The way we will miss you, miss you,
the steady flow of your rhythm in our lives, love you,
oh how we love you…
from Radiance by Phyllis Klein
For girls, your father starts out being the most important man in your life. You are born with great capacity to love and be loved. Fathers offer the male perspective and sensibility into their daughters lives. When your father tries to understand you as a girl/woman and doesn’t try to push you to be someone else, you can develop good self esteem. If your father praises you rather than criticizes, you will feel confidence and develop assertiveness.
For girls who have such special fathers, the grief of loss when your father dies very powerful. It can feel as if you have lost your best friend and guide in life.
In trying to cope with the magnitude of the losing your father, it is important to honor him and let people know what a special man he was. Keeping photographs, possessions, and special momentos can be comforting. Some women may wear their father’s ties, jackets, or sweaters. If you have male friends and/or a partner, this is a good time to lean into their support. Attending a grief group can also be very helpful.
There is no quick way to navigate through this kind of grief. You may hear people say to be “gentle” with yourself. What does this mean? Of course it is different for different people. For many it means slowing down and not expecting as much of yourself. You may not be able to be as productive as you are normally for a time. It may mean forgiving yourself if you are forgetful, distracted, tearful at embarrassing moments, or irritable. It could mean being around people who are kind and thoughtful to you rather than those who cause bad feelings for whatever reason. If you need to work, it can be helpful to ease back into work slowly rather than right away if you can manage that. You might want to try some soothing activities such as massage, yoga, gentle exercise, or hot tubs. And small things can be really helpful like a special lotion for your skin.
Of course nothing will make this experience easy. But with time you can gain perspective and hold your father close even if he is not here as a living person.