Here are 31 men, reflecting on the loss of their father and how it affected them.
You don’t imagine losing your parents while growing up and when it happens, it can be the most traumatic experience one can ever have. Of course its inevitable and of-course it will happen to all of us in some manner and in some form. But in hearing the stories of others who’ve suffered such a loss, comfort and understanding can arise.
We spoke to 31 men, some fathers, some on their way to becoming fathers and they expressed how they felt on losing their father. As such, grief is underlying to all we spoke, but there was also hope and promise for better times.
Here’s what they said
Josh Turner from Ontario states, ” I watched my dad take his last breath when I was 11 was one of the most traumatizing things I have ever seen I still see it when I got to sleep 25 years later watching the suffering and not being able to do anything about it but also it makes u cherish the things u have and makes you remember tomorrow is never promised no matter who u are or what your doing”
Adam Liam Coleman from UK states ” In 2017, i found my Dad collapsed on the floor having a massive stroke which changed his life as well as ours. Luckily he pulled through the stroke but it left him with a severe speech impediment and him completely paralysed down his left side. My mother (his Wife) turned to drink. She became an abusive and horrible alcoholic. She became selfish and didn’t care for anyone but himself. For 6 months i visited the hospital every day at every chance i got, i had to make up excuses about why she wasn’t there. Myself and my partner cared for my Dad for the next 2 years caring for his basic needs such as showering etc. We had to protect my Dad from my Mum who constantly abused him, court orders, many police attendances.
It was horrible to watch such an independent man with his own tiling business change to not being able to create a conversation. Me and my partner worked so hard to try and get him out of this situation through law. Me and my other half had twin girls which lit up his life and are his only happiness.
We finally found my Dad an assisted living apartment and we were about to move him when one morning i found him Dead. He died last year of a sudden cardiac related death. He died the day after his 60th birthday and he didn’t get to see our girls 1st birthday.
The pain and upset you feel daily is explainable, it changed me as a person. My goal now is to give me children everything i didn’t have in life. As you can probably guess, i have no relations with my Mother and neither do my children.”
Steve Hannah from British Columbia states ” I lost my dad when I was 15. I’m 33 now I still miss him as much today as I did when he died. Even more now that he wasn’t there for my wedding and that he won’t get to meet his grandson.
We were very close and because of that strong relationship we had it makes me want to have that same strong relationship with my son so when I’m gone he will have such strong memories of me. That he can always remember skating together before early morning hockey practice, playing catch after work, fishing or golfing on a Sunday. It drives me to be the best dad I can be.”
Brendan Mcg from NY states “I lost my dad to cancer when I was 22. He was only 48. It’ll be 18 years in September. It haunted me for nearly 10 of those years, but I came out of that fog and started going to therapy. Now, I’m no longer focused on the “what if I die” scenario or the “I can’t believe he’s gone” reality, which was tough to beat. It still hurts, it still cuts deep when some moments hit, but he was a wonderful father and I feel/focus more on how lucky I was to ever have him in the first place…instead of the fact that he’s gone. Now, I have a son of my own, barely 16 months old, and I look forward to guiding him through the world as his grandfather watches over him from above.”
Del Brander states ” My dad cleared out my family’s accounts and took off. My sister was married and out of the state but he left me and my mom to our own devices. Did not have a relationship with him for 10 years. He then killed himself in a shitty motel in NOLA. He had a lot of demons. This is a daily struggle for me.”
Niel J Laya from Illinois states “They had me as very young teenagers and i “lost” my dad for most of my childhood. He went away to the Philippines for a couple years. Now he’s sort of a regular part of my adult life but more so for my younger half/step siblings. I probably wouldn’t see my dad as often if it weren’t for them.
I would probably be more independent since my mom was a helicopter parent. One of those parents that “help” me with my projects and yell at my teachers for my bad grades lol. I see my half siblings growing up and they’re so self sufficient at a young age because they sort of have to take care of themselves/each other because their parents work opposite nursing shifts.”
Wild Wilson from Minnesota states ” I’m losing mine now. Took him to the hospital last night as he fell. He is 89. Really he needs to go to assisted care. I was thinking about him and this as I woke today. For so long he was able to do things including being funny and such. Now it’s all this other way. All I know is I never want my daughter to have to go through this with me. Painful for her it would be and love her so much it would really like kill me knowing she has to go through it.”
