Grief’s Little Sister: Disappointment


  Photo Credit: Pinterest

We have all seen it.  We have all experienced it.  When someone we once respected disappoints us we climb to the highest mountain and declare our disappointment to the world while others sit back and wait for karma to do her job.  However we handle disappointment it leaves a scalding sting.

You’ll end up really disappointed if you think people will do for you as you do for them…” ¬†Unknown

But how do you handle disappointment while grieving?  How do you handle disappointment during a time when you are at your most vulnerable and desperately need additional TLC?

Pain deserves acknowledgement not repair. ¬† ¬†We live in a society were grief and death are taboo. ¬†Society has no idea on how to handle grief. ¬†For many non-grievers they have a strong urge to “fix” you. ¬†They want you to “feel better.” ¬†When in reality a grieving person is not sick,¬†you can only be there for them.

The massive void in my heart has taken up permanent residency. It’s¬†a void that only my father can fill.

Losing my Dad has altered my life forever.

I will never be the same.

We shared beautiful memories that were ours.  Memories that shaped our relationship and are forever a part of me.

In the four¬†months that my Dad is¬†gone he¬†would be happy to see how so many friends and family have been so kind and compassionate. ¬†He would be upset and shocked at the individuals who fanned the flames of gossip during¬†the darkest moments of his¬†family’s¬†existence. They didn’t have¬†the patience and the¬†compassion to support us.

Because I am my father’s daughter I forgive them. ¬†I pity them for their weakness and ignorance.¬†For they will never know the definition of pure, unconditional love.

Losing my Dad has changed my view of the world.  My grief has forced me to reevaluate relationships and prioritize my life.

I will not allow my disappointment to cloud my grief.  I will never be the same now that my Dad is gone.  I am now someone who has lost a parent, a best friend, my hero.  One of the greatest challenges of losing a parent is that so few really understand.  Oh sure, people SAY they understand but if they truly did understand would they gossip and judge because you are not grieving to their standards?

Grief won’t win. ¬†Disappointment won’t win.

Dad, I promise you that you will always be remembered and loved.

I am your daughter.  I will be your voice, I will share your story,  I will share the brave battle you fought.  As long as I have breath in me, I will be your living, breathing legacy.

I will let go of my disappointment and simply be sad as I mourn the loss of my hero.






Through My Father’s Eyes


 Rehab February 2015

If I stare at myself long enough in the mirror I can see my father’s eyes. ¬†In the four months that my Dad has passed, I find myself doing this quite a bit, it’s almost become a ritual.¬† Staring in the mirror searching for my father’s eyes. ¬†I caught myself doing this at a red light the other day, I can only imagine what the driver next to me was thinking. ¬†“No Officer, I’m not drunk, ¬†I’m just searching for my dead father in my reflection.”


Through my father’s eyes I can see happiness and hope. ¬†I can remember the good times, the times when he was healthy and we laughed. ¬†The times when I danced on the top of his feet to doo wop music in the living room.¬† The times when he was enjoying his favorite meal and was cancer free. ¬†Through my father’s eyes I can see my biggest fan cheering me¬†from the sidelines, always encouraging me to better myself.

I share my father’s DNA and much of his personality. ¬†I want to be happy again, but grieving is so complicated. ¬†My grief has morphed me into a real life Dr. Jekyll and Hyde.¬†¬†My heart hurts and my shoulders ache from the pressures of grieving. ¬†The agonizing pain of grief has ripped a hole in my heart and left a massive void.

This blog, this community of readers are an incredible resource.  I find solace with each and every one of you.  Strangers connected by our own tremendous loss. Each of us desperately trying to find our way.

Friends have said, “You’re still upset???” I lost my father, the man who raised me, my best friend,¬†he was a significant part of my life.¬†¬†I’m starting to¬†think that¬†some individuals¬† mourn the loss of their iPhone more than the loss of a loved one.

Death and grief¬†are taboo despite the fact that we all die.¬†A simple act of acknowledging someone’s loss provides incredible comfort to the griever.¬† If you don’t acknowledge¬†our pain you are¬†slamming the door in our face and putting¬†us on mute, you are sending¬†us a message that¬†our¬†loss is insignificant to you.

