Sharing Words of Wisdom on Father’s Day

Cancer & Caregiving
Reading Time: 5 mins
Publication Date: 06/21/2015
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us


"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite’s Article


Ball, M. (2020, October 16). Sharing Words of Wisdom on Father’s Day. Retrieved December 3, 2022, from


Ball, Melanie. "Sharing Words of Wisdom on Father’s Day.", 16 Oct 2020,


Ball, Melanie. "Sharing Words of Wisdom on Father’s Day." Last modified October 16, 2020.

I had an awkward and tearful moment when I was first asked about my father shortly after his death from mesothelioma in 1993.

Those who knew me were aware it was just too tender a subject to discuss.

The story of my experience dealing with the death of my father is a lonely one. Back then, at least in my family, seeking counseling was out of the question because it carried a negative stigma. My mother didn’t see how necessary counseling was for me to handle everything on my plate.

Teenage years are tough enough to experience, but throw in the death of a parent, and you’ll likely have some issues best addressed by a professional. I don’t fault my mother. She just wasn’t aware of my needs. After all, she’s the one who nursed her husband of 22 years until he died.

Starting a New Life

After my father’s death, we moved 212 miles away to have a new start. I was in 10th grade, and did not fit well with my surroundings.

I was an outsider to my peers. They had attended school together since kindergarten. I felt awkward as I walked into my first class. I strolled in a few minutes late, and my mature high heels and purple dress didn’t boost my confidence. I was out of place; I was dressed differently than others, and my northern accent didn’t help either.

When the teacher asked me to introduce myself to the class, I nervously stood and sheepishly announced my name. His response: “You’re not from around here are you?” I felt welcomed, but before I could sit down again, he asked, “Who is your dad?”

I choked.

I bit the big one right in front of an entire classroom of strangers. Tears filled my eyes and streamed down my cheeks before I could catch them. It had been nine months since I watched my daddy’s casket lowered into the ground, and I was not ready to answer such a question publicly.

Picking Up the Pieces of Your Life

So how do you start to pick up pieces of your life when you lose someone so close?

I secluded myself in my bedroom and shut down. Sometimes I would go days without eating or sleeping. I was depressed, and oddly enough, I was angry. I was angry that my life was such a mess. I was angry that we had to move. I was angry that my mother wasn’t acting like a mother anymore. I was so mad.

It takes courage to admit it, but I was even mad at my dad for dying. He left me before I was ready to let go.

Forging Relationships with New Friends

It was late 1994 before I had opened myself enough to my peers to acknowledge any of them as my friends.

The relationships and activities I forged with my new friends helped me stagger out of the darkness. I kept busy with school work and that also kept my mind off my father’s death. I worked at making a life for myself and my mother. She was picking up her own pieces and helping her made me feel good, too.

The following spring, I took over some of the jobs my dad would have done such as taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn and painting the rooms of our new house. I was beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It just took me a while to find it.

Passing My Dad’s Stories to My Children

I am now 36, and I wish that I could tell you that I am all better now.

I still miss my dad. Sometimes, I still cry. I continue to face awkward moments where I have to hold back the tears, and there are moments when I can’t hold them back.

I remember the first time one of my children asked me about my dad. I cried a lot that day. Now, I find joy in telling stories about their Papaw Rick. They hang on my every word, and it truly touches my heart to hear them speak his name.

At times, they will remind each other about the stories I’ve told them. Sometimes, when we eat dinner, my daughter will tell her brother, “This was Papaw Rick’s favorite!”

Advice to Others Walking the Path of Cancer

Experiencing the death of a loved one is not an easy road to travel. However, it is inevitable for us all.

My advice to anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma and their loved ones is to never, ever lose hope. There are treatments today that were unavailable in 1993.

Support groups are available for people who are traveling the same road as you. Talk to someone who can understand your feelings and emotions. Someone who can help you find the pieces of your life scattered by this disease.

I still pray for breakthroughs in treatments and for finding a cure for mesothelioma. I pray that one day asbestos will be something of our distant past. Until then, we are all bonded through
the diagnoses, prognoses and treatments of this disease. Whether you or someone you love is diagnosed, remember there is always hope.

Get Access to Free Resources for Patients & Loved Ones
Free Mesothelioma Resources