What to Expect When Grieving the Loss of Your Father

Losing your father (or a father figure) can be one of life’s most traumatic events. As people who are known for being your biggest cheerleader, friend, fixer, and life coach—losing them will change your life as you know it. Each person has a very unique relationship with their father. This means that no grief experience will ever be exactly the same. However, there are some common emotions most people feel after losing their dad. Grief reactions may also depend on your stage in life. A younger person who still lives at home and depends on their father for daily support may feel a stronger sense of abandonment, whereas someone in their 60’s who remained close to their father may feel a stronger loss in regard to the decades of friendship established between them and their father. No matter your age, keep reading for some specific emotions you may feel after losing your father, as well as ways to work through these emotions.

What to Expect When Grieving the Loss of Your Father

Shock

The time immediately following the death of a loved one can be hectic. There’s much that must be done to make arrangements, and these arrangements can take away a majority of your time and energy. Because of this flurry of activity, the full emotional impact of your loss may not hit you right away. You may still be in a state of shock or disbelief during the first few months following the passing of your father. Realize that being numb to the pain doesn’t make it any less real. It’s perfectly normal to not fully feel the loss right away. Don’t grow frustrated if you aren’t experiencing the emotional reaction you expected.

 

Sadness

Another common emotion many people feel is intense sadness or depression. As it is with the loss of any loved one, realizing that someone who you loved and cared for very much is gone from this world is a somber experience. While managing this sadness is specific to each person, it’s important that you allow yourself to acknowledge and respect the emotions you feel. Trying to hide your sadness is not healthy for your grief journey, and may prevent you from full healing in the future. As hard as it may be, depression is a natural part of the bereavement process, so it’s better to accept these emotions than to fight them.

Please note: While depression is a normal part of grief, it’s important to reflect on the severity of your depression over time. If you find that your depression persists without any good days, impairs your function of daily activities, or prompts thoughts of self-harm, professional help may be required.

 

Abandonment

Since fathers are often recognized for their protective and providing nature, losing your father may stir feelings of abandonment. The man who was once known as your “fixer” and guardian is no longer around to support you. You may feel as if a level of security is gone from your life. Coming to terms with this change will be hard, but don’t lose hope. Learn to rely on other people in your life. Reach out to trusted friends and family. Lean on your local parish community. Most of all, take this opportunity to remind yourself how much you are personally capable of – losing your father is undoubtedly difficult, but God will give you the strength and support you need to move forward in life.

 

Anger

While no one is ever ready to lose their dad, those who lose their father earlier in life may feel angry. You may feel as if time was stolen from you, or that you’ve been cheated from monumental occasions. Even for those who lose their father later in life, anger is a natural part of the grief process. God’s plan isn’t always easy to understand or accept. If you find yourself experiencing anger, know that it is natural. Like any other emotion you may be feeling, don’t back away from these feelings. Instead, acknowledge them and try to focus your energy on working through this anger to reach some level of peace and healing. Similar to symptoms of depression, you may want to seek assistance of a professional if anger starts impacting your daily living.

 

Peace

As unbelievable as it may seem at first, eventually you will achieve some level of peace and comfort in regard to your father’s passing. Full understanding can only come with time and much self-reflection. As Catholics, we can also find immense hope and peace in the promise of salvation. It is our hope that one day we will be reunited with our loved ones in the presence of Christ. As you work through your grief, try to shift your mindset from saying goodbye to your loved one toward saying “I’ll see you again.” Also consider that your loved ones are likely lifting you in their (now divine) prayers and cheering you on to find new courage and peace.

A healing way to work through your grief, and the various emotions you may feel along the way, is to find ways to honor your father. Watching his favorite movie, making his favorite meal, or ordering his favorite cocktail are all ways you can feel closer to him. Keep his memory alive by looking at pictures of him often, and telling your favorite stories about his life to other close family members and friends. There is no reason why you can’t keep a strong relationship with your father even after his passing.

 

If you’re interested in further grief support, please consider attending one of our monthly Grief Support Groups. These informal and all-inclusive groups meet once a month for 1-hour. Come be in the presence of those who understand. For grief support dates and locations, please visit clecem.org.

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

John Kahl Jr: Servant Leadership and the Founding of Duck Tape

John J. “Jack” Kahl Jr. was not only a visionary leader in business, but also a devout Catholic. Jack was born and raised on the West Side of Cleveland and attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood and furthered his education at John Carroll University in University Heights. Jack passed away at the age of 78 in 2018, and is buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in Avon, Ohio (Section 3, Lot 419, Grave #2).

JackKahl

During his senior year at John Carroll, Jack was looking for a career path. This is when Jack met Melvin Anderson, whom he began to work for at Manco Inc. in 1963. After working there for 8 years, Jack bought the business. Nearly thirty years later, he sold the business to the Henkel Group. Jack used his business knowledge and skills to grow Manco, Inc. into a national corporation. Manco Inc. is famously known for Duck Tape Brand Duct Tape.

Throughout Jack’s 37 years as the CEO of Manco, Inc. he built the business through his servant leadership and fostering a caring culture. His book, “Leading from the Heart: Choosing to be a Servant Leader” is a true testament to his passion for his faith. Jack was named one of “America’s Most Admired CEOs” by Industry Week magazine in 1993 and Inc. Magazine recognized him as one of three CEOs in America to “benchmark leadership practices.” Much of Jack’s leadership manners were attributed to his strong faith.

