being told how the house was somber. How my cousins tried to make me feel better. An after of being confused: What did it mean? How was I supposed to deal with this? What could a 6-year-old do?


I can’t recall anything after that, but I remember the funeral.


How the line to see him was out the door, how I kept going up to my dad, wanting him to wake up, wanting it to be a joke, wanting my dad back. How I kept asking my Tia to take me up to see him.


For a while, my siblings and I would record messages to him on a old voice recorder. I would write letters. Sometimes the pain of not having my biological father around hurt so much that sometimes, even now, it hurts everywhere, like an old wound being opened again.Recently, my uncle passed away from cancer. It hurt, not because I was close to him, but because I saw my family, the ones who told me my dad had passed, break.


I broke with them.


It was hard. It always is. I can’t tell you how hard it was. My uncle has two beautiful girls, my baby cousins who are dealing with the same thing I had to deal with when I was six. I wish I could say that I can’t imagine what they are going through, but I can. I wish they didn’t know what it feels like.

I’ve dealt with grief since I was six, and I will deal with it as time goes on. No one is immortal, time and death will come for us all in the end. It’s an impossible idea to even entertain. What happens after they pass? Well I’ll tell you — life.


Life continues. It sucks, but as they say, life goes on. There is not anything we can do, not really. Dealing with grief and death is hard. It’s always hard, losing someone you love to death is hard. I know this very well, and for anyone who has ever lost someone, they know.


Sometimes it becomes so hard, you can’t breathe and you wonder, “why did this happen?” It echoes in my head, “Why me? Why my dad? Why did this happen? How did this happen to me? Why is it that he’s gone and I don’t know what to do?” I don’t know which is worst, feeling like the grief is suffocating you or forgetting the things about them that made them, them. Or maybe the worst part is feeling guilty for enjoying life without them.


It comes and goes, the grief, the sadness, the pain of losing someone. There’s a light at some point, where you don’t feel guilty for continuing on without them. Where the anchor on your chest feels a little lighter, where you breathe for the first time and you don’t feel the tightening of your throat.

It’s okay. It’s okay to be fine, to continue on.


Yes, it happened, and yes, it hurts, but that doesn’t mean that it will be the only thing that will ever happen to you.


Our lives go on, and that’s okay.


One thing I’ve learned from losing my dad and my uncle is that they continue on. We tell the stories of them, we remember them, we love them as time goes on. We keep them alive in our memories and in our hearts.


Loving and losing people is a part of life, we must accept that if we continue on living. We are not immortal, and that’s okay. It’s actually perfect that we are born, we live and love, then we move on to whatever happens after death. Maybe we get reincarnated, maybe we go to heaven, who knows? What I know is that grief is hard to deal with and will be hard to deal with, but we continue on. We have to. The only way to deal with grief is to live and love.


Life isn’t forever, but neither is grief. In the end, it all turns out okay.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email