George Argel from Texas states ” Lost him to Lung cancer in 2016 (related to Vietnam service in USMC) Happened in the middle of my custody battle. Mom and I fought the VA to get him cancer treatment, but they refused. 6 months after diagnosis he passed. I miss him dearly.”
EC Chavarria from wisconsin states “I did when I was 3 yrs old in a house fire my father was 36 yrs old and I’m that age now and I’m a father of 5 and I love my kids and my wife . God gave me everything my father would of installed in me 💯 still I miss him. My mom raised me with a abusive drunk who was just good at paying the bills so no role model. God still was my real father.”
Adam Glorioso from Wisnconsin states “2/8/19 Coming up on 1 year this weekend. Grief is weird, it comes and goes. I see things all the time that I want to get for him or call him to talk about, only to remember he’s not here anymore and feel that grief again. I drank and ate too much initially until I realized those things aren’t going to help or change anything for the better so I got it in check and have been focusing on my own well being more so these days…
It sucks & I miss him like crazy sometimes. Just need to do my best to continue bettering myself and be the best dad I can be to my girls as a way to honor him and allow my daughters to know him through me.”
Branden Marshal states ” I lost my dad years ago when my grandmother died that lived 30 mins away and no one in my family said a thing to me til after the funeral. It was my last straw after years of his bullshit; running away and leaving my mom and I, then comes back and used as a puppet in court and custody battles.”
Joseph Wesley states “Had a great father/role model. Been 3 years and i wake up daily thinking of things i should have done with him and words i should have said, we were best friends.”
Shawn Katzen from Maryland states ” My dad passed away 6 years ago…having not spoken to him for 7 years prior, really upset me. We didn’t talk over something petty, and he held a grudge, and ended up taking it with him to the grave. I didn’t get a chance to patch things up with him…despite my best efforts to do so…he resisted. I feel bad for it but I tried when he gave up.”
Thomas Heyward from S. carolina states, “I lost my dad November 27, 2007 to leukemia, he was 65 and fought a brief but valiant fight to beat it. It took 3 years before I drove by his house and didn’t look to see if his car was out front and he was home. My mother died of breast cancer on May 13, 1991 at only 46 years old. I think of both of them every day still. There are still many days I wish I could ask his advice.”
Sean Martin from Texas states “Lost mine to cancer at 20. 31 now with a wife, home and little girl. Some days are better than others. Hits me hardest when I hear a song that reminds me of him or I get a whiff of his cologne out in public or something. Most days I’d give up just about anything for one more hug or one more hour.”
Baylin W Crum from Texas states” I lost mine when I was twenty. He was a brilliant man, he had several strokes before passing. He completely lost his mind and was a shell of what he used to be. Mom had to move him into a nursing home because he was a danger to himself and everyone else.
I completely abandoned him. He was my best friend, but I couldn’t bare to see him so feeble minded.
If I could go back I would visit him constantly. Instead, I ran from the situation and had nothing to do with him. I only saw him one time from the time he stroked and the time he died. And it was right at the end, he didn’t even recognize me.
I carry this guilt so many years later. I wish everyday that he had been there for advise, to bounce my life’s problems off of, to help me and guide me as a man, to meet my daughter, to see who I have become.
But… I turned my back on him when he was at his weakest. I didn’t deserve him.”
David Hendershot from West Virginia states “I lost my dad when I was 15 and it affected me a lot I went off the deep end for a few years and then I started getting myself back together and made a family now have an awesome wife and little girl with our rainbow baby on the way still upsets me that he never got to meet any of them but I know he’s proud of me and everything that I do for my family and he would love all of them if he was still here.”
Ruben Zuniga states ” My folks haven’t talked to me in 5 years over their inability to not be kind (or mind their own business) to my wife. They decided they’d rather not be in communication than be normal fucking human beings. I don’t get it. They’ve met my daughter 1 time when she was born and that’s it. I don’t try and call them either though because if they can’t change and realize that they are fucking stuff up then there’s not much I can do and I don’t want to bring that negativity into my fantastic family.”
Alan Brower from Texas states “Yes I lost my dad 10 years ago to cancer and to be honest I’ve never been the same since then, many unanswered questions, a lot of sadness as my life goes on with having a child that will never meet him, having a spouse that won’t get hit on by him lol, having a life long friend.”
