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I find myself comparing my parental figures - my mom, my stepdad, other adults I look up and revere - to my dad.

I try not to, because he was different than them, and they can't be him, and I can't expect them to take his place. That's impossible. But more and more, I am feeling his absence. He was such a unique person, my father. I have never met anybody like him.

Sometimes, these comparisons come into my mind, and only end in my being very sad.

For instance, I am working on a novel-length story right now. It's almost done. I write very slowly, so I am very happy to have something near the finishing point in my writing. I told my mother, and she was happy for me. But all I got was a cheerful, "That must feel really good."

I'm happy that she can be happy for me like this, but...in comparison to what my dad would have said, her response becomes disappointing. I can't help thinking what my dad would have said. He would be very excited and overjoyed for me, loudly happy and so jubilant. :D Or, even if he was in a quieter mood, I can just hear his voice saying to me very tenderly and genuinely, "That is wonderful." With a sweet, boyish smile. :)

The support my father gave in my writing - in my pursuing my dream - was amazing. I think this is because, he could relate to being a dreamer. We were like kindred spirits, he and I. I feel so bereft, to not have him around anymore. I can't expect my mother to feel the same as my dad did. My dad shared my joys as if they were a part of him, too. He saw me pouring myself into my writing, and was so happy for it. We were able to apply lessons we learned to each other's experiences. It was very much a sharing thing, with my dad.

And when I told my mother, and her reaction was, in comparison to what my dad would have said, so dull and disappointing...I got swept up in this wave of sadness. It was terrible (this was after the phonecall to her). And I know I'm going to do it again, involuntarily, this comparing. Everyone will come up short in some ways, in comparison to my dad. I know I should be grateful and loving towards these parental figures for their own special qualities, but instead I find myself missing so very much, my dad's special qualities, his presence and encouragement.

I miss him so much! :(

Does anyone have any helpful tips for this comparing ones around us to ones we've lost? Or similar experiences?

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Hi, Chai.

I can totally relate to what you are saying. Bob was for sure my kindred spirit, also. He has these two brothers that look just like him. Early on, they would come to help fix things that needed fixing or change oil in the car, etc. I would bounce ideas off them and things that would get Bob psyched up about or even find humorous, they would have a totally opposite reaction. I found myself getting miffed that they weren't more like Bob. Emotionally, I needed the hug I'd get from Bob when I was sad, or even the laugh when things were funny. i sorted of expected that his brothers could provide that for me. Unfortunately, it was one more realization of the finality of Bob's passing that I needed to accept. No one will ever be the person we lost. That is a void inside of us that we need to fill with their memory, their love, and our shared experiences.

Good luck as you continue to progress through all of this.



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I could have written your post. I'm in the same area as my father, so I'd show him all of my work. Whenever I finished something, my dad's face would light up, and there'd be that glorious smile and a four hour conversation about it. My mother isn't in the field at all. She doesn't really understand the nuances of it, so when I tell her something about it, there's this smile and "way to go" proclamation without any flicker of real understanding. Dad and I were kindred spirits. We had that "sharing thing." Every time someone famous in our field did something interesting, I'd run up to him and update him. Dad and I were on the same wavelength, which inspired me all the time. It's greatly motivating to have your dad in your corner, cheering you on. Now, no one is there that GETS IT like him, which kills me. Encouragements and discussions fall flat when the source of them isn't familiar with what you're doing. A family friend was trying to cheer me up by asking me to explain my field. His basic questions and erroneous assumptions made me all the more sad; it was like explaining arithmetic to a child. I didn't have to explain a damn thing to my dad. He got it.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi guys, I understand where you guys are coming from. My mum was the one person who truly believed in what im doing, and everyone else in my family especially my brother are behind me, but no one ever says it quite like my mum did, i don;t get the buzz i do from when my mum said that was good or i could see she was impressed. And that's because i look up to my mum and she knew how much it meant to me what i was doing. Like you say it was being on the same wavelength, and she just understood. And im not surprised you're comparing people to your father, you have this void in your life, and usually we try to fill these spots, but as you said yourself no one can, which is a great and beautiful testament to your dads character, but also a sad thing that you have lost that. When i do something im proud of and would usually show my mum, i just think what she would say, I was playing a gig last Saturday and in my head i just heard my mum saying to me 'Go for it son', that helps me thinking like that because it inspires me and it;s what she'd be saying. She isn't here to say it, but i know she would. Maybe try and think of what they would say to you, i know at first it;s hard because it just makes you sad and you get that aching because they aren;t they to say it. But they would say it, and maybe to yourself say 'Dad would be proud of that' and this may sound stupid but maybe say to your dad aloud 'what do you think of that?' I do when im doing the ironing or trying to bake a cake that doesn't sink, and whether my mum can hear or not it actually makes me feel a little bit better.

I hope you guys are doing ok if you need anyone to chat to please feel free to drop me a mail

take care


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Sean...all I can say to your wonderful, kind reply is thank you. :) You are so right. I have tried your suggestion, even before reading it, and it really does help. Reading your post only re-affirms in my mind that this is helpful tool for comfort.

And it is good to hear I'm not the only one driving myself mad with this comparing habit...I wish the best to us all.



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