There are some things about life that you can never truly understand until you have experienced them first hand. I’ve always heard people say that grief never goes away, you just get used to living with it. We grieve many losses throughout life. Marriages end, once special friendships fizzle out, jobs are lost, grandparents and pets and school friends die. But we move on. We reflect on those losses and we look fondly upon our pasts that they were a part of and we move on. But this has shaken me so deeply. I believe there will always be a part of me that will never be able to truly move on and let go from the death of my father.

The loss of my father has ripped an enormous hole directly through the center of my being. It’s hard to describe this kind of grief. It is bottomless. It is graceful. It is messy. It is riddled with guilt. It is quiet. It is endless. It is filled with rage. It is a crackling fire buried deep in my stomach where some days I’m sure it will succeed in burning its way through me. My mind knows his body is gone and yet the very same mind refuses to accept his loss.

I never realized how much I thought about my dad until my thoughts of him began to serve as daily reminders that he’s gone. I never knew that I could be destroyed by a loss while also managing to continue living and enjoying my life. I’m fine on the outside, so naturally everyone thinks the grief is finished, but inside I’m a wreck. Life ends and Life goes on, it’s so strange.

Strangely, both my best friend and a coworker lost their fathers within weeks of me losing mine. There’s a strange sense of camaraderie between us. I look at these women and I know what they’ve experienced and I know they know what’s going on inside of me without me having to say so and while I hate to see them in pain too, I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that someone around me knows what it’s like in real time. But I’m angry at the rest of the world and the people in it who, while sympathetic to my loss, remain unaffected by it. I’m not even sure it makes sense. It’s the kind of pain I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but at the same time it’s a pain that I wish everyone could comprehend.

I want to go home. I want the comfort of familiarity to somehow dull the pain caused by the chunk of soul ripped from me when he left, but I’m scared that when I get there it will be too different. I’m afraid that my dad’s house won’t smell like my dad anymore. How can going home ever be the same? Is it still home when I’ve lost half of what tied me to the place?

My father’s death has given me a new awareness of life and death and their natures. It has made me consider my own mortality. We think we will die when we get old. Fifty five years seems like a lot of time to live until that’s all that someone has been given and you’re there to witness the end of that allotted time. Death is more present for me now. It is real. Some days it feels just around the corner.

I want to be able to take this experience and use it in a positive way. I want to be able to gain wisdom and to direct my life accordingly in the same way I’ve done so through other painful and seemingly impossible to survive situations. But I’m just not there yet with this. All I have gained for sure is the desire to scream in everyone’s face that they should stop taking their parents for granted.


15 thoughts on “

  1. I miss my Dad every single day. The pain is still as strong today as the day he went away 4 years ago. But some days I can smile, some days I can laugh and soon I will only look back on my day with the happiest of memories. You are struggling right now. You are so very far away. But remember that he loved you and and will continue to love you whereever he may be.
    Başınız sağolsun from me here in Turkey

    • Thank you, Jane. I do still feel close to my dad despite being so far from “home”. I have his pictures. I have his fingerprint on a necklace. I have his jacket. I have his voice recorded on a book he bought my daughter years ago. And I have countless memories and pictures that keep me connected to him. I’d just really like a hug from him, you know?

  2. I totally understand every word you’ve said. I lost my dad when I was 13, he was 59. Then 3 years ago I lost my mum too though I was with her I was living in Riyadh. I too go back to her house during holidays but will be letting it go next summer. Every time I go back it feels less and less like “my mum”.
    Being over here and not having family and real friends only seems to let the pain stay the same even though much of it is hidden to people.
    I feel for your loss and I know there are no words to relieve the pain but I’m glad you have people with you who understand what you’re going through.
    Lots of love xxx

    • Thank you. Michelle. I’m so sorry for the loss of both of your parents. Words of support and understanding help so much actually, so I appreciate you taking the time to share yours with me.

  3. I understand your pain and grief. My dad died suddenly and unexpectedly 21 years ago. I spiraled into a clinical depression and finally antidepressants helped me regain some joy. But it took 2 years before the raw grief became something softer and easier to manage. Time does help eventually, but I still miss him terribly. So sorry.

  4. Nothing is permanent – everything changes. Death is not the end of life, only the beginning of another adventure. Excessive grief can be a selfish endeavor – be thankful for your life and those in it, and those that have been a part of it. Consider yourself fortunate to have had a father that you loved so much – many never experience that bond.

    • Thank you for the reminder, Judy. My grief comes and goes, and I can’t disagree with you that grief is selfish in nature. It does nothing at all for the deceased. I’m trying to just choose to live a life that my dad would be proud of each day.

  5. I agree with Judy— I never experienced that bond. I have read your social media posts for awhile and have to admit that you are an enigma to me. Although I have wondered if your life choices had something to do with your relationship with your father. Father’s typically represent structure and the loss of him may be exposing your need for strong structure in your life. Trust yourself. The love, guidance, and advice your father bestowed upon you lives within you. Teach those virtues to others, no need to scream it never solves anything.

  6. When my mother died years ago it seemed my whole foundation was crumbling, being an only child so much of my being, my identity, was gone. Who else knew all of me as a baby as a child. I cried in my husbands arms for two years every night. Now my husband died after 57 years of marriage, nobody to comfort me, the grief comes in waves…..

    • I’m so sorry to her of your husband’s passing. I pray for your comfort and for your heart to be somehow healed. Without a doubt I believe my father’s death has been the hardest on my step mom. She is lost without him.

  7. So Sorry about the loss of your father.He really influenced you i can tell.I know you don’t have many ppl to hug and lend a shoulder to cry on i know hiw it feels to b

  8. Oh my i don’t even know how to delete my comment above and start over.I basically wanted to send my condolences to you on ur fathers passing. I also wanted to know how you felt or even knewcof Nicole J Hunter Mostafa passing due to cancer.I know you both were lovely friends since you both put a website together… Did you speal w Nicole on her last days Mandi? i hope life has been treating you and your beauty of a daughter very well inshallah!! I wish you could post more blog im A Saudi half American just ad ur daughter is and i love the insight.I live in Riyadh full time but my husband is so super sweet and lets me travel to visit family and he joins me at my last 4 weeks. Just had a beautiful baby and loving my life for now.I hope You Mandi find the forever love YOU DESERVE! Were you and Nicole close close friends a nd did you visit her husband mother home to pay respects to her? Im a curious bug a boo! May Allah grant you the very best of everything…inshallah

    • Hi Deanna, it’s been a long time since we talked! I’m really happy to hear that you are happy here in Riyadh and that you have a new baby! As for me, I have indeed found that love even though I haven’t written about it and despite my difficult time recovering from the loss of my father, life is beautiful for me. Thank you for asking about me and for your condolences.

      Yes, although she and I hadn’t remained close friends over the years, I did know about Nicole’s illness and passing. I did not get to see her in her last days as that privilege was reserved only for her closest friends and family members, but I did have an opportunity to pay my respects to her family and friends here in Riyadh. Her death has shaken us all for sure.

  9. Please Dear Mandy, missing your words of wisdom!!! Been in Jeddah 11 years, I can so relate to everything you talk about. Please I beg you to start writing again!!!! So miss your eloquence and words of wisdom!! I feel like I’m still going through culture shock, and sometimes this place makes me feel like a terrible version of me!!! I miss the nice me!!! I offer my sincere condolences about your Father!!! Inshalla Allah will ease you suffering!!!!!

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