Losing Daddy

Grief is like a heavy invisible fog that settles around you and lifts you from the earth. You float while everyone else keeps on walking as if nothing has changed. But for you and your family everything is different.  Nothing else matters. The bank, your job, your bills, the dishes, the laundry… it all feels wrong. The sadness behind your children’s eyes feels wrong. No one should feel that pain, but especially not them. Not now. Not ever. Yet, comforting them feels impossible, because how can you make them feel better when you are still floating?

I thought I was prepared. I knew logically it was going to happen. He knew it was going to happen. And as a man of science and logic, he could predict every step. He knew when it was time. He knew when his body couldn’t handle one more minute of pain and torture inflicted on him by the invader called Cancer. He knew. We knew. But we were NOT ready. We were NOT okay letting go and losing Daddy. It is hard. So hard that there are no words.

I Will Always Remember Daddy

I will never forget the man I met when I was a child. The man who opened his heart to a single mother with three little girls and embraced all of us as his own. He only referred to us as his daughters because we were – regardless of what DNA says. The person who was one of the most influential men in my life. I can hear his voice in so many things – from the way I load the dishwasher to the way I look at the world. I watched him when my youngest sister was born. The way he parented shaped me. He is the reason I selected a partner who always puts family first, keeps me laughing and makes me roll my eyes. He is my children’s beloved Pop-Pop who made jokes and loved to see the glee in their eyes when he demonstrated his magic tricks. He is missed and loved and missed and remembered.

Our hearts have the amazing capacity to grow and capture an endless amount of love. What no one tells you is that once you make that space in your heart you can never close it because love lasts forever. Beyond death.

The space in my heart reserved for Daddy is huge. He will always be here with me. Just as he will always be with all his daughters, his grandchildren, his son-in-laws, his friends, his extended family and his wife – my mother.

His soul lives on within each of our hearts because that is what he deserves. He didn’t deserve to be taken so early. He didn’t deserve to be attacked by Cancer. He was only 58 years old. He should have been with us much longer. He should have been here to meet more grandchildren and see my youngest sister graduate from college. This makes me so angry and sad. This is what I need to make peace with. This is what makes the fog feel so heavy.

I cling to the memories and love now. I hold my family tighter. I say I love you louder. I will not take one second for granted.

I love you Daddy… now and forever.


Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.




  1. Wonderful

  2. Beautiful

  3. Nicole, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

  4. Nicole, I am so sorry for your loss and am thinking of you and your family. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man.

  5. Tears. Tears. Eloquent as always, even in grief. We are thinking of you all. Much love from the Hoffman family.

  6. Oh sweetheart, I am so sorry. There are so many parallels here to what I went through as well. My Daddy, also named Steve, 60 years old, we lost him to cancer exactly 2 years & one week ago. There will never be anyone who can replace him & yes there will always be a Steve-shaped hole in you. But eventually you’ll get used to a new normal. But such a great loss does other things for you. It deepens you as a person, makes you more reflective & you’ll find yourself smiling when you remember all of the things he taught you, his words will become even more important & they will continue to help guide you through life even in his physical absence. But even 2 years from now, you’ll still cry but you’ll be ok. Hugs & love to you from someone else who survived it. Just hang in there for now. xo

    • Dear Nicole,

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I can understand the grief you are feeling right now because I also lost my dad a few months ago. Like you, I thought I was prepared, we knew it was going to happen. But what the mind accepts and prepares for, the heart can’t. One day it will though. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.


  7. So sorry, Nicole. I’m so glad you have photos of him with your family. Your post made me tear up because my Dad was also called Pop-Pop by my kids (and was also a Steve). He’s been gone 7 1/2 years but it still feels like yesterday.

    Thinking of you all.

  8. I can’t imagine what you are going G though. Prayers.

  9. Sheila Lo Monaco says:

    Im sorry for your loss, may God bless you and your family my prayers are with you.


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