Stop Telling Me to Be Strong
Nobody teaches you about what happens when a parent dies.
And while the truth is that there’s nothing anybody can say to make someone feel better about a parent dying, society is compelled to say something to fill the void that have become clichés. Sure, offer me your condolences, and tell me that you’re praying for my father and my family.
But stop fucking telling me to be strong.
What do you think I’ve been doing for the last half a year? Strength is the reason I have managed to power through doctor visits, appointments, lawyer meetings, medications, deteriorations. Strength is the reason I have played parent to both my parents physically and emotionally. Strength — the strength that coursed through the veins of my father, and has continued to course through mine — is why I’m still getting out of bed to be a mother to my one-year-old, every single day since my father took his last breath.
What is the opposite of strong? To cry? Because I think I should be allowed despair for the loss, and the continued longing of the first man I’ve ever loved, who has loved me through everything. I’m allowed the torment of the heartbreak, the physical unrequited love that I will feel for the rest of my time on earth.
I am allowed to grieve my father. I know he is with Allah, and I know that we will eventually meet, but for now, for my time on earth, and for all the times I want to hold his hand, and share a laugh I know he will appreciate, to massage his shoulders, to have him snuggle my son, for all those times and more — I will miss him so fucking much.
Take your “be strong” and shove it up where the sun don’t shine. My dad died, and I’m broken. I’m allowed not to be strong ever again.