Gaining Perspective Through Loss


The loss of a parent is something I wish on no one, and yet, I can’t help but think the grief and the loss have somehow enveloped me with a perspective I wish I had sooner. Below is a letter to my dad, who we lost suddenly and tragically in 2020, explaining this oxymoronic phrase of gaining by losing. There is so much grief in the world right now, but perhaps the perspective we take can enlighten the road of the hardships we inevitably must face as mortals.


We are approaching two years since you were taken from us in a tragic car accident. I cannot believe it’s been two years some days, but other days, I cannot believe it’s only been two years. Grief is a strange phenomenon. It wanes in certain seasons – the days full of normalcy and routine. It escalates in certain seasons and times when your presence should just simply be there – birthday parties, holiday events, zoo trips, sleepovers at the house, the boys’ sporting events. The list goes on. The room feels so empty when you aren’t there.

We lost so much when we lost you.

-The loss of your humor, your sarcastic punches and your mantras.

Your influence on all the grandkids and ability to keep creating precious (and funny) memories.

-The loss of your hugs, your physical presence and your calming voice.

Your voicemails – they sincerely always put a smile on my face. In fact, I still have over 50 of them saved on my phone. I’ve just recently been able to start listening to them. I was so scared of the pain, but once I hit ‘play,’ I started smiling and laughing. You were just the best.

-The trips together to Hilton Head – a culminating vacation that was always something to which we looked forward.

– Your ability to make a tough or hard work situation seem so much lighter. Your ability to make us laugh when the world seemed dark or frustrating or taunting. I still remember when I was defending my dissertation for graduate school and you reminded me that no one knew more about the topic than I did. I was the expert in the room on that topic. And – if I forget amidst the nerves – just to picture all those old professors in their underwear.

I could go on, and on, and on. This list is hard. There will always be a piece of our lives missing. There’s a ‘before’ we lost dad time and an ‘after’ we lost dad time. That’s just the way it is. We think of you pretty much every minute of every day, even if subconsciously. The rawness of it all has improved, but the overall loss hasn’t…nor do we think it ever will.

But gosh, dad, we’ve also gained SO much by losing you.

A Sense of Urgency and Embracing a Sort of Timeline as a Mortal Being

It might sound morbid, but I’ve come to terms that my assignment here is temporary. That being said, I say ‘I love you’ more than necessary, I’m as kind as I can be regardless of circumstance or how kind persons might be to me, and I envision always wanting to leave a room happier or lighter than it may have been. I’m not perfect at this and every day is a work in progress, but it always seems top of mind. I want to have an obituary that highlights my kindness and giving (I know, morbid). I also want to live out my natural talents and passions by continuing to find slots of work that allow just that. We don’t know when our time here is up. We can only do our best and leave this place better off by being here while we are here. I want my family to always remember they were my highest priority.

A Stronger Faith

Similar to my mom and sisters, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the past two years without faith. I’ve been reminded that everyone you meet is fighting a battle, no matter what the surface may present. There are highs and lows and lulls in between those extremes. We can lift others up during our highs. We can count on others during our lows. We can try to stay present and pray during the lulls of day-to-day living. And above all else, we can pray, listen and follow His plan. We can let go of our anxieties, our worries, our out-of-control situations by giving them to God. He will never fail and when we think there is no hope, He shows up to show us that there always is. Whether you believe in a God, a higher power, or anything in between- I think the perspective that this Earth isn’t the end – is so incredibly powerful.

You Need a Really Great Therapist and Amazing Mentor

I’d be lying if I didn’t say driving and car accidents are now a phobia of mine. I’ve been working with a therapist to get through the traumatic parts. Like going to a doctor to take care of my physical health, I too focus on my mental health, not only for me but also for my family. Your death has reminded me that therapy is more than okay consistently or throughout certain phases of life.

I’ve gained an incredible mentor who has guided me through this whole ‘losing a parent thing’. I have a feeling you somehow nudge him when I need a little lift. He checks in on me and somehow knows just when I need it. He encourages me to celebrate the hard anniversaries by remembering the fun memories. So instead of grieving all day (though that’s okay, too), we try to celebrate your birthday and anniversaries with your favorite beer, fish fry or sending balloons up to heaven to land in your hands.

A Super Streamlined Focus

Losing you has been the hardest thing I’ve personally gone through in my life. I didn’t feel like losing you in my mid-thirties was fair. I thought we’d have more time. I was too young to lose a parent. It was tragic and I didn’t get to say goodbye. I wasn’t prepared for this type of loss. But you didn’t suffer. You were swiftly taken away by God. You were needed somewhere else. It doesn’t make sense right now, nor will it ever make sense – until perhaps the day we get taken too. All I know is that losing you has made me streamline my focus so much on family and the gifts of our Earthly presence, more so than ever before.

The things that used to keep me up at night or stir my anxieties, the opinions of others, the people who used to take advantage of my kindness as perhaps a sign of weakness – those have all been thrown to the birds. I simply don’t have time for it. Yes, we still have to pay the bills. Yes, we still have to be responsible adults who contribute to society. But gosh, the anxieties of to-do lists or pleasing people or going above and beyond to the point of burn-out at a job – it’s just not on my radar anymore.

That’s it for now, dad. I have four little ones downstairs who need my undivided attention, all day, every day. I thank God for them every day because they keep my clock ticking. I understand the card you wrote me more than ever- that myself, Katie, Sarah and Mom (especially!) were the reason you lived! Two years in heaven seems two years too long, but I’m so grateful for the lessons it has taught me. You continue to wrap me with your courage and grace and I feel you – every single day. Carpe Diem and Seize the Day!

If you’re newly grieving or have been grieving for years, I hope the positive crevices of loss can be a blessing in your day!

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Meghan Sexton
Meggie is a certified #boymom to Connor, 5, Cooper, 3, and Sawyer, 1. Luckily, she’s always been drawn to an active lifestyle and loves distance running, so she can usually keep up with their crazy. Growing up near Cleveland, Ohio, she’s been a Columbus transplant since attending college at Ohio Wesleyan University (after brief stint back in Cleveland to attend grad school at John Carroll) where she met her husband, Sam. Meggie currently works part-time as an event and marketing consultant ( and a run coach, balancing staying at home part-time with her boys. When she’s not busy with contract work or parenting, she can be found running races around town with Sam or enjoying all the local and lovely delicacies that uptown Westerville has to offer.