“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s been four months since my father has been¬†given his angel wings. ¬†How can four months seem so endless, yet go by so quickly?¬†¬†I still feel like I’m waiting, waiting for him to come home from the hospital. ¬†Waiting for him to answer the phone and announce, “It’s my Lisa Mia!” Eventually I will realize that he’s¬†not coming home from the hospital and he¬†won’t be answering the phone anymore. ¬†I hope I’m strong enough to handle that moment. ¬†Right now I’m ok with living in denial because the pain is unbearable.

Countless¬†individuals have shown my family¬†the power of true, unconditional love. Friends near and far have moved heaven and earth for¬†one purpose. ¬†To help memorialize their great friend and provide comfort and support to his family. ¬†I am forever indebted to these folks. ¬†There are not enough thank you’s for the love you continue to show my family.

Grief rips you apart.

Grief changes you.

It’s difficult to imagine¬†I will never see my father’s¬†face again or hear his¬†voice again. Even in death he is¬†showing me that he’s¬†by my side. ¬† I see my father in my dreams, a few nights ago I was hugging him so tight, knowing when I let go he would vanish. ¬†He was glowing, he was smiling again, he was healthy again.¬† I felt a grandiose sensation of peace and love, I didn’t want to let go.¬†¬†He smiled and told me to “Be happy.”¬† I believe that was a visitation dream. ¬†I struggle to find the words to describe the feeling of love and comfort that dream gave me.¬† My wish is for anyone¬†reading this and is grieving to have the same experience.¬† It was a monumental moment during my grieving process.¬† I am constantly finding fluffy white feathers, I even felt him brush my hair back the other day.¬† I am never alone, my father is always with me, and I’m beyond grateful.¬† But I’m selfish,¬†I want my father¬†here like it used to be.

I wanted a miracle.

I wanted my father healthy again.

I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

I miss my father’s guidance and wisdom. ¬†I miss my father’s friendship. ¬†I miss the beautiful rapport I had with my father, his ability to be my father yet speak to me like I was his equal.

I miss my father!

I return to the mirror and search for¬†my father’s eyes. ¬†Through my father’s eyes I can see my journey, my future. ¬†It’s blurry, but he is urging me to continue, to find happiness as I memorialize him. ¬†I don’t want to lose sight ¬†of my journey, so with a heavy heart I will carry on. ¬†Through my father’s eyes I can see a reflection of who I am meant to be.

“The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.” –¬† Unknown


My First Father’s Day without my Dad

IMG_3376One of my father’s greatest gifts was his ability to love others unconditionally, flaws and all. ¬†When¬†I would complain to him about my perception of one’s ignorance he would always smile and say,¬†“Lisa honey ignore them. ¬†Be happy.”¬†

If you Google “First Father’s Day without Dad” you will instantly become¬†inundated¬†with post after post.¬† It’s only May and I’m feeling the anxiety building up for my very own first father’s day without my Dad. ¬†I’ve been living on Advil and feeling sick to my stomach at the thought of it. ¬†There are no words to describe the heartache I’m feeling and how much I miss my father.

As a¬†little girl I would rush into my parents bedroom Father’s Day morning with my best attempt at serving breakfast in bed screaming,¬†“Happy Father’s Day Daddy!¬† My Dad is so rad!!!”¬†¬†Maybe not the best poem, but hey I was a kid. ¬†One particular Father’s Day I tripped onto their bed, spilled the entire bowl of¬†Cheerios¬†on both my parents, milk and all. ¬†I can still hear my father laughing and thanking me for thinking of him.

You simply cannot escape the Father’s Day madness. ¬†The other day I took a massive detour in the grocery store to avoid walking past the overwhelming,¬†obnoxious Father’s Day display of greeting cards. Bad enough the music they play now makes me cry at the drop of a hat. ¬†I refuse to walk¬†past the greeting card aisle until Father’s Day is long gone. ¬†As if¬†all¬†that¬†isn’t bad enough there’s the¬†never ending¬†Father’s Day¬†advertising.

Buy¬†Dad a grill set this Father’s Day! ¬†

Bring home a delicious ice cream cake for Dad this Father’s Day!

Take Dad out for a big juicy¬†steak¬†this Father’s Day!

