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More Life: A Guide to Celebrating Father's Day When You're Grieving the Loss of Your Dad

My mind did it's own thing today. I'm normally sad , broken and confused when Father's Day comes around. But this time, I felt like this was a moment to teach. A moment to use my voice and speak into the millions of lives trying to fill the void of missing their paternal component. There's no rule book on how to deal with your parents, but dealing without them is an entirely different mountain to move.

June 17, 1971, the worlds greatest Gemini breathed his first breath. The day after Tupac. November 22,1990, he became more than he had thought he could be , he was now a father ; my father. My mother says he fell in love the day he laid eyes on me. We have the same set, so it was like looking into himself. Every year, his birthday falls on or after Father's Day. And I almost never know what I should do to show him that I love him , other than pray and hope that God sends the message.

Immediately upon rising this morning, my mind went to Lauren and those children without Nipsey. So the original urge to write came with a letter to Imani, Nip's daughter. I feel her pain. I lost my dad at 8, she at 10. I remember that confusion that later turned to anger right after it hit agony. At 28, the loss still hurts, and I still miss him and I still hold some form of resentment. Above all of that I just hope he's proud that he raised a hustler and a woman of dreams.

I want us all to release the feeling the loss. For we did not lose a father, we gained an angel. He's still very much my dad. So, instead of sitting at home in the dark while others relish in the fact that their dads are still here , choose to celebrate in his honor. Allow that connection that you once shared to bring you closer to him on this day and every day moving forward.

"To own as truth that my father is gone forever is to completely neglect all of the wonderful things he left behind -- his stories, the people he loved, his art, the home he created with my mother and our family -- the things which are the essence of what his time on earth was all about." (Micco. Huffpost)

'Timmy Shaw' was the neighborhood hero. Although, gang affiliated, he never promoted violence or drug usage. He forever preached loyalty and family. He kept everyone of his caliber close and made sure we knew just how important it was to have one another. He treated each person he met with the same respect he'd want to receive. In my adolescence that was instilled in me as well.I still feel his coverage, so I know he's always here. To ensure I was granting myself the best support , I keep these thoughts close.

Above everything , remain transparent. At 8, I didn't understand the concept of death. Hell at 28, I still have questions. I get that we have to go, but what I still have trouble comprehending is why does it always seem so soon. The timing never seems right. If you're anything like me, you'll begin to feel like you're asking too much. But in all honesty, to be able to enjoy someone to the fullest before they're gone for good would be appreciated. Not to know when is better for mental stability I suppose. I choose to hone in on all the great experiences, people and things he gave me while he was here.

The most enjoyable thing about growing while grieving is that I always get to carry the wisdom he gave with me. My aunt raised me until right after he passed. Throughout his life , they were super tight. He kept her near and she kept me on her hip. My mom always says, "he paid her well", but whatever he gave her it could never compensate for how well she took care of me. We fostered that relationship because of him , it was due to their bond that her and I created a trust that no one could ever break.

There's an old saying that goes " What don't kill you, makes you stronger". Each year without him that doesn't rip me to shreds because his absence is so grand strengthens me. It teaches me that God is within in and that my father has never left my side. But in all of that, use this pain to fuel my passion and then share it. I haven't written in days, just because life was having it's way with me. But today, I decided to allow my emotions to take over and really feel. I don't do that often.

I read an article that gave an easy way to bring peace to this loss. For those of you celebrating Father’s Day in the spirit of his legacy I encourage you to start your day off by dedicating an hour of your morning to connecting with his memory in whatever way that turns out to show up. My father loved to dance and skate. He was a pro on the wheels. Doing these things remind me of him and I said when I would make this a tradition in my family. I grew up loving these things as well, to the point that I wanted to pursue dancing as a career. It's still a past time of mine. As my dad's only child , I often feel like I'm the only one hurting. When you feel these emotions it's important to really open those wounds, but to also be receptive of the outpouring love from family, friends, and loved ones. The support, empathy, and memories will keep you going on the darkest days.

This Father's Day , just like every one since I got old enough to celebrate I will basque in his absence because his presence was so comforting. And I encourage you to do the same. So to Imani, myself , and every other young lady that has been forced to figure out how to cope moving forward without our knights in shining armor , I hope this helps. Our fathers didn't die, they are just living inside of us now.

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