‘Loving the girl who lost her father. This role isn’t for the faint of heart.’

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“You may have loved her before her hero passed away, or you may love her now, having never shook his hand. Maybe you loved her father as well or maybe you wish you could have. Regardless of where you found her in this grief journey, she is the woman you have chosen to love. You adore a woman who will forever be a little girl who lost her daddy. The very first man who loved her is no longer hers to have. I need you to know she doesn’t expect you to take his place. She just wants you to take her hand and help guide her through life in a similar way he did.

There will be days where she will test her boundaries and try to push you away. Sometimes the heartache can be so raw that the only thing she knows to do is fight it. That includes you. It’s not a personal attack on who you are and what you mean to her. It’s just that sometimes she needs a punching bag and you, unfortunately, are the closest one to jab. Please know she isn’t trying to hurt you. Deep down she really just wants you to hug her harder than you ever have before.

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

That clicking she’s been hearing under her car’s hood would probably have been taken care of months ago with the guidance from her dad to take it in to get looked at. But she didn’t have him to call. You need to know that you are now on the other end of that phone call for all of those ‘dumb’ questions she has. I need you to understand she doesn’t want to sound dumb to you, so it will take time for her to trust that you won’t make fun of her. She won’t keep up with the dates on the oil changes. She needs you to step into that role and help her remember. Her dad was her car-guru and he walked her through the steps to keeping it in great condition. She knows she should probably know more about its upkeep, but your direction and patience in this aspect is invaluable.

That mail she just got from her credit card company explaining new interest rates? She used to call her dad to help explain that. That other piece of mail she got asking her to consolidate her loans into one big loan? Again, she’d seek out her father’s guidance on that. Give her your own wisdom in regards to finances, loans, banks, and credit cards. Let your knowledge come to fruition and allow her the time to ask a thousand questions about why one is better than the other.

Do you want to buy a house with her? You need to help walk her through these steps. Dad would have gotten the hundreds of phone calls throughout this process, explaining the terms she doesn’t understand. Let her know you’re learning too. When you both do sign on that dotted line, know that she wishes she could call him to tell him the news. Take her out to celebrate at his favorite restaurant. Order his favorite drink. When you’re knee-deep in home ownership (and poor because you just spent your savings on a down payment plus brand new furniture) and your sink starts leaking, pull up YouTube tutorials and get to work. She will be looking at her phone wishing she could call her dad to come assist you. Her dad could fix everything from leaky pipes to broken hearts. Show her that you can fix it, too. You can fix anything.

When your dog has been acting weird for the last two days, she will freak out and worry about what to do. When it starts throwing up all over your house, she will panic. Her hysterical call to you in the middle of work won’t be great timing. But she will need your calm demeanor explaining who she needs to call and what specific vet to take him to. She’s looking for your strength in these moments of hysteria, just like she would seek out from her own father. She uses you, this pillar in her life, to calm her nerves and settle her fears. This role isn’t for the faint of heart, but I promise you that your composure is exactly what she’s searching for. You are her rock and the remaining one she has. She clings to it.

When you ask her to pick up a specific screw driver from the store, she would have called her dad to walk her through the exact one you need. She probably won’t ask someone for help, she will probably call you multiple times throughout the store. Please have patience with her. I need you to not roll your eyes at her confusion and let her video chat with you until she finds the right one. She wants to help you, so keep letting her. Maybe you think it’d be easier if you just did it yourself, but she wants to be of service to you in ways that force her to step out of her comfort zone. She enjoys doing things like this for you, it makes her feel good that you trust her with these tasks. Even if it is just a silly little screwdriver.

She knows there’s a ‘shortcut’ to get to the airport by taking three different highways instead of the main one. She will call you every single time, asking for you to repeat those directions for the 20th time. It’s hard not to laugh, I know. How does someone forget directions that they’ve driven multiple times? But she does forget and she will every time. Again, I’m going to need you to pretend this is the first time she’s asking and thoroughly explain the exits and highways for her once more. When she’s out driving in the middle of a snow storm and the roads she typically takes home are too dangerous, she will call asking for directions on a new way. Her dad knew all of the secret paths around the city, so I hope you start learning them too.

Molly Schultz/Tried & True Mama

She will yearn for someone to make her laugh like her dad did. She wants you to tell the same dumb jokes like he told, and she wants you to tell them at awkward times. The quirkiness of her dad is a hard void to fill, but she wants you to try to keep some of it alive. It was one of his best qualities and she doesn’t want it to die, too. Use your own silly antics in your own way to make her laugh. Please use your sense of humor on a daily basis and never stop. It gives her the sort of comfort that he’s still around and she needs it. She loves it.

Sometimes she will sit and listen to videos of his voice for hours and hours. She will turn on her phone and dial his number just to see it pop up on her screen. Sit with her. Laugh with her. Hold her while she cries. She knows you can’t be him, but she wants you to remember him too. He was her guiding light and sometimes the light can feel so dim. Brighten her life by honoring the role he once held for her. By loving the girl who lost her dad, you are now giving her a piece of that light back.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Schultz of Tried and True Mama.  Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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