Pretty much every single Father’s Day advertisement revolves around food. ¬†Way¬†before I began grieving the death of my father, I was grieving the loss of his ability to eat. Our family became quite creative each holiday.¬† We proudly pounded our chests and exclaimed,¬†“We do not need to revolve our holidays around food!‚Ä̬†¬†Despite all this, a small piece¬†of me was envious of¬†the endless social media posts proudly displaying other¬†families enjoying a¬†mouth watering¬†Father’s Day meal.¬† I wanted so¬†badly to take my father to a restaurant for¬†his favorite meal and¬†raise my glass to my father on his special day.

My normal routine leading up to Father’s Day would start with me asking my father the following,¬†“Dad what do¬†you want this year?”¬†Like many Dads he would respond,¬†“You, your sister and your mother are my gifts, just be happy.”¬†¬† I would then drive myself crazy finding him the perfect¬†set of pajamas, perhaps something personalized for him, something to remind him just¬†how much I adored him.¬† I would¬†mail¬†him at least 3 cards.¬† A funny card,¬†a mushy sentimental card and another card because I could never make my mind up.¬†

This year the will be no searching for the perfect gift, no quest for the perfect card, no beating myself up thinking of something non food related to make my father smile.  My father died after a long, valiant battle with Stage IV base of the tongue cancer.  My only purchase will be some nice flowers and candles to put on his grave.

Just four months ago, I watched my father, the most wonderful man I know die. ¬†First, cancer stole his ability to eat. ¬†Slowly he lost so much weight that you could count his ribs. ¬†Then he could no longer use the restroom¬†on his own or get out of bed on his own. ¬†During the final days of his life he was so weak he couldn’t even lift his hand to press the button on the remote control for the television. ¬†¬†Eventually my father’s voice became so¬†gurgly¬†it was a challenge to¬†understand what he was trying to tell us. ¬†Bit by bit cancer was ripping my father apart and I had a front row seat.¬†

Now all I’m left with are a lifetime of beautiful memories that send me into a tailspin of anxiety, depression, endless tears and a broken heart. ¬† If you’re reading this and your father is alive promise me you will hug your father this Father’s Day and take him out to dinner. ¬†Promise me you if you were blessed like me you will thank your father for a wonderful life.

If you’re like me,¬†and you have lost a father whom you love and adore let’s embrace Father’s Day with gratitude and courage. ¬†Let’s celebrate the our father’s memory and courage. ¬†Countless individuals walk through life¬†never experiencing¬†unconditional fatherly love, to them Father’s Day represents a massive void. ¬† There are many¬†who will never know the love of a father. ¬†When I think of this, I realize that I have been blessed with a magnificent man for a father.¬†¬†

My father has always been my hero, the man who loved me unconditionally and made everything better. Even in death, he continues to show me he is always there¬†for me. ¬†This Father’s Day I will do something to honor my father. ¬†Maybe I’ll release balloons, plant a tree, pay it forward. ¬†I haven’t decided yet, but I will do something to make my new guardian angel proud and smile.


Happy Father’s Day in heaven Daddy, I love you more.

You Returned Home To Life


 When you attend a funeral as a guest, you return home to life, vigor, vitality.  The immediate family heads home to a new life, a life with a massive void, a life that was not asked for, but handed to them.  The immediate family, the widow returns home to a house that now has a new emptiness.

The day we buried my beloved Dad I remember the funeral director shaking my hand, offering his condolences and announcing, “and now comes the hard part.” ¬†He wasn’t kidding.

Life as it once was is forever changed. ¬†Laughter is now replaced with a sad silence. ¬†A chair is now empty. ¬†After my father passed I remember sitting in my parents home thinking, “Did the house become bigger????”¬† There is an¬†entire¬†closet of clothes that are now without an owner. ¬†Countless medicines without a patient must now be disposed. ¬†The feeding pump that was once humming in the background is forever silenced. ¬†The walker is now folded and stored. ¬†All the gadgets hospice brought in for comfort now appear sad and lonely without an owner. Golf clubs patiently waiting for their owner to return home well again. Endless tools and unfinished projects in the garage that will remain incomplete.

So many beautiful memories, many are just too painful to remember. ¬†I feel physically ill as I remember the life we once had. ¬†I feel angry that my family was robbed. ¬†Many times I sit in restaurants and see women who appear to be my age out to dinner with her parents and turn green with envy. ¬†I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help but think to myself, “This is not how our story was suppose to be. ¬†I miss my Dad!”

Time ticks on and our¬†wounds barley have a scab over them. ¬†Life seems so empty. ¬†I call the house phone to hear my father’s voice, and sometimes hope this is just a nightmare and he will answer. ¬†Dreaded firsts come and go and with each one a¬†tsunami sized wave of grief come crashing down. ¬†Many times it feels like someone is standing on my windpipe, I can barely catch my breath.

I can see my mother aging before my eyes. ¬†I feel helpless watching her grieve her soulmate. ¬†I am constantly thinkimg to myself, “If I hurt this bad, how is she surviving?” And with that thought¬†fear and anxiety take over and I panic. ¬†I beg God to not take my mother too.

There are migraines, sweaty palms, stomachaches, tears, anger and frustration. Grief has now taken residence where my father once lived.  I wonder how we are going to survive this loss.  The pain is excruciating, the loss is more than I ever could have imagined.

When you attend a funeral you go home to life.  The immediate family suffers a major loss.  The widow faces a new reality, one that was not asked for.  The real grieving begins after the funeral.  Give the family more than sympathy, judgement and gossip.  Give the family what you would want, give them compassion and kindness.  Your act of kindness and grace could be that one act that is their life support when the waves of grief come crashing down.



Growing Older Isn’t a Crisis, It’s a Blessing

  We need to stop complaining to the world that we are getting old.  You know who I’m talking about.  The people who post a stunning filtered selfie and caption it  “OMG I’m getting SOOO old!”  Meanwhile you know it took them about 500 snaps to get that perfect selfie.  Stop. This. Now.   Or the 20 something year old with the status that says, “I’m soooooooooo old” in her best Cher from Clueless voice.  If you’re too young to remember “Clueless” I urge you to google it, I promise you will giggle. Or your best friend constantly complaining how she’s getting older and we are the exact same age.  So you just silent eyeroll to them.  Look, we are all guilty as charged, myself included.

But we need to STOP.  I decided to compose a list of why we all need to stop this now.

  1. Getting older is a gift –  I’ve lost too many people this year who weren’t even old enough to collect social security.  Complaining about aging is disrespectful to all the other human beings who will not make it to their next birthday.
  2. You’re probably insulting quite a few people around youWhen you constantly complain about growing older you’re basically saying anyone older than you is a fossil.  And that’s not nice.
  3. You sound attention starved – let’s be honest, when we post a perfectly filtered photo of ourselves claiming we are old we kinda look like we are fishing for a compliment.  Live and learn, I’ve done this myself.
  4. Loosen up, no one is watching you anyway –Everyone is too busy worried about themselves. Start dancing like no one is watching and enjoy that dance.

Think of yourself as a fine wine improving with age.

My father was diagnosed with Stage IV base of the tongue cancer at the young age of 60. He fought for 7 years to live and enjoy the gift of growing older with his family. We started 2016 with a good friend taken too soon at the very young age of 38. Countless individuals are handed angel wings too soon. 

Take a moment to remember all your loved ones gone too soon. 

Cherish your life, embrace the gift of growing older. Many never will receive that gift.

When Cancer Forces You to Say Goodbye

love is infinite

Papa & Kayla 2015

Losing someone you love is a very painful experience.  Watching someone you love valiantly battle cancer is a life changing experience.  I watched my father fight Stage IV base of the tongue cancer for 7 years.   There are no words to describe how helpless I felt as I watched my father slowly die before my eyes.  Something outside of my control was slowly taking my father from me.

One thing that is for sure, no matter how difficult circumstances became throughout  my father’s illness I always found a way to express my love for my father.  I always entered my father’s room full of hope ready to embrace the day.  During each telephone conversation, each visit, I was wearing my battle gear right along side my Dad.  We were going to try our best to beat this together, as a family.  I made sure to show…

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Respect Is Earned, Not Given

Congratulations on your accomplishment! What a wonderful milestone!!! ¬†You endured sleepless nights, endless blood, sweat and tears.¬† You worked hard to get where you are and I’m proud of you.

Thank you for the invite to toast your happiness, but I must respectfully decline.

Actually, I do not have to do anything.  When you read my letter I hope you can understand why.

I’m¬†sure you are¬†aware that my father recently passed after a long, difficult¬†illness.¬†¬†As a matter of fact, I know you are aware. ¬†There was a point where I inundated my social media with hospital selfies¬†with my Dad, you even put a little sad face emoji on one of them.

I’ve sent you holiday cards, birthday cards, attended your numerous celebrations, I have even taken time off from my job to attend your functions. ¬†All while my father was dying.

My happiness is a limited resource right now, and I must use it wisely.  You had almost four months to send a card, call or text.  Anything!  Just acknowledge my loss the way I have acknowledged your milestones in life.

For the first few weeks I gave you the benefit of the doubt.  I checked the mail daily only to find nothing.  I double checked my voice and text messages in case I may have missed something.  Only to find silence.



Is my grief not as significant as your¬†fourth marriage? ¬†Or the birth of your child? Or your graduation?¬†Or your housewarming party where somehow I was duped into purchasing Pampered Chef items I really didn’t need from you?¬† Congratulations by the way those are all wonderful milestones.¬†¬†However, unlike your multiple marriages I’m unable to replace my father.¬† I mean I can’t exactly go on and find a new Dad.¬† And I’m not judging, I’m divorced myself.¬† I just thought after years of “friendship” you were aware of the bond I fused with my father and the incredible amount of pain I’m in.¬† I didn’t just lose my father, I lost my best friend.

I thought our friendship was a two way street.

I thought you respected me enough to acknowledge my father’s passing.

I thought you respected our friendship enough to acknowledge my father’s passing.

I’m sorry my grief makes you uncomfortable, it makes me uncomfortable all the time. My grief is¬†a reminder that I have loved deeply and grieve the joys that once were and never will be.¬† It’s a reminder that I was blessed to have a magnificent man I proudly called “Daddy” throughout¬†my life.

Grief is messy, unpredictable and never ending.  Grief forces you to reevaluate the relationships in your life.  I need to surround myself with people who are there for me not just for the good times, but the bad times too.

I wish you well, I wish you happiness however, I cannot attend your celebration.


Photo Credit:  Love This Pic






I Lost More Than A Father, I Lost My Best Friend

Few things in life are as powerful for a man than a daughter who adores him.  The bond between a father and a daughter is one of the greatest of bonds in your lifetime.  There is something simply amazing about bonding with your father.  Growing up my father was my hero, my idol, he was larger than life.  Maybe that’s because when you have a Dad like I did you learn at a very young age that your father is the one man who will never let you down and who loves you unconditionally.

My father taught me to love life.  For a short time in elementary school I went to a math tutor.  She was a nice lady who reeked of cigarette smoke, had Bruce Springsteen posters plastered on her walls and always had potato chips on the table.    I hated math, so by default I hated this poor woman.  I was around 6 or 7 years old and my father dropped me off to my math tutor every Saturday morning for an hour.  One Saturday morning on our way to the Math tutor I informed my father that I really didn’t want to go.  He smiled and said, “Ok, what would you like to do today?”  I quickly responded with, “Let’s go for breakfast.” And just like that my father took me to the diner.  He swore me to secrecy, so much that I’m pretty sure when my Mom reads this she will be shocked.  Sorry Mom!

Carvel ice cream was a regular with my Dad during the summer.  My heart smiles when I reminisce about us piling into the car on a hot summer day for ice cream.  My Dad also liked to tease anyone and everyone.  My favorite back then was chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles.  I remember ordering my usual and my Dad informing me that the chocolate sprinkles were in fact chocolate covered ants.  35 years later and I’m still giggling and I have yet to indulge in chocolate sprinkles again.

That was my Dad, he had a magical way of making everything fun.  Throughout my entire life I went to my father for everything.  Even when I made colossal mistakes he was always by my side.  My father unselfishly gave to both my sister & I our entire lives.  He taught me how to give and love unconditionally.

As I grew up my Dad became my best friend.  He was the guy I went to for advice on everything.  Not a day passed that we did not speak, we would spend hours talking,  although he preferred baseball and politics. We ended each conversation with, “I love you more.”

Throughout my divorce and my father’s cancer he was my anchor.  Accepting my father’s mortality has been the single most difficult moment in my life.

