There comes a time that we believe our parents are invincible, indestructible and immortal. We choose to believe that no matter how old we get our home and our security is within their arms and that we would always go back to them.

But how many times did your expectations last? That is the story, in three simple sentences you believe in something yet life shows you that you are mistaken.

I was certain that my father was the strongest man in the world. But I also trusted that he was never going to leave me. I will always go to him; he will always be there for a joke, advice or a conversation. I never needed to worry because no matter what the world throws my way, he’ll always and forever be there for guidance and consultation no matter what. My relationship with my father was very special. He was my best friend and he was the first person I ever went to for everything. He was the first to know about my elementary crush, the one who always saw the good in me and the one I would always talk to about friends’ drama. In Ramadan 2013 I was faced with one of the most challenging obstacles of my life, my dad was diagnosed with stage four cancer. And never in my life have I ever seen someone receive such news with an extremely cheerful reaction. I remember my dad having a huge smile on his face and joking about his illness as if it was good news. I remember him cracking jokes about making cancer ads. I remember him laughing so loud that I almost thought it was a prank.

He assured me we would be fine, he told me that I would be strong in a time when I believed he was the one who needed strength. Little did I know, he was born with it and didn’t need anyone’s reassurance.

Even while I saw his health getting worse and worse I still held on to the promise that we will be fine. I was in complete denial, I totally believed he wasn’t going to leave, that this was not goodbye yet. I honestly believed that my father was going to hold on to his promise to walk me down the aisle.

Almost two months later I realized that his assertion that we will be fine meant that he believed that we would be able to make it even after he went away. As peaceful as a spring breeze he went and as beautiful as his life was, his departure was serene. But scarred me for life.

I was a seventeen-year-old girl who lost her best friend and it felt like a child watching their super hero leave. For a better life, a better cause, and a happier place but it was painful anyway.

I didn’t know what was I supposed to do next and this is the worst thing about grief. When it hits, you are overwhelmed with sadness that nothing seems right.

How do you live with this kind of weighted pain on your chest? How do you survive this kind of loss? How do you even believe that your life is worth living anymore? The only way to do that is to have faith, to open your heart and to find purpose.

Have faith that God has a plan for you, a plan that includes healing, happiness, and love. Have faith that you will continue to be supported by your lost loved one from where they are even more than you have been supported by them here.

I had faith that my father’s soul was imprisoned by this world and he was finally set free into a much better place that he deserved to be in. I had faith that my parents brought my brothers up in a way that would make them properly take care of me and walk me through life. I had faith that my mother would act as the hero she is and would act as both our father and mother.

And what I believed in was what I found and even more, God sent me people who are willing to protect and take care of me in every way possible. He strengthened each and every one of my family in a manner that allowed us to be a source of support for one another. He sent me someone to fill a part of the void my father left in my heart. And for that, I became even more grateful. And what I’m thankful for the most is feeling my father’s presence in every sad and happy moment I have been through since September 2013.

Open your heart for those around you, open it to the people who want to share your grief and never blame them for not utterly understanding it. Because what matters is that they want to be there, they genuinely want to have a role in your grieving process. So open your heart to them and allow them to give you the care you need because believe me on some days you won’t be able to make it without them.

I opened my heart to new people, to new experiences, and to God. I opened my heart to the belief that this was God’s fate and destiny and that I needed to find my way to acceptance so that I could continue the time he gave me.

Find purpose, whether in your career, your personality or your family, find what gives you determination and what could motivate you to continue your journey. Find something that pulls you out of bed every day.

I found my purpose to make my father proud, to become a better person every day and to find my path to God. I wake up with perseverance to become a better and stronger person, I try to be tougher and I try to become the person who deserves to carry his name.

God blessed me with a father who is looked up to by a lot of people and a supportive family. I try to use my pain and loss in favor of being the person that would make them proud.

Loss hurts, sometimes it even hurts more than anything else. But the moment you make peace with that pain you will learn to live with it, accept it and utilize it to push you towards the person you ought to be.