Never the Same

Not long after my father died, in November 2011, I was speaking with a dear friend about how everything around me had changed.

Once my father was gone, everything felt different.

My friend wisely said to me, “It’s like a table that once had 4 legs, and now has 3. It will not stand in the same way. ”

It struck me and I think of her comparison often.

When we lose a loved one, we also lose the world that was once inhabited by them.

We lose the energy they brought to our lives.

And we must reconfigure who we are without them.

Ever since tragically losing my father, on the cusp of motherhood,

I have been reconfiguring who I am and my place in the world.

Despite having been a fatherless daughter for over a decade, and a mother for more than 11 years,

I still sometimes feel untethered without my father.

And I realize that I feel untethered because I have been trying to recreate a world that existed when he was alive.

People often think of loss as the death of a loved one — and of course that is in part what loss is — but loss is so much more, so much deeper.

I call these losses little deaths.

I have been experiencing the little deaths from my father’s physical absence ever since the day his breath ceased.

And in some ways, those little deaths are sharper and more painful because they are reminders of all that was lost when my father’s eyes permanently closed.

I have not only had to integrate the death of my father, but all that has changed, and will never be the same again, since he died.

Little deaths include:

Seeing fellow mothers witness the love shared between their fathers and their children. I think often of what my son lost without my father in his life.

Wishing to share something I have done, or something my son has done, with my father.

Wishing I could seek my father’s counsel, his wisdom, and his listening ear.

Wanting to bask in his unconditional love and feel the confidence I felt when I saw myself reflected in his eyes.

Wishing for him to see what a strong team my husband and I have become, and how deeply invested we are in being the best parents we can be.

Wishing for my extended family to have the dynamic we did when he was alive.

But all of the above are the losses I have experienced, and will continue to, as I integrate the world as it is without him.

It will never be the same.

I will never be the same.

My father is gone.

The world in which he lived is gone.

And in order to make certain that I do not get lost,

I must learn to stand in a new way.



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Naomi Raquel

Naomi Raquel


Bilingual. New Yorker. Multiethnic. Change Agent. Author of “Strength of Soul” (2Leaf Press; University of Chicago Press, April 2019)