Growing up I was known by everyone as “daddy’s girl.” I was so close to my dad that I would actually refuse to eat without him there to cut my food. He was the one who taught me to pray before meals and bed. He taught me that there is life after death. As I got older our relationship grew and I began to know him on a deeper level. He was not only my parent; he was my mentor and best friend.
My dad passed away suddenly because of a heart attack when I was 15 years old. This came as a great shock to me because I never expected it so young. The last thing he said was, “I can’t die. I’m not ready to die.”
The next couple months were the hardest I’ve ever experienced. I’d wake up in the middle of the night thinking that he was calling my name just like he had during his heart attack. I would see other girls go to father-daughter dances and jealousy overtook me because I knew I could never do that. I started to blame myself, thinking: “What if I had called the ambulance sooner? What if I had given him aspirin to thin his blood?” I dwelled on every instance when I could have spent time with him but choose not to. I was torn up inside. I wished for just one more visit with him to say goodbye.
As time went on, the pain dimmed. I thought about how sad my dad would be if he knew how I was suffering. Ever so slowly I recalled what he had taught me. I remembered him saying that life exists after death. I began to accept that he was up in heaven where I could once again see him. This belief gave me the hope I needed and I discovered for myself that there really is life after death. By experiencing my father’s death I learned how to truly live. There was life after death for him in the eternal sense and there was life in me after his death.
The life I began to live after my father’s death was full of vitality. I learned how it felt to be truly happy. I learned to not blame myself for things that are out of my control. I learned to appreciate each moment for how special they are because the next one could be my last. I know now that I can never get back the minutes I waste.
Even though I learned so much from my father’s death I still cannot accept that he is gone. If I did not believe in heaven, I would not be able to go on with my life after his death. I have to believe in heaven to have hope for the future. I have to know that there is another chance of seeing him just so I can get out of bed every morning.
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