Milestones like birthdays and graduation can be painful after someone you love dies. As I graduate from junior high school this year, I am thinking about whether my dad is proud of me and imagining how big his smile would be on my graduation day.
Learning how to include my dad when big moments arrive has helped me both celebrate my accomplishments and remember him. In fact I’ve realized that hitting milestones is a perfect way to honor someone’s legacy that we care about. I incorporate my dad into my daily life by wearing a necklace with his fingerprint on it. I wear it every day and whenever I feel sad, I hold it and remember that he is always with me.
I lost my dad when I was seven. It was hard at first to open up to people. One thing that helped was going to Experience Camps, where I was surrounded with people my own age who have gone through the same loss and understand how I am feeling. It helps to remember each summer that I am not alone.
Losing a loved one is hard, especially celebrating the big moments without them. Everyone grieves in their own way, but I’ve found that incorporating my dad into everyday moments and major milestones can help. For me, this means talking about my dad to friends and family and listening to music that we shared together.
This post was written by Aislynn, a camper at Experience Camps in California and was initially published in 2020.