thatisbravesquared[Once a week, I am going to be sharing with you a brave story sent in from a reader. You can comment, respond, encourage. Want to submit your own story or a story of a brave friend of yours? Head to thatisbrave.com!]

This week’s #thatisbrave story comes from Erin. Heartbreaking, to be sure. But her courage inspires me. Her words and name are used with her permission.

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I don’t think anyone expects to be attending the funeral of a parent. I certainly didn’t! But cancer doesn’t discriminate! When I was fifteen, my dad passed away after being diagnosed with cancer. It was such a difficult time. I was studying for exams, as was my brother, and my sister was so young that it felt almost impossible for us to be going through such a situation. And it felt like we were going through it alone. The support of family and friends soon petered out, leaving only a select few who stayed. This hurt! For me, a young fifteen year old girl, not having my friends around when I needed them most was probably one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced, second to losing my dad.

Throughout the time that my dad was sick, my mum often reminded me that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. But as time went on, I began to feel like I was suffocating. That the whole experience was just consuming me. I grew angry at those who seemed to have forgotten, or just lost interest in what my family had gone through. I became bitter. I struggled immensely. But it wasn’t until my mum pointed out to me that I needed to speak to someone about the whole situation that I actually realised how much I was struggling.

I would bottle-up all my feelings and thoughts because I was so used to dealing with it all on my own anyway. But looking back now, I would have benefitted from talking about my story and hearing the stories of others. Those who did offer support didn’t and couldn’t understand what my family and I were going through because they hadn’t gone through it personally.

Five years on and I feel I have grown so much. I have dealt with a lot of feelings and issues that have been haunting me. I also know there will be more (they seem to pop up when least expected, in dribs and drabs). The memories I have of my dad, and the circumstances surrounding his death are ones that I will have to deal with constantly. I miss him! I wish he could see where life has taken my family and I. But I am finally at a place where I feel I can share my story. It may be painful and raw still, but for a while I have felt God telling me to share it. So I have.

I recently started a blog (thereislifeoutthere.blogspot.co.uk) in the hopes that other people going through similar situations would find encouragement, to see that life goes on and it can be wonderful and beautiful, just as God intended it to be! I want to inspire others to be brave with their stories by me being brave with my own!

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If you have any encouragement for Erin and her brave story, leave it below in the comments.

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