An open letter to anyone who has lost a parent



“Sometimes the moments that ruin you, make you.”

It’s never easy to lose someone we love. As we move into a new year, some of us might be reflecting on, processing and grieving the events of the past – making this time particularly poignant. After losing her father suddenly 10 years ago, Australian musician Graace struggled to process her immense and deeply personal heartbreak.

Almost a decade later, Graace uses her music as both a creative and emotional outlet. Her single ‘Half Awake’ touches on using lucid dreaming as a way to communicate with her late father. In this open letter, Graace addresses those who have also experienced losing a parental figure. 

Alright let’s just get into it, let’s talk about life. I guess I’m writing this for everyone out there who’s gone through some family trauma; shit that’s either ruined you or made you. I feel like I’ve been through both.

Music has been my absolute saviour and my outlet for everything I’ve been through – but that doesn’t mean it gets rid of all the demons, you know? Only a few of those demons are willing to be released through the art I make, and the others stay inside like uncomfortable, unwanted butterflies.

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Getting back to the stuff that’s ruined or made you… I went through a tough time when I was 15. My dad passed away super suddenly. Like, ‘we were meant to go on a family camping trip the next day’ sort of suddenly. That sort of death really haunts you. It leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth you can’t ever get rid of, and a whole lot of unsaid words, too.

A lot of those unsaid words I’ve been lucky enough to speak through lyrics in my songs, which is a part of the outlet I was talking about before. But some of those unsaid words are still in me, the ones I don’t share. Obviously, ‘I love you’ and ‘thank you’ are some huge ones.

You realise you don’t tell people you love that you love them enough. You realise you’re super thankful for all the small things in life; a lot more than you thought. And honestly, it makes you grow the fuck up super quickly.

Alas, the death of a father figure led to a lot of reassurance left unfulfilled. Not having that ‘male figure’ in my life led me to look for it elsewhere, making some serious mistakes along the way. You begin to look for validation in others, because you don’t have that father there to say ‘you don’t need makeup, you’re beautiful the way you are’.

This also led to me making some decisions I wish I didn’t when I was younger. It was hard not having ‘good from bad’ guidance. And I’ve learnt from those mistakes, of course, but that validation and reassurance I got from my father never came back. And unfortunately, it’s inevitable I’ll seek that in other places and people. But whatever, we all secretly do that anyway. Don’t lie.

It’s funny now, looking back. I knew his death would affect me but I didn’t realise how much. My outlook on life has been ripped to shreds and warped… all of that jazz. I’ll try to explain it the best I can, but it’ll be a little hard considering not even I really know what I’m talking about.

His death made me paranoid. I’m positive there are people out there who get what I mean when I say: an event like that makes you realise just how fragile life is. It genuinely makes you think everyone, including you, is going to die. The whole ‘future’ thing became quite blurry.

It’s hard to imagine a long life when you’re aware it can be taken away so suddenly, you know? Long story short, my normal day-to-day life consists of living in the moment and not in the future – because I’m afraid the future doesn’t exist. Sounds morbid as fuck, I know. But it’s the truth.

The good thing, though, is it ruined me to a point where it made my music better. I’m more emotional and my real, RAW emotions come alive in my music. I think people can relate to a lot of what I feel. Sometimes the moments that ruin you, make you.

Death both makes you and ruins you. The only thing you can do (and the one thing I hope people take from this) is to remember life isn’t all roses and butterflies. It’s dark and sad, but we have the power to let it make or break us. I’m still figuring out how to navigate through this trauma. To whoever else out there is doing the same, we’ve got this.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with grief, head here.

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