My Dad Didn’t Grieve


Written by: Hayley S.

“How are you?”

My dad loved to jokingly respond to this question by saying, “UNBELIEVABLE!” You never knew which side of the spectrum, but that was the point. It breaks the mold and it’s fun. He was like that.

I’m writing this 8.5 months from my dad’s passing. My journey through grief has been in a word,  unbelievable. A dark and isolating season, broken up with brilliant bursts of gratitude.

I’ve always admired my dad for his work ethic, creativity, and commitment to help others. I’d call him for advice for work, relationships, and how to hang floating shelves. I still get very emotional going into Home Depot because of the smell of sawdust. It floods me with memories of taking Saturday morning trips to pick up parts and pieces for the next home project.

Grief is exhausting and it requires you to DIY. No one can do it for you and there are no quick YouTube videos to teach you everything you need to know either. Above all, you don’t have that person there who used to always have the right answer.

When I think about my purpose, I can’t help but feel discouraged that I will never live up to my dad’s character, his accomplishments, and the legacy of stories and memories he left in the hearts of so many others. How can I possibly do this? And now without him?

My dad never experienced the loss of his dad, my grandfather. It’s not natural and sinks my stomach to think about it. It’s oddly helpful to know that I’m here doing something my dad never did. I never had to see him grieve or in pain. The memory I have of him is just as strong and spirited as the last time we built a fence together. Burst of gratitude.

My grandfather’s courage continues to inspire me and my family. We are all sharing this grief experience, but it’s an entirely unique journey and that’s okay - like watching a movie, but having different insights and conclusions.

To the dear readers that are feeling alone and devastated, trust that your memories will never fade. Like the smell of sawdust jogging a happier time, these vivid reminders pour in and sustain you right when you need it. Look for them. Cherish them. Not even your loved one can do what you’re doing right now, so give yourself grace and patience. Have hope that the memory of love and joy will one day outweigh the pain you’re feeling today.   

Resources that helped me

Books & Articles

GriefShare Workbook ($15)

Christmas: A Reason for Hope. GriefShare blog.

Embraced by the Light by Betty Eadie.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg


Lessons from the other side. The Goop Podcast

Is there proof of a spiritual universe? The Goop Podcast

Dr. BJ Miller: How to Die. Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations   

Steven Pressfield: Unlock Your Creative Genius. Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

#129 Autumn. Reply All.

After Life. Radiolab

13: Gone. Radiolab


Taking walks, Swimming, Volunteering, Working with kids