New Graduate and just lost my dad in a tragic accident - I am so lost, what do I do?

I've come here many times for professional and career advice and although it just sounds insane posting on a financial forum like this for help what I've truly realized is that I can't do this alone and that any sort of support is keeping me strong. 
 

I am an only child and losing my dad has left me numb and confused. It was a suicide and I had no idea this was coming. My mom has been left speechless and we are both so in shock. I need to finish my last semester of college, I had multiple job offers for prop trading, I have a girlfriend and friends, I can't afford to feel sorry for myself right now I need to be there for my mom first and for myself second. It was about 4 days ago and I finally just got comfortable with talking to others about it and I realized how much better I feel speaking with others and knowing I am not alone. 
 

Does anyone have any personal advice (how you've delt with something like this, how to keep your personality the same, how to be strong, worrying about my mother being lonely) along with professional advice (father died without a will, mom has no college education and family are waiting on the sideline like vultures I presume, nobody understands what actually happened but also I think the life insurance had been in play for 15+ years so it will be paid out hopefully?) 

The things I have done: made sure to talk with my mom and be there for her as much as possible, asked to push my start date to deal with this tragedy emotionally and logistically, reached out to my dean at university to ask for some leniency in my final semester. I just don't know what to do and want someone to talk to. Please any help would be appreciated.

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Comments (42)

Mar 21, 2022 - 7:22am
outback, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey man, my condolences. It sounds like we are around the same age, I could not imagine losing my dad this young. Please feel free to reach out if you think venting to a stranger would help.

My two cents after losing friends and seeing friends lose their parents, give yourself time and be patient. Grief will come in waves and in ways you do not expect. Part of the healing process is self-advocacy, it sounds like you are doing this by extending your start date and reaching out to your dean. Continue that notion on a personal level as well, with your mom, girlfriend, friends - be sincere, be willing to be vulnerable, be willing to ask for help. Being strong takes vulnerability.

Most Helpful
Mar 21, 2022 - 11:23am
traderguy123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you so much for the comment I really appreciate it. I'm trying to be strong now and although it's still early I'm waning between being at peace with it and then suddenly realizing he's not going to be there at my graduation, or my wedding, or to see my kids. I scrolled back through our texts and found one back in November when he had a small stroke - he's never been the biggest fan of doctors and stuff but his exact text said "Don't worry son if there's anyone in this world I'll take care of myself for it's you. I love you so much and I know you didn't get to meet your grandpa, but I'm going to make sure your kids will." 
 

I've just been going back and forth between feeling ok and talking with friends and thanking everyone for their support and thinking I'm going to be ok and seeing photos or having sporadic memories come back that just hit a little hard knowing I'm never going to the beach with him again, we're never going to work on the cars together, I'm going to be celebrating Father's Day without him being there to cook a steak with or talk about work with. He is who inspired me to become a trader and he was so proud of me I'm just going to really miss that. Sorry for all of the emotional stuff I know these are just random people who I might never meet and it's just an anonymous forum but talking about it has helped me so much. 

Mar 23, 2022 - 10:41pm
outback, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hi again, I know I was just the first person to reply to your post. I think there is a balance between embracing what you will "be missing" as a way to honor and remember your father as well as a way to heal and learn to stand in the "emptiness" of him not being in those moments.

Your sincerity and vulnerability even through the mask of the internet tells to the character and strength of your person. I'm glad this forum has pulled together to give you support.

I hope you are finding this support in your mom, girlfriend, and friends as well. Again, my DMs are open. Wishing you the best.

Apr 4, 2022 - 1:05pm
DinosaurJuice, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I do not have any experience dealing with what you are going through, but I have a recommendation based on the results I have seen in my own life: Talk to a professional. Since you are still in school, I imagine money might be tight. Check out www.openpathcollective.org. It is a low cost option but does not sell your data like the big brand online "therapy" sites. Take care of yourself and be proud that you posted and are aware that this may not be something you want to deal with on your own.

Mar 21, 2022 - 12:11pm
K-Peezy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

First, condolences. It's good to see you haven't lost your priorities in life and have been assertive about laying out what you need to make sure it stays that way.

Second, you said it yourself: finding someone to talk to. Not sure if you're a religious monkey or not, but letting it out with a pastor/minister/priest/pick-your-poison is helpful. If not that, take advantage of your campus counseling. If you don't feel comfortable talking to someone there, ask them for a referral. Sometimes the most healthy and healing part of therapy is just having someone to throw the emotional spaghetti at regardless if they have any advice in return. There's no shame it letting out. You already had to bury your father, don't let the grief bury you too.