To say that Jack Kahl lived a full life would be an understatement. From when he first began at Manco to when he retired, Jack did it all. While he pursued and advanced his career, he was able to keep his faith close to his heart. Today, many think that you have to separate the two – but Jack was a prime example of someone who used his faith and learnings at work. To his credit, he did a great job of utilizing both his business knowledge and strong faith to become successful.

Post written by Joe Marques

Saint Jude Thaddeus: Giving Hope to the Hopeless

While the name, prayers, and intentions of Saint Jude are often discussed in pop culture, not much is known about this remarkable follower of Christ. As one of the twelve Apostles, Saint Jude is believed to be the brother of St. James the Less, who was also an Apostle. In fact, their mother Mary was cousins with the Blessed Virgin Mary, making the brothers related to Jesus Christ.

Saint Jude

With so many commonly-used names, it’s easy to confuse key biblical and historical figures. In fact, Saint Jude was often confused with Judas Iscariot, betrayer of our Lord, in the centuries following Christ’s death and resurrection. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that his name was fully distinguished from that of Judas Iscariot. However, Saint Jude’s association with hopeless and impossible causes was actually founded before then in the early 14th century, when both Saint Bridget of Sweden and Saint Bernard received visions from God asking them to appeal to Saint Jude as the patron of lost causes. Since then, Saint Jude is widely known for his patronage, with several hospitals, police forces, and nonprofits adopting his namesake. Most notable of these examples is the Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.

Again, not much is known about Saint Jude’s life. However, he is mentioned in the Gospels several times in accordance with the other twelve Apostles. In fact, he is the one that voices a question over how Christ will return to His apostles after His death:

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” – John 14:22

After the resurrection of Christ, Jude was sent as a missionary to share the good news of Christ. He’s most well-known for his work in Armenia. While he is not the patron saint of the country, he is credited for first bringing Christianity to the region, along with fellow Apostle Saint Simon. The two apostles are often closely associated as they did much of their missionary work together, and were martyred together in Lebanon in 65CE.

Unlike many other saints, St. Jude doesn’t have many clear and documented miracles. Similarly, nothing we know about his life directly correlates to his patronage. In fact, the origin of Saint Jude’s patronage comes directly from scripture. In one of his letters in the New Testament, Jude encourages his readers to find hope in the most desperate and hopeless cases. He stresses that those who are faithful to God will always find hope and comfort in the most hopeless of situations.

In our own lives, we may often find ourselves in disparaging situations. However, a quick prayer to Saint Jude is sure to lift our spirits and eyes to the Lord for comfort and hope.

 

Prayer to St. Jude in Times of Suffering
Most holy Apostle, St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, I place myself into your hands at this difficult time.  Help me to know that I am not alone.  Please pray for me, asking God to send me comfort for my sorrows, bravery for my fears, and healing for my suffering.  Ask our loving God to strengthen my faith and give me the courage to accept His Will for my life. Thank you, St. Jude, for the hope you offer to all who believe in you.  Amen.

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Fourth Sunday of Advent (2018)

Gospel Reading: Luke 1:39-45  

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” 

Fourth Sunday of Advent

This week’s gospel is one many of us are familiar with. Mary travels to visit with her cousin Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. The joy and faith shared between these two women is truly remarkable, as they both possess unwavering faith in Christ. Whether it’s Elizabeth’s faith that God would grant her a son in her old age, or Mary’s trust that God will guide her throughout the very controversial and unconventional nature of her pregnancy, both woman understand that God has a specific plan for each of them. Neither question His reasoning or methods. Rather, they rejoice together in the fact that they are playing active parts in the coming of Christ.

Sometimes on this earth we are placed in confusing and disheartening situations. It can be hard to look past these trials to understand that God has a wonderful plan in store for each and every one of us. As we celebrate Christmas and enter the New Year, let us all look to Elizabeth and Mary as role models of faith. Like them, we may not always know why or how God’s plan will work out, but we must trust in God and find moments of joy along the way.

Post written by Katie Karpinski

The Third Sunday of Advent (2018)

Gospel Reading: Luke 3:10-18

 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.

John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”

 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.

Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”

He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”

The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. John answered them all, “I baptize you with[a] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And with many other words John exhorted the people and proclaimed the good news to them.

Third Sunday of Advent

This week’s gospel reading provides us a glimpse of the teachings of John the Baptist. Imagine that you are sitting on the banks of the Jordan River. You’ve been hearing rumors that the Messiah is coming. Many people believe that this man, John the Baptist, is the Messiah. However, as you listen to him preach you understand that the Messiah is yet to come. Your heart may sink for a moment, knowing that you have not yet encountered the Messiah, but there is still some hope that remains, knowing that His arrival is imminent.

In many ways, we are all still followers sitting at the edge of a river. As we near Christmas Day, we grow more and more excited for the arrival of Christ. However, unlike those people who sat at the Jordan River those thousands of years ago, we are blessed to have Christ with us already. None of us alive today have lived without Christ. We have the comfort and peace of knowing that He has come and that He has saved us. Sometimes we forget who blessed we truly are, and take His earthly presence for granted.

This year, let us all anticipate and prepare for Christ just as our ancestors did on the River Jordan. Let us not forget that the same Christ that arrived 2000 years ago is the same Christ that encounters each one of us today.

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski