A woman puts her arm around another woman as both look out of a window towards a sunrise.

Acclimation and Acceptance After My Dad's Passing

Normal to me was just a basic and usual standard. It was very typical. I learned that my normal was going to look different after my dad passed away.

My normal had been going to doctors' appointments. My normal was making sure my dad was taking his medication. My normal was making sure that he ate and making sure he was okay. Attending family functions, reading scriptures, and praying with each other was my normal. All that seemed to cease and desist once he passed away. The normal I had known for so long now had diminished. I was forced to learn a newer normal without him being there.

Trying to accept my new reality

This next stage of my grief process brought about acceptance. Acceptance is a process that undertakes reality as being adequate enough or suitable. My reality was that my dad was gone, and he was never coming back. As I am writing this, it still doesn’t sound normal to say; however, it is a hard reality.

I went to work expecting to get off, get home, and see him lying on the couch. Accepting my new reality was a lot easier while I was at work. I busied myself, even through my lunch. Many days, I forgot to eat because I was working on another lesson or experiment to teach my students.

The reality of acceptance was harder once I got home. I didn’t hear his heavy footsteps walking down the hallway. He wasn’t sitting at the head of the table at dinner. He wasn’t sitting on the back porch with coffee in hand while he was reading the newspaper. Although it sounds cliché, acceptance involves taking it one hour at a time and one day at a time.

After my dad's passing, helping my mom

At the time of my dad’s passing, I was living with him and my mom to aid with his care. I found myself still waking up early to prepare his breakfast and his scriptures for the day. I found myself calling home on lunch breaks just to check on him. The dynamics of the household shifted drastically. My normal role as a caregiver seemed to be over, or so I thought.

My normal was so focused on my dad that I was completely oblivious to what life was like for my mom. However, I quickly was put back into the caregiver role, but not in the physical sense. It was more in the emotional sense.

Spending time together

I had to relive life as a caregiver, just in a different capacity. My mom was young, and I couldn’t allow her to give up on life or become oblivious to the world around her.

I made it my point to spend more time with my mom. I planned brunch and dinner dates at various places around the city. I chose places where we couldn’t wear sweatpants and t-shirts. I drove around the city with her riding shotgun just so she could get used to what was around her. I would drive, and she would gaze out the window asking about new businesses in the area even though they had been there for years.

I took more time to be intentional about the time I spent with my mom rather than just being around. We even would spend time getting manis and pedis. The mani and pedi did a double dose of good. It was time spent with my mom, but it was always self-care for me.

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