Now the sobering side of things: get an attorney on retainer if you can if you feel a fight coming with the family. It sucks, but you've already started on looking out for you and yours and that's how you can keep that going. We all've stories of shedding "family members" due to this crazy notion called ethics and probate law, but you lost your father so I'd tell them "because f*** you, that's why!"

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Mar 21, 2022 - 10:13pm
traderguy123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you for your response, I was with my mom all day today and wasn't able to reply but saw the comments popping up in my email. I am not very religious, but I do believe that there is a better place/heaven that my dad is in now. I am incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive group of friends and have had people come out of the woodwork to offer support to me. That is a great point and I even told one of my closest friends - don't worry you don't have to respond to these I just want to clear my head and keep things from getting pent up.

On the logical side of things my dad left a lot of different things between life insurances and a binder of passwords for my mom, unfortunately the will he left was not signed so I'm very confused on how everything is going to end up. He left my mom and I as the executors in the will but none of this was signed and these things concern me but maybe with a good lawyer there can be some pressure/leverage there to make sure my mom and I are the ones representing my dad's estate.

Mar 21, 2022 - 12:18pm
greyarea23, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Tragic, I'm really sorry to hear this. While the pain you feel right now is immeasurable, the pain and confusion your mother feels is likely even greater. It sounds like you've taken some good steps already with school / work, so I think your next focus should be on your mother. Heal by helping her heal. While you have your whole life ahead of you and likely a very lucrative career, her life as she had known has just ended. You're the head of the household now - you now need to make sure that she is taken care of, provided for, and given the resources to recover and begin building a new life. Spend time together, talk about how you actually feel, get angry, get sad, smile, grieve. Reach out to her friends if she has any, make her feel as loved as you possible can. You're obviously very intelligent, so look out for your mother in any and all legal proceedings / estate items that arise in the near future. Fend off the vultures, get her the resources she needs. The man she built a life with is no longer here, but you are.

Mar 21, 2022 - 10:14pm
traderguy123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you so much for the response. I have pushed my start date to September from June and I will be taking the summer to spend time with her, remember my father, and make sure that she feels loved and supported. My girlfriend and I are very serious together so I have a very strong support network for myself and making sure that my mom is able to spend time around family and friends as well as myself. 

Mar 22, 2022 - 1:03am
John Gorilly 123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sorry to hear about this, OP. My DMs are open to talk if you ever need

Array
Mar 21, 2022 - 12:27pm
ontheblockanalyst, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Truly, truly sorry for your loss OP. This will hit you in times and places that you wouldn't expect, and it's important to keep in mind that it's totally normal and expected. I don't have advice to give that's unique from any of the other posters here, but please feel free to PM me if you need to talk, vent, rant, etc. 

Mar 21, 2022 - 10:16pm
traderguy123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you man I really appreciate it, I'm going to be strong for my mom right now - I'm not the kind of person to get knocked down by life and not get back up. This isn't a high-school breakup, I lost my dad in the past week and I know that the world doesn't revolve around me and life goes on. I'd rather adapt to a world without my dad in it than spend time wallowing in sorrow wishing for a world with him in it again. It helps a lot being able to vent/talk with others even if they're only there to listen.

Mar 21, 2022 - 1:03pm
JustJoshinYou, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As someone who lost their father several months ago suddenly, I can certainly empathize with you. The first few days I couldn't really comprehend what happened and it never really fully hit me until about a week later. I was so incredibly busy dealing with the arrangements, talking with friends & family, and consoling my mother that I really did not factor in my own feelings.

My first initial advice is to talk to as many of your close family and friends when possible. Keeping busy at first helped me cope with the loss, but it started to really sink in after a few days. I started reaching out to more friends that helped me out tremendously from a mental health standpoint.

From a legal perspective, with no will, it looks like you may have to go through probate court to claim his assets as this would be intestate. This can be a lengthly process (I'm still going through it and it's almost like a 2nd job). I would prepare myself for a lot of paperwork, phone calls, and possible visits to financial institutions, lawyers, etc. Check with your state on what you will have to file. It may be beneficial for you to consult with an estate attorney if you are not familiar with process. For life insurance policies, check if there are any provisions considering the circumstances of the way he passed. if there isn't, then it should be fully paid out as long as you provide them with the death certificate.

