If I could return to the day Izzy passed and deliver myself a letter, I would want it to express a simple but powerful theme; it gets better. This doesn’t mean easy, just better. Below is a short letter I wish I could have shared with myself.
I know you aren’t going to listen to what I am about to tell you, that’s ok. You aren’t ready. I am you almost four years removed from that hospital room. Four years after you watched your daughter wheeled out of your room for the last time—four years since you spent your birthday planning a funeral instead of blowing out candles. You have a long road in front of you, but it gets better.
Let me assure you that your love for Izzy grows stronger every day. In these early days, start by taking life second by second, slowly transition to minute by minute, eventually move to hour by hour, and finally day by day. You will never go an entire day without honoring Izzy. Embrace the days you don’t feel like doing anything, take the time you need to grieve, but I promise, it gets better.
Today is April 7, 2022. I know you can’t even comprehend tomorrow right now, but you have some amazing things to look forward to. You are sitting inside a screened porch in Captiva Island, Florida, looking out over the ocean. You are drinking a “Florida Man” IPA and listening to music with your wife. You have been up for over fifteen hours because your daughters woke you up by screaming at 5:15 this morning. That’s right, your daughters. Today you brought them to the waterslides, won a pool duck race for free ice cream, and helped build sandcastles on the beach. It gets better.
You are about to embark on the most challenging journey of your life, but you will not do it alone. Your friends and family will help you through your darkest hours, and you are about to meet two incredible guys who will become like family. Through shared heartbreak, something beautiful is going to emerge. As of today, that journey is just beginning, but through these efforts, you will find a new purpose, a new drive, and hopefully, reach a lot of people. You are forever a member of the worst club comprised of the best guys. With the help of this incredible community, it gets better.”
To all the Sad Dads out there, understand that the experiences above are my own. This isn’t meant to be a roadmap or even advice about emerging from those difficult times. Depending on where you are in your journey, this might seem impossible. Just remember, it doesn’t get better overnight, but if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, it gets better.