Life Without Dad – Year 1 (See Jane Reminisce)

It’s been 13 months since my dad passed over the other side.  Although, I keep this blog fashion-oriented, I owe it to myself and whomever is reading out there, to keep writing about what I love.  I’m not the best writer or conveyer of thoughts, but it’s very cathartic for me, so that’s why I do it.  My dad was a writer.  A poet, actually.  When we started to clean out his things in the house where I grew up, he found several journals, notes, cards, post-its, passing thoughts–all buried in a disorganized fashion through various nooks and drawers.  Seeing his entry from when John Lennon was assassinated was an interesting tidbit as were his deep thoughts as he traveled across the country on his motorcycle solo.

It’s funny–when someone dies, you have a tendency to canonize them, only seeing their positive traits and sweeping their faults under the rug.  This isn’t to air my grievances towards my father, quite the opposite, actually.  My dad was pragmatic, but wistful.  Sharp-witted, but empathetic.  Hilarious, but never dared laugh at himself.  I think now that I’ve slowly started to accept his death, I am trying to comprehend him as the human he was–flaws and all.  One of the things I admired most about him was his ability to admit his imperfections.  One of the most poignant examples was the ability to admit that he was an alcoholic. I have no memories of my father drinking; he had been sober for nearly three decades, but the fact that he recognized he had a problem and acted upon it was a hallmark of the person he was.  Growing up, I wondered why he didn’t drink have a beer after work or cocktails with my mom like all the other parents; as I grew up, and started experimenting with drinking as a teenager, I knew (along with my siblings) that it was inevitable that my Dad (or Mom, really) wouldn’t approve of ‘typical’ teenage behavior, but also that as someone who lived through it himself, he needed to let us live our lives and trust that the values he instilled in us would guide us towards good judgement.  Even more impressive, was how many people he helped in the recovery community.  At his funeral, there wasn’t enough space for all attendees to even get into the door; I didn’t know many people there, but smiled knowing that my dad had an impact on so many lives.

Ever since he died, I only want to listen to oldies.  Anything Beatles (see journal note above:  he was a diehard John Lennon fan), 60s, 70s; as a song comes on, I try to think of what he was like at the time that song debuted.  What did he think while listening to this song?  Did he act like a cool guy with his friends but secretly hum it to himself in the car?  Did he buy the record for that one song?  Had he met my mom yet?

Life.  It will never be the same.  When I think about months or even decades ahead, it’s hard to reconcile that my dad won’t be part of it.  I guess what I’m trying to say in this somewhat incoherent post is that: I miss him.


  1. I so appreciate your honesty & transparency – so many of us have dealt with a devastating loss like yours and this helps me feel less alone in my grieving process. Both my mom & dad had parents who were alcoholics and because they feared it was hereditary, they never went near liquor at all when we were kids. I can definitely look back and respect their decision.

  2. Jane, I am so sorry about the loss of your dad. Your post today is such a nice way to remember him. I lost my dad unexpectedly 7 years ago in June of 2008. I still miss him to this day. Time has healed the hole that I felt was in me after he died, but I still think of him often and still wish he were here. Losing a parent is one of the hardest things to go through in life. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us today.


  3. ….and you'll miss him forever, because he was your dad.
    I lost mine 15 years ago (I'm 30), and I recently thought that I passed a half of my life without him.
    I remember that when he passed away, I cut my hair, and I thought "he doesn't see me: he doesn't told me if I'm a pretty girl with my new haircut".
    Now he is the only photo that I have to have with me….
    I send you a huge hug, I know what you're passing by.

  4. I still have those moments when I think about my grandmother. She left us the day before I turned thirteen and I'm almost 27 now. I don't have quite as many memories of her, but I still think of her almost daily. It started off really hard, but now I just smile when I think of her. Hopefully that happens for you soon!

  5. Thanks for sharing these very personal thoughts. My mom passed away 6 years ago and there are still moments when I grieve deeply for her. I have a son now and that is probably what bothers me the most–her missing getting to know him, me missing her helping me through the challenges of parenthood. Thinking of you and wishing you peace and strength.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this. My father passed away just last week after two years of declining health. I stayed my grieving process while he was still alive but I'm facing the same struggle as you- to remember and honor him as the man he was, not as a saint. Again, I'm so grateful that you shared this post both for your healing and for mine. Peace be with you.

  7. hi anna- you and I unfortunately share the loss of our fathers in common. I lost my father 14 months ago and find the words for him get stuck in my throat yet the thoughts never seem to stop.

    Hang in there.


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