I think you have already gotten started on the right foot by pushing your start date and reaching out to the dean. These next few weeks and months will be a bit of an adjustment. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.

Take care of yourself.

Mar 21, 2022 - 10:18pm
traderguy123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you so much. I will PM you for more information because although it seems cut and dry it is a very complex situation. Additionally, we looked through the clauses and he's had this life insurance for multiple years. It looks like for his life insurance policy as long as he didn't commit suicide within 2 years of adding new policy holders or other things then it will pay out.

I actually found out he did have a will but it was unsigned unfortunately - perhaps there is a virtual copy on his computer that IS signed. He did it with some online estate planner but it's on like a 2003 laptop and it's so slow I can barely open it.

Mar 21, 2022 - 1:23pm
teddythebear, what's your opinion? Comment below:

God bless you OP. Sorry for your loss. I understand this happened 4 days ago. You are strong for your mom given the situation. However, you have every right to mourn. It's natural to do so. Mourning is not a sign of weakness at all, but rather shows how dearly that person meant for you. I honestly can't even fathom what you are going through so therefore dont think I am qualified enough to give you advice, but you are doing everything right. This is all very new and nobody, not even your employer, expects you to hit the ground running after such a tragic event. Take a break right now. Let everyone around you know that you will need to take a break. People are generally willing to be very lenient in situations like this. Take everything one step at a time and continue to give as much emotional support to your mom. As others have offered above, feel free to PM me as well.

Array

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Mar 21, 2022 - 2:30pm
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Praying for you. I can't imagine what you're going through.

I would seek refuge in a few things:

- Your family and friends (support system)

- Spiritual life and development

- Working out hardcore 

Try to focus on constructive activities and avoid destructive activities like drinking away your emotions.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Mar 21, 2022 - 10:22pm
traderguy123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank you Isaiah, so far I have done all of this. I am not the kind of person to ignore my feelings and have always been strong knowing that I can count on myself to feel when I need to feel. I'm a very practical and logically focused person, and I know that this is just another life event that I'm going to have to accept and overcome. I am a new graduate entering the space and I feel like this is a perfect opportunity to prove my grit and define my personality heading forward. I took a day off from the gym the other day, but I'm back at it and hit it again today and plan to continue - I'm going to use this as the motivation I never fully had to get in the best shape of my life, and motivation to prove in my career that I truly can get hit over and over and continue to get back up.

I've always been the underdog in life, getting these offers with an abysmal GPA, having body issues in high school, a caregiver for a mentally ill family member as well, and I've always been able to come out ahead and strong. I'm going to continue to take your advice and focus on constructive activities and making sure to be surrounded by people as much as possible to prevent being alone. I really don't want to be alone right now.

Mar 21, 2022 - 3:05pm
ijustwantny, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In addition to coping with this tremendous loss, you logistically have to juggle a lot of things in the near future.

The first major thing is settling the family finances and collecting/paying any claims. There will be a lot of annoying paperwork like obtaining death certificates, mailing documents to insurance companies, planning a funeral, canceling credit cards, switching auto pay bills to new cards, etc. With the extended family inheritance issue, I would hope that there is not a big fight over money. First and foremost I would worry about securing a baseline level of comfort/finances for your mom. In the worst case, you may need to finance her through your own income from your trading job. 

The second major thing is to continue pursuing your life/career in the best way that you can. If you take months/years off to grieve, that is fine but be aware of the consequences of that choice. Succeeding in any profession is not an easy task and the trading industry definitely wont have much patience for you. If you and your mom need your income badly, then you need to secure that by any means. A parent dying isn't a prompt to stop all of your life plans-- I would call it a chance to reflect and move forward with purpose and urgency. 

I recently had a parent pass and the burden was spread amongst my siblings which made the whole process much better. In lieu of that, I would lean on your mom and girlfriend when you need them. You and your mom have the most overlapping memories of your dad at this point. You can ask her about stories from before you were born so she wont be the only one in the world who knows them. Also this sounds strange but vocally calling out your dad's name and saying stuff to him out loud may be comforting. If you need professional advice, feel free to PM me-- I have pretty strong knowledge of the prop shop scene. Good luck.

Mar 21, 2022 - 10:27pm
traderguy123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am incredibly thankful for the logical and practical approach here. Fortunately, I believe that pushing my start date 2 months should not be an issue - I have another offer with the same start date, same exact comp, same role and if there's any issue I'll just take that offer instead if I truly feel like I do need an extra two months for this.

