It’s been seven years since my dad died. Sometimes it feels like seven years, but on days like these, it feels like it’s only been seven days. I was 15 years old when my dad passed away. Fifteen years old and insecure. Fifteen years old and easily embarrassed. Fifteen years old and unprepared. Fifteen years old and unsure of everything that made me who I was. Losing such an influential guiding force during such a crucially developmental part of my life catapulted me into a whirlwind of struggling to discover myself, while simultaneously dealing with a critical absence in my life.

Here are four things that I wish someone could have told me when I was 15 years old and completely, utterly, painfully lost:
1. Continuing doesn’t mean forgetting.
2. Loss can act as a catalyst for inspiration.
3. Feeling what you’re feeling is okay.
4. The people who are throwing out safety nets while you fall and fall and fall—keep those people in your life.
4 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me After My Dad Died. — by Kelisha Gardeen