My father’s cancer prevented him from eating or drinking orally.  A big piece of my heart died when my father’s ability to eat was taken away.  During his final days, I was limited to massaging his back to ease his pain.  He was so weak it took two of us to lift him so I could massage his back.  As I was massaging his back I could feel every vertebrae and rib, I became completely overwhelmed with terror.  A lump started forming in my throat as I fought back a waterfall of tears.

“Thank you honey,” he whispered between gasps of pain, trembling hands and vacant eyes.  I quietly sobbed at my father’s vulnerability.  My heart ached so much I was certain I was having a heart attack at that moment.

My father held my hand my entire life, and I held his as he took his last breath.

I was given a chance many people never have.  Between many tears and a breaking heart, I told my father how much I loved him, and that I appreciate all he has done for me.  I thanked him for loving me unconditionally and the sacrifices he made throughout my life.

During my father’s final hours, I whispered, ‚ÄúYou‚Äôre my best friend, Dad.  Thank you for making my life a real life fairy tale.‚ÄĚ

Today is four months my father is gone.  I miss him more and more each day.  Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them.




Be Thankful For Your Ability To Eat


 I think about my father every single day.  I think about the pain and suffering he endured. I think about my father every single time I enter a restaurant or roam the food court in the mall.  I think about him every time my senses are overwhelmed by the robust smells of food.  I think about my Dad every single time I take a bite of food.

When I enter my favorite Italian restaurant the exquisite smell of food is so powerful I am moved to tears.  I am reminded of the life my father lived for 7 years.  A life without a morsel of food or an ounce of liquid.  Choking on what little saliva remained in his mouth. Yearning to eat again, fighting with every fiber of his being to stay alive.  Putting on his brave face and trying his best to sit at the table with us while we ate and he fumbled with his feeding tube.  Listening to our guests complain that their food had too much salt, too many peppers (yeah that really happened!) as he quietly inserted the syringe in his feeding tube and administered his feeding via a peg tube.  Quietly wishing that his biggest complaint was not enough peppers but also quietly forgiving our village idiot, I mean our guest for his ignorance.

The majority of our social lives revolves around food.  We are constantly “breaking bread” with others.  Holidays, special events, everything revolves around food.  My goodness just count how many television commercials have food in it!  Food is everywhere we turn!

My father died unable to eat a morsel of food or drink an ounce of liquid because his cancer prevented him from enjoying something so many of us take for granted.  My father died choking to death on what little saliva remained in his mouth after aggressive radiation treatments.  I’m haunted by the memories of suctioning giant clumps of phlegm from my father’s mouth during the final days of his life.  My hands trembling as I stuck a massive tube in my father’s mouth, tears brimming my eyes as I pleaded with God to help us.  Quietly praying, begging and pleading with God to make my father comfortable during the final days of his life.  My father watching me with tears in his eyes apologizing to me that he was too weak to do this himself.  Both of us emotionally exhausted and heartbroken from this trauma.  When I finished with this medieval contraption I kiss my father on his forehead and remind him he’s still my superhero and a little suction machine wasn’t going to change that.  I’m certain the sounds of my heart breaking were deafening that night.

I proudly wear the scars from my father’s battle.  I helplessly watched my father bravely fight to regain his ability to eat again.  Years of endless swallowing therapy, having his esophagus stretched.  All sorts of crazy things just to enjoy one last bite of food.  I become enraged at the cruel, out of line jokes when you mention swallowing therapy to someone unaffected by a swallowing disorder.  Therapy that in the end only gave my father unnecessary anguish and was never enough to jumpstart his muscles allowing him to eat again.  I see no humor in my father’s dysphagia.  I see no humor in anyone that suffers endlessly and dies longing to eat.  Even a criminal on death row gets a final meal before dying.

I choose to live my life and embrace it.  If I choose to indulge today and have a big greasy cheeseburger washed down by an ice cold beer I will enjoy every last bite.  I will not go complain to my Facebook friends how I “cheated” on my “diet”because I know better.  I will not fall victim to the latest and greatest fad diet.  I will thank God that I’m able to enjoy my meals.

On the days when my life becomes overwhelming I will take a deep breath and be thankful because I know it could be so much worse.