My dad did leave some sort of will but it wasn't signed - I'm hoping there can be some sort of help here with a good lawyer to show intention or maybe there's a signed copy on his laptop. He was active military so there's some sort of pension thing and the house and our assets were all paid off fortunately. Regarding the career, I think this is a unique opportunity where I've worked under my desk as an intern for 6+ months. They understand this situation and I'm still going to be joining them - at the end of the day, I'm going to take this opportunity to show that I have the grit and determination it takes to be a career focused individual and prove that whenever things get tough for me, I'm someone you can rely on to always get the job done.

Over the summer I just want to take time to live in the moment with my mom and girlfriend and make sure she feels safe and secure along with getting financial things figured out.

Mar 21, 2022 - 4:18pm
BillAckmanOfficial, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My condolences man. I'm extremely sorry to hear that. I wish you and your family all the best. You seem very mature for your age and it seems like you have a great group of people around you. Although this is just a forum, we're all people and we're willing to help in any way we can. You're not alone!

Mar 21, 2022 - 6:17pm
Xx_horselover453_xX, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sorry for your loss, man. Looks like you're doing the right things. You seem super aware, so don't let yourself go down a dark path. Your mom needs you to get through this, so continue being strong and keep fighting for her. But above all, take care of yourself and use all the time you need.

Mar 21, 2022 - 10:22pm
ebitdaddddyyy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm really sorry for your loss OP, stay strong. If you ever need to talk to someone you can always PM me. I haven't personally gone through this, but I will for sure be all ears if you ever need someone to talk to or vent to. You have a great supporting cast around you and I'm glad you're taking initiative during these tough times to make sure ur mom is doing okay. Stay strong bro! 

Mar 22, 2022 - 2:38am
_BVB_, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm really sorry for your loss OP. I lost my mom a little over 2 years ago after the doctors discovered she had stage 4 breast cancer. To help, here were the steps I took to grieve.

-Allow myself to cry: Whenever I had the urge to cry and think about her, I would let it all out. The first couple of weeks, I was balling my eyes out in the bathroom and before I would sleep. I knew I would do more harm if I kept my emotions inside. Even now, whenever I have the urge to look at my mom's Facebook photos, I let myself. Yea I'll cry, but I understand it's part of the healing process. Embrace it.

-Take a reset: She passed away on November 2019, and the following semester break, I did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Looking back, this was probably the most helpful. I was just playing FIFA, OSRS, and watching old Disney shows. This allowed me to get a mental break first. After she passed, it seemed like everything was going 1,000 mph. Which I'm assuming you're experiencing right now. Since you said you asked to push your start date, and with the assumption they will, I highly recommend being a bum for 2-3 weeks once the semester ends. You need time to feel like it's moving slow. When I did it, I found myself starting to accept my mom's death and appreciate the life she had.   

-Be open and talk it out: Fortunately I had 2 older sisters, so it was easier for me speak about the issue. Additionally, I did speak about it with some of my friends. After opening up to them, the bond felt stronger. Take your time in feeling comfortable opening up. You don't need to tell your friends all the details. Tell them enough where they get the big picture. You'd be surprise in how supportive and how far they're willing to go to help you feel better. 

I'm always open to DM if you need any additional support! 

Mar 22, 2022 - 9:58am
frida hardo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In absolutely no way can I relate to this but offering an ear/help if you need one. Feel free to DM me

Mar 22, 2022 - 1:09pm
burrynft, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Deeply sorry for your loss. In a lot of ways I think you've taken the right steps in figuring how to deal with this. I would advise that a licensed professional will likely be the best route to go with understanding how to unpack everything.

My condolences. 

+ap
Mar 22, 2022 - 2:25pm
ConfusedGuru, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey dude, I've seen you around in some of the prop trading threads and have always found your story/drive inspiring, and awesome to hear that you ended up with a couple offers (I took a bit of a hiatus from this website). 

So sorry to hear about this. I think everyone above me said some really good advice, but I just wanted to emphasize that you need to first look out for yourself, and I only speak from experience in dealing with severe emotional trauma. I know that your first instinct is to take care of your mom and deal with all the financial obligations of all this, and that's completely logical. But the human body is very peculiar. You'll feel fine initially, maybe sad and confused, but it'll hit you hard randomly, and when that happens, you need to be ready to deal with it. If you aren't able to take care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of your mom. 

