Life Chats

A Candid Conversation About Grief

naty michele in a floral dress holding white roses Grief is heavy. It’s complex. And it has this tendency to come in waves. It does not matter how much time has passed by. There is no timeline for it as it is something that you carry with you all the days of your life. There are going to be many moments when you feel strong – when you feel like you’re moving forward and doing ok. Then sometimes that sadness creeps back in and you relive those days of losing your loved one all over again.

Days like Father’s Day have always been a big trigger for me, even 9 years later. I usually try my best to stay off of social media as much as possible. I can’t lie, it hurts my heart seeing photos of all my friends with their dads walking them down the aisle on their wedding day. As happy as I am for them that they had that experience, that will never happen for me. My father wasn’t given the chance to ever have that opportunity with his two daughters.

Most of the time I feel numb. I try not to allow myself to go there mentally or emotionally because when I give myself the chance to fully process it all, I crumble. I think of my father every single day, but when I think of him it’s always in an “I miss him” or “I wish I could talk to him right now” kind of way. There has honestly only been a handful of moments when I’ve allowed myself to go there mentally.

It pretty much happens like clockwork around the same time every year, usually creeping up on me around Memorial Day weekend when he was first diagnosed with cancer and lasting until his birthday in September. And then I have to make it through the holiday season. It always puts me in such a strange place with myself where I tend to question everything in my life. It’s so hard to explain as I am still trying to understand it.

Emotions had been building up over the last couple of weeks as Father’s Day got closer. I was starting to feel this inner sadness that I could not shake. I was exhausted. As much as I had going on I just wanted to stay in bed and sleep. I had to force myself to get up and go on with my daily routine. That’s not very common for me as I’ve always been such a self-motivated person, yet it was becoming so difficult for me to tap into that inner drive.

It’s not a very good feeling when you know that you’re not being yourself or when you know that you’re not being your best self. I began to realize that the only way to work through these emotions was to allow myself to process them. You’d think that after all of these years I would have processed them by now, but the truth is it’s been a constant work in progress ever since I lost my dad.

I have this amazing ability to keep myself so busy with my day-to-day life that I don’t have “the time” to sit with my feelings – but sometimes, that’s exactly what you have to do. Through my loss I have realized my true strength, but there are still moments when I feel weak and need to break down – and that is ok. It’s all part of the ongoing journey of grief. You are never going to “get over” it. You learn to live with it and you learn how to move forward, but it stays with you always.

I went back and forth on whether or not to write this post because I don’t want it to come across as me being sad or not in a good place. The intent behind writing this was to be really candid about my own personal experience with grief and the way I sometimes struggle emotionally “behind-the-scenes” because I don’t want to pretend that everything is fine all of the time when it’s not. naty michele holding white roses in a floral dressI have come such a long way since 2010 and have pretty much built a whole new life for myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still go through these seasons where I’m not 100% ok. I hate that I still feel this way at times, but it’s apart of me now. I’ve learned to accept that this is a very real and normal part of my grief. The more time passes the more open I am to embracing these difficult moments and learning how to grow through them.

I think it’s important to talk about this openly because there are so many of us constantly struggling with loss and sometimes we need to know that our feelings are valid – and we are not alone in what we are experiencing. Whenever I start the conversation around this topic I am blown away by the amount of people who have also lost a parent. For some it happened recently and it’s still fresh – for others it happened at such a young age.

There’s no right or wrong way to grieve a loved one as we all navigate through it differently. We just have to allow ourselves to feel whatever it is that we need to. For many years, I suppressed those feelings and at times I still do. Each time I give myself the chance to process them it’s almost as if I’m having a mini breakthrough. It’s freeing and while difficult to do, it’s an incredible release.

I’m still in a current season where I’m working through this and maybe you are too. If you are, I’m sending you so much love and strength. Always remember that you’re not alone in what you are going through. Talking about it openly or writing it out, even if no one reads it but you, is emotionally freeing. Thank you so much for reading. ❤️


Photos by Lydia Hudgens

  1. Lauren Sorrells

    Your dress is beautiful! Where did you get it?

    • Naty

      Thank you! It’s Jill Stuart – rented it from Rent the Runway!

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