Alex Saitz from British Columbia states “I have not lost my dad, my brother passed away a few years ago though and it is hard still everyday, I’m not close with my dad but I imagine that it isnt going to be a easy thing whatsoever because of all the missed bonding, time we could have got to know each other and everything else we have wasted. I wish my dad and I were closer, but the closer you are the harder everything is.”
Gabriel Lopez from California states “I was 11 when he died from meningitus. It was extremely hard for me. Only son with 3 sisters. I hated coming home to a house full of teenage women and a mother that would laugh when they ganged up on me and become enraged when i would defend myself.”
Christopher Brice from Texas states “I lost my dad when I was 11. I’m 38 now. And I have 2 boys. They are 10 and 12. I have worked on myself throughout the years. It hasn’t been easy. But I try and cherish what time I had with him. He was such a kind and strong man. At times I look at my kids, and get terrified I’ll die at an early age. It makes me realize too, that we all have a responsibility to be a good man to every one we run into.
We don’t know who may be looking up to us. I looked to all the men in my life after that, to try and figure out how to be a man. This is one of those questions that has me all over the place in my thoughts and I could sit with you for hours in discussion over it.”
Jason Wright from Pennsylvania states “My father passed away almost 4 years ago. I miss him everyday. He was only 59 and had cirrhosis of the liver. I found out 3 years ago that I have stage 2 fibrosis of the liver. Both of our livers are over active. I’ve been doing everything in my power to lose weight and stay healthy for me and my dad. I also wrote a very touching poem about it.”
Zack Schlicht states “My dad unexpectedly left this his body behind a year ago. We knew it would eventually happen with his second bout of cancer and all other medical issues (accident in 1990 with too many surgeries…including 8 full hip replacements). Also, it didn’t help that I had ankle surgery a month before and was bedridden for the most part. Depression hit me very hard. By talking with a counselor and my wife, I gradually got better. I still have moments but I highly recommend getting a support team and finding somewhere you’re comfortable to grieve.
I still miss him terribly. They say time heals…it doesn’t for me. We just learn to cope more each day.
I was at Walgreens a week after my dad passed. I had a question about a medicine, took my phone out of my pocket, realized I couldn’t call him anymore and broke down right in the store. I’m actually tearing up writing this”
James Abbington from Minnesota states “It hit me hard even to this day. My dad wasn’t really much in my life when I was growing up, but I finally starting to have an relationship with my father after I graduated high school and during my time in the Navy. It sucks because I have so many questions to ask him on what happened between him and my mother. I wish he was still living but I know he is smiling down on me.”
BJ Jackson from Pennsylvania states “Lost not only my father ,but he was my best friend. Lost him 4 years ago and not a day goes by where he’s not on my mind. I watched him go from healthy as an Ox , playing football with the grandkids (my kids) and playing horseshoes partying, down to nothing. Lung cancer took him, there are still days where i sit and have a little cry. No shame, i miss my father more than anything more and more as each day passes.”
Rusty Carson from south Dakota states ” Lost mine about a year ago to cancer. I am happy he isn’t hurting anymore, which makes it a little easier. He wasn’t him his last few weeks if that makes any sense. I am grateful I was at his side when he passed too. It is still hard and I think about him daily.”
Caleb James Wadley from Michigan states “Hes not dead but he told me i wasn’t his son and he hated me. ( i joined the army against his wishes) haven’t spoken to him in ten years. Ive tried and he wont even acknowledge that i exist. I think it hurts a little worse each year.
its not a huge deal though. Just something that always ticks at the back of my mind”
Drew Brown from Alabama states “My dad and I were extremely close for a long time. But we had a falling out about 4 years ago (for reasons that are too long to type) and we hadn’t spoken since. But, after a while, he started telling my brother and sisters that he wanted to see me again and bury the hatchet. I said I would love to. But I kept putting it off time and again, for no good reason.
And then, he died suddenly last March. So, due to my own stubbornness, I never got to make peace with him. I’ve felt terrible ever since. And I’m pretty sure I’ll never forgive myself. Moral of the story: Get over whatever crap has happened, and forgive each other. Because you never know when it will be too late to do so.”
Jesus Vega from Massachusetts states ” Died when I was 5 My mom, my grandma and aunts ( his sibling ) told me I was his life. I was his everything. He was a huge player – but made sure I wanted for nothing. Made sure I was loved. I don’t remember him at all though, all I got is a picture”
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