Talking to others and reaching out is a great first step. Go on a walk, go to your favorite restaurant, anything to help ease your mind. It's important not to close-up in this time, although it'll be what you want to instinctively do. 

I wish I could give you more advice, but all I can say is take care of yourself, and stay strong. My DM's are always open if you ever want to talk

Mar 22, 2022 - 5:10pm
thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

my thoughts from another similar thread - https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forum/off-topic/dad-died

I have not lost my father yet, so take what I have with a grain of salt. I do, however, through the nature of my work have to coach people on loss all the time, just this year I've had a close friend whose father just took his own life recently and had a close friend lose both parents before 25 years old and I had to help with estate stuff, moving, etc. I cannot claim to know what you're feeling, but I am sorry for your loss.

everyone deals with loss in their own unique way. there is no playbook because no one, I repeat, NO ONE on this earth who was like your father, so their loss may be similar, but never identical to yours. it never goes away, so stop trying to shake it. you never forget, you only learn to live with the loss, and some days will be tougher than others.

as for the point of life and how to be less nihilistic, I wrote my thoughts here: https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/the-more-i-think-about-life-the-…

cut yourself a break, everyone needs time dealing with the initial shock, you feel like you aren't a person and that the loss is the only thing in this world. if you suppress that, it could lead down a dark path. deal with the loss, call family members who knew him and ask them how they're doing, look at old pictures of him and you, remember the good times, and don't be afraid to cry your eyes out.

then, after you've had some time to decompress, remember a time you were really proud of your dad. what was he doing? he was most likely doing something that you wanted to emulate. do that thing or do something similar. maybe he was encouraging you after you got promoted, so get back to hustling and make him proud. if he was a good father as you indicate, I'm sure he wouldn't want grief to be so consuming that it detracts from what makes you a good son. shifting your focus to living a life you want to be proud of or that your father would be proud of can help, but the first thing is to stop suppressing what are totally natural emotions to a tragedy. yes, death is natural, but so is grief, so don't run from it, because it will catch you.

Mar 22, 2022 - 9:30pm
TechBanking, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I lost my father 2 years ago and am completely not over it. It was right at the start of Covid (not related to it though). I still get weirdly emotional at random things, like songs we used to listen to together. We also never had a funeral due to Covid. I don't feel closure. I was also working so hard when he passed that it was difficult to process. All I can say is that it improves over time, but the pain remains. My good friend/former colleague said it took him 3 years to stop randomly crying. 

  • 3
Mar 23, 2022 - 3:38am
thenotoriousassetmanager99, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am deeply amd sincerely sorry to hear about this tragic accident. My condolences to you and your mom.

My two cents about this is that every time you feel like you are losing it, that you cannot make it through the immense pain, you must use all those feelings as motivation to work hard towards your goals and be the best version of yourself that you can be, which is ultimately what your father would have wanted. Continue making him proud by working on yourself, find something to vent all the pain and mixed feelings like a sport, a martial art, the gym, whatever works for you. Time heals all types of pain, it's just that for some people it may take longer than others. It will be like a scar for the rest of your life, but the pain will go away sooner or later and you will kick some freaking ass in life, making your dad and your mama proud.

Mar 25, 2022 - 12:34pm
empyreandweller, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I noticed you mentioned he had a stroke in November. Did he have any other brain injuries/tumors/ etc? There are many documented cases of brain injuries causing altered behavior including suicidal behavior. Have you considered a brain autopsy on your father?

Obviously this isn't going to change the situation but perhaps it could help with some closure as to why this happened and the "how could he do this?" question. Condolences and best of luck, I wish your family the best.

Mar 27, 2022 - 2:03am
CHItizen, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Really sorry to hear that. At some point, when you're ready, you should consider talking to a grief counselor/therapist. Friends/family are good to talk to as well, but this is literally a trained professional who is paid to be on your side and who offers an unbiased and objective perspective. Your university should be able to refer you in the right direction for now.

  • 1
Apr 4, 2022 - 10:18am
WalMartShopper, what's your opinion? Comment below:

going through this makes you and those close to him higher risk, try to be more aware of signs etc and don't hesitate to reach out to a professional.

If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!
May 1, 2022 - 3:52pm
traderguy123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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May 1, 2022 - 6:59pm
dafftt, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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May 14, 2022 - 12:44am
tall_investor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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