My dad died last week. Writing that I’m still in disbelief that it happened. Where I’m sitting now is so different than where I was a week ago. My dad was in the hospital supposedly on the road to recovery and I was deep in preparation for an arbitration hearing scheduled to start this week. Now I am sitting in my office with no dad and a cancelled arbitration hearing trying to support my mom and family, as well as my clients – yes, it’s good to other things to focus on while you grieve.

This is hard. Life is hard. You know this because we all deal with hard, frustrating, and sad events and moments. Maybe someone you’re close to passed away or you were laid off or fired. The list of things that happen that make life difficult at times is long and depends on the person.

No matter what you’re dealing with there are things you can do to help yourself. First, do not keep to yourself. Find others you know and trust to speak with and help you think through the situation, grieve with you, or otherwise be part of your way to process the situation and make your way through it. You may be able to get through it on your own but it will be easier for you if let others help you.

That being said, it is hard to let others in to help you. You may just want someone to listen or instead want thoughts and ideas on whatever you’re dealing with. Let them know what you need because people are inherently good and willing to help but it’s up to you to let them know how they can best help you.

I regularly say there is a good and bad with all. Despite the sadness of losing someone, let alone a parent, the good has been the connection and reconnection with family members and friends, some of whom I hadn’t spoken to in years. It also has been the kind words of people who knew my dad differently than I did. I have heard from professionals who knew and dealt with him for over 40 years before he retired to people who knew him socially or through organizations he was involved with. The kind words and seeing him through their eyes has been helpful and special. In some ways it made me miss him more.

What this experience has and is reminding me of is the importance of connection and letting people in to help. If you are struggling with something or grieving try to let someone in or if you know someone who is try to be the one who offers a helping hand, listens, and helps someone else through a hard time. It’s this shared experience that makes life amazing even during difficult times.