Losing my dad at 21

My dad died 11.12.23 so it’s been 5 months now. He was 53, I am 21. He suddenly died of a heart attack whilst on his wedding anniversary holiday abroad with my mum whilst swimming in the sea. We later learned he had heart disease and that explains the heart attack. I was very very close to my dad. When he died I had 4 months left of my degree and I made the decision to return to university and finish my degree. Somehow I’ve managed to complete all my assignments, projects and dissertation, not a single thing missed. I don’t know how I’ve done it and I’m hating everyone congratulating me and saying they’re proud of me. I don’t know if I’ve passed yet. My friends were fantastic in the original fallout of Dad dying but appear to have forgotten that this is something that is going to continue happening to me for the rest of my life. My dad will always be dead. He is missing. I know he was proud of me and loved me, he made a real effort to tell me because it’s not something his parents did. There are lots of other really complicated aspects to him dying including having to get in touch with my older half brother and tell him ‘hey, your dad you haven’t seen since you were 4 died and also I’m your sister’ obviously in a much more sensitive way and he wants to build a relationship with me and my mum which is amazing and what I want but so hard. I haven’t found anyone who has experienced anything similar and people around me are trying to support and understand but they don’t have a clue. We ordered Ashes to Glass Jewelry and that arrives tomorrow which I’m excited for but also makes me feel kind of sick. I just don’t know what to do with myself and am finding it so difficult to talk about. I don’t really know what I want to achieve with this but it would be nice to just get this out there. Sending love to everyone experiencing grief.


Hello @emnettle ,

I’m part of the Online Community team and I can see that you are new to the community - I’d like to thank you for bravely starting this thread and sharing how you are feeling. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad, how truly devastating and, understandably, you are feeling like you don’t know what to do with yourself. Most community members have sadly experienced the death of a loved one and so will understand some of what you are going through.

I’m sure someone will be along to offer their support, but I wanted to share a few Sue Ryder resources with you that might be helpful.

You might also want to have a look at The Mix - an online community for anyone aged 16-25 to talk about any issues that are on their minds

I really hope you find the community helpful and a good source of support and I also hope you feel you can access more support should you need it.
Thank you again for sharing – please keep reaching out and know that you are not alone.
Take care,


Hi, I’m so sorry to hear about your dad and sending so much love to you and your family.
I just wanted to reach out because I am in a really similar situation to you. My wonderful step-dad unexpectedly passed away 28/12/23 after suffering a heart arrest at home.
I’m 22 years old and in what was meant to be my final year of university. I haven’t been able to engage in my studies very well since losing my step-dad and am currently trying my best to muddle through my assignments.
I am hear if you would like to talk, I think I would like that too. It can feel very lonely sometimes, especially when your friends can’t relate to what you’re dealing with.
You should also be very proud of yourself for posting that message, it takes a lot of courage. x


I’m so sorry. It’s awful. At 39 I’m older than you, but my dad’s death was also sudden and unexpected and caused by heart disease (a furred up artery). The shock permeates through your whole body. My dad was my hero. I loved him and doted on him and am utterly and thoroughly gutted :broken_heart:.

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The one thing about grief is its not sexist, racist or ageist. We all suffer the same, just some people cope better than others, regardless of age.
I know ypur dad will be so proud of you for going back and finishing your exams, as well as reaching out to your half brother.
Grief is timeless, can smack ypu in the face when you least expect it, regardless of age.
I have been here 2 days and have got a lot from reading other grieving experiences, makes me know im not the only one.
So reach out, talk and maybe it will ease, slowly…