You Deserve the Love You Keep Trying To Give to Everyone Else

I have attempted to write this post a dozen times, at least. I haven’t shared this very personal thing here and I thought it was time. A friend of mine posted something recently on her Instagram feed and it resonated with me. She wrote ” you can’t give what you don’t have.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been managing my life and business over the last 6 weeks, going through the motions giving and then giving some more to everyone else but myself. Not quite understanding why I wasn’t healing or feeling better. Often we think if we throw ourselves back into work or our responsibilities after a difficult time we are assured to get back on track. Sadly, it’s not the case, at least not for me.

It’s been a struggle to put on a brave face and to go on with my life as normal. But the plain truth is, my life feels anything but normal. I never want to burden you with sadness here, that isn’t the intention of this post. It’s about opening our eyes (my eyes) to self love and realizing that what we give to others we are also deserving of.

Six weeks ago I lost my father unexpectedly. He was one of my closest friends and someone I loved, valued and trusted immensely. It has shaken me to the core. I lost my mom after a long illness when I was 24 and my sister at 34, but this….this pain is different. It has been so difficult at times, it’s as if my heart is being swallowed up & crushed by this grief. He was the best person I knew. Anytime I needed sound advice, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on or someone to share happy news with, he was the one. We got each other through some tough times as well, like my mother and sister’s death. I lived with him under both circumstances, which was such a blessing. He was the epitome strength and optimism. He always had a way of making you see the bright side of things, even in times of despair. He was my light and to many who knew him. He came from nothing, I mean nothing and yet managed to make a stable, secure and abundant life for my family and I. We were/are so proud of him and all he accomplished. He received an academic scholarship to USC and was a part of their esteemed Trojan Marching Band, he even played at the Rose Bowl. He worked at CBS studios in LA where he landed a role as an extra in A Star is Born. He rubbed shoulders with Ronald Reagan, Judy Garland, Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas and more.  He even attended the Oscars in 1954 (wow!) He joined the army after college and met my mother shortly following. He was a hero to many, including myself. He was the MOST fair, kind and generous person who loved history, golf and most of all his family. I am sure by reading this you can tell that he was everything to us. He was the most incredible father a girl could ask for.

I have been stuck in grief. Trying to move forward by getting back to my routine and work. While trying to come to some sort of inner peace. I was at a loss as to why I couldn’t get there. I finally realized that I have been moving since it happened and have taken zero time for myself to heal. In other words, I didn’t give myself permission to grieve and to just be. You can’t make sense of something you don’t allow yourself to feel, in every way. I took a whole week + off from work, it was just for me to find some resemblance of peace again. At the beginning of the week I didn’t know what to do with myself. But by the end it felt natural. I listened to something so profound, it was sent to me at the exact, right time I needed it the most, you can find the podcast HERE.

I had 45 years with my dad and I am so grateful for all of it. There are so many who lose loved ones way too soon. I am one of the lucky ones and I know that. I will tell you a quick story before I go. When I was 2 my dad (42) had a heart attack at Modell’s. He was rushed to the hospital and flown to Cleveland for open heart surgery. He told the doctors that he had a 2 year old at home and he just wanted to see me grow up (my siblings were older.) They gave him 10 years at most. Well…he got to see me grow up, got to see me graduate high school & college, get married and become a mother. He was there for every birthday, special event and occasion. I will cherish the memories and the love for eternity.

I hope this explains why I have been a little MIA. And I also hope that if you are in struggle or going through something similar this will resonate and maybe even help.

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  1. Oh, Jen. No explanations needed but thank you for being so transparent. I’m sorry for your loss — and for all the losses you’ve experienced. That’s a lot. I’m praying for you — for peace and rest.

  2. I’m so sorry. Your dad sounds like an incredible person. You have had a lot of loss and should take as much time as you need. We will all be here when you are ready to come back. <3

  3. Deeply sorry……
    I lost my parents quite suddenly, my Dad first and five years later, my Mom. She was killed in a car accident (along with my sister’s mother-in-law) 12 years ago on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Nevertheless, I hosted Thanksgiving dinner, organized a wake and funeral for the day after, and used the dried hydrangeas from her garden (she gave them to me to use as a centerpiece) to cover her casket. Trust me when I say, I am not a superstar! But here’s how I did it…..every step of the way, I asked myself: what would make Mom proud? And then I just did it (the insane energy the can accompany grief was a big help). Definitely it was close to an out of body experience…..I felt as if I was watching someone else go through the motions. But that kind of became my mantra. What would make my parents proud? Since that time I have married off both my boys and welcomed four grandchildren, with a fifth due in about six weeks. I have assumed quite a large amount of responsibility for those babies, which helps my children and allows me to maintain quite close relationships with my grands.
    My heart goes out to you. There are no shortcuts and you are absolutely right to allow yourself time to process everything. But trust me, every time you do something to make your parents proud it will be like getting a hug from them. Peace is right in front of you…..hope you feel it soon.

  4. I am very sorry for loss of your Dad. He must have been a real treasure, a treasure chest-filled with love and support for his family. Whatever he did to survive his heart attack when he was 42 and you were two, and go on to a full life of love and sharing, you must do too. But all in good time. Wrap yourself in his memories like a warm, cozy blanket and take the time to grieve and heal. When you need to, reach for that warm and cozy memory blanket and cuddle up. All the best, all the time.

  5. My heart goes out to you my friend. You are such a beautiful soul and it radiates every time I see you.
    Sending you big hugs,
    Jamie xoxoxo

  6. Oh, Jen, tears streaming down my face. Can so relate. My dad had me at 40 and a stroke when I was in high school. So many similarities. He was the person I always sought guidance from. I’m thinking of you, sweet friend, and wish I could help you feel better. Sending you a big hug.

  7. Jen, so sorry for your loss. You are such a super person and you bring such joy to all of us. You will get through this! You had 45 wonderful years with your father, a lot of people never have anywhere near that. I will add you and your family to my prayers this week. Here is a big hug and kiss to you!

  8. My heart goes out to you, Jen. The most beautiful thing is that you were so well loved. This is exactly why it hurts so much. May the sadness leave your heart and be flooded with beautiful memories of your dad.

  9. This made me cry, but I just couldn’t stop reading. What a beautiful testament to your father. I’m so sorry for your loss and pray that you find peace in your days ahead. Memories are a wonderful thing to hold onto. ❤️

  10. Jen, what a beautiful post. Your love and pride for your dad is evident in your words. I hope the upcoming days will be filled with less grief and more joy in the remembrance of your dad and the precious gift of your memories. Hugs to you.

  11. My heart goes out to you! It’s amazing the bonds we form with parents, I lost my mom when I was 13, and once I lived longer without her than with her, it really hit home how powerful that bond is! Looks like you have many wonderful memories with your dad, I hope those memories help sustain you!

  12. Jen, I can completely understand how you are feeling. I have experienced the loss of both my parents, 2 sisters and the unbearable loss of my twin brother. Just writing it is still so shocking to me. I was only 9 when my father died suddenly of a heart attack. When I was 23 my sister passed after a 7 year battle with cancer. My mother passed away from COPD when I was 45. Eight years later at the age of 53 my twin brother suddenly died from the same heart issue that took my father. Just 5 1/2 months later my oldest sister passed of an aneurysm. Three years and 2.5 years of grief therapy , later, I am struggling. March is my birth month, so the loss of my twin brother Randy is heavy on my heart and mind. It is so hard to find someone to relate to all of this loss. I feel so along in all of this. My husband and children are always so supportive which is such a blessing but it is still so lonely on this journey of grief. My therapist told me I would need to find someone in their 80s or 90s to find someone who really understand what this loss feels like. I wish you comfort and time to accept all that you are experiencing. I wish I could take this away for you. Hugs and much caring I send to you.

  13. Oh Jenn, he sounds so much like my Daddy. My heart goes out to you and though I have never met you I wish I could give you a big hug and a shoulder to cry on. You need to take time to heal and really work through this process. I will be holding you up in prayer.

  14. Jen, please know our hearts go out to you. Your sweet father sounded like the best. Sending you love and prayers at this sad time.

  15. Your loss is heartbreaking, and the loss of a beloved parent is doubled. As much as we love your posts, your healing and giving yourself the time you need to grieve are most important. Be good to yourself and take that time. My prayers are for you and your family.

  16. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. Take all the time you need to heal your heart. Your Dad sounds like he was an amazing man.

  17. What a moving post….I can feel your pain through your words. He sounds like such a wonderful parent with qualities we all strive to have. Thank you for sharing this and I hope each day, the sting becomes a little less for you.

  18. I understand…. Truly. I met a Bereavement Counselor for the first time yesterday. My husband died six weeks ago.
    I am exhausted mentally and physically and I have now come to the realization that I need to give myself some time for myself. Notice the “I”……….
    It’s time for me to love myself and build me!

  19. Jennifer, Beautifully expressed of a shared experience that all of us have been through at one time or another. Being able to open up to others and express in writing how we are feeling can really be the catharsis that helps to lift the heaviness from one’s heart. I know that you were also the light through difficult times for your Dad when it was really what each of you needed, just to be there for each other. Know that he is still here for you, if not physically but he will always be that little voice that remains within you whenever you are seeking answers or experiencing both good and difficult times. He will always be for you, your strength and encouragement. Be happy for all the good times and love that you were so fortunate to have shared and take solace in those memories.

  20. I am so sorry for your loss. I can “hear” the grief in your post. Now this will sound crazy but there is a Willie Nelson song I heard recently – “You don’t get over it, you get through it”. And that’s how many of us have to handle our grief, not getting over it but just getting through it. This I pray for you.

  21. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can certainly relate to what/how you are feeling. My Dad was my rock and I lost him in 1999 but I still miss him dearly to this day. My thoughts and prayers are with you during your struggle with grief.

  22. I’m soooo sorry for your loss. It’s always difficult to lose someone close especially a parental more so une😣xpectedly. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Take as much time as you need to heal…

  23. Dearest Jenn,
    What a beautiful tribute to your Dad. Men of such integrity are rare. You are blessed to have such a loving bond. That bond will live on. The soul is too powerful to die. You will always be connected.That having been said this is a profound loss and the grief will come waves. Take care of yourself as you go through this sad time in your life. I’m sure you have family and friends to support you, but don’t forget you have your readers too. You have our love and prayers.

  24. Hey Jen,
    I lost my mom when I was 51, she was 85. She had a good life, her death wasn’t sudden…but STILL. I have to say it took a full year to process out of that active grief. What I learned is that you can’t rush grieving. It made me long for the older societies that would require that I wear black for a year and put a black wreath on my door. Instead I walked and walked ’til I felt better.
    As much as we want to hurry that process along, I think not taking the time we require to grieve will ultimately make the whole sad thing last longer and not be as healthy. I am so sorry for your loss. As I told my kids the year of my sadness, I was lucky to have a mom that made me miss her so. Not everyone is so blessed! You were beyond lucky with your dad, and he has left a big gap in your life. xoxo

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