When I was 17 I lost my dad unexpectedly. It’s been seven years and the pain is still very real. Over the course of those years I have come to realize many things that I feel need to be shared with others. I know there are many other young women who are in my shoes. To our friends, these are the things we want you to know.

1. We’re sorry.

We are sorry for being quiet every time you talk about your dad to us. We don’t mean to sound uninterested or make you feel that your happiness is unimportant to us. It’s just that when you talk about moments with your dad, it takes us back to moments with ours. Moments we wish we could relive and share with you, too. We don’t get quiet on purpose; it kind of just happens. It’s our mind’s way of protecting us from bursting out in tears.

2. Ask about our dad.

We want to share him with the world and when you ask about him, it fills our heart with so much joy to know that someone is actually interested in knowing him like we did. You’ll just have to excuse us as we talk through the tears.

3. Please don’t try to understand our heartache.

We appreciate the effort, we really do. But the truth is, unless you’ve lost a parent, you truly can’t understand.

4. Listen.

That’s the best thing you can do for us. When we have a bad day and need to talk to someone, be that someone. You don’t even have to say much, just reassure us every once in a while that you are still hearing us.

5. Please, please, please don’t take your dad for granted.

We love you and we don’t want you to feel our pain someday. Please don’t just assume he will be there for you to call tomorrow. Call him today. Right now. Don’t wait until it’s too late and then spend their rest of your life hating yourself for it.

6. Make memories.

Don’t have time? Bullshit. Make time. You always have time for the ones you love. It’s there; it just has to be utilized.

7. ALWAYS tell him you love him.

I don’t care if you two just got in a screaming fight and you feel in that moment you hate him. You don’t. I promise in a few hours you’ll realize how ridiculous it was to even think of the H word. Before you walk out that door or hang up that phone, say it.

8. Forgive us. We are broken.

Sometimes that shows a little more than usual. When our dad’s left this earth, they took pieces of our heart and soul with them. On occasion those pieces feel as though they are slowly being glued back together. But then there are the times when they feel like they are being ripped apart in shreds. This may bring out a side of us we aren’t used to. If there are times when we may not seem like our normal selves, please understand we are grieving immensely. Losing someone of such importance changes a person. We are being molded into a new place in our lives. It’s a slow process and a fragile one. Please, forgive us.

9. We are here for you, too.

When that unfortunate day comes about when you lose one of your parents, we are here. Day or night. Rain or shine. Just call us and we’ll be there. We know all too well the pain you are enduring and we will do everything in our power to comfort you.

10. We are jealous of you.

I’m willing to admit it, and I’m sure others are, too. We are so jealous that you still have your dad in your life that we have to put the brakes on the eye rolls that are ferociously trying to take over. We don’t mean to feel this way. It seems so selfish, and in a way, it is. You have to understand, we are experiencing feelings we’ve never felt before and trying to find ways to cope.

Deep down, we are happy for you. It’s just every time we read a text or a Facebook post about how your dad made you laugh, or how he is going to walk you down the aisle at your wedding, it’s like another slap in our face. Now please understand, we don’t want you to stop sharing these beautiful moments just to appease us. In fact, we need the opposite. By you sharing moments with your dad, you are helping us come to terms with the loss of ours.

We will eventually get used to it and the feelings won’t be so evil. We will finally realize that just because we lost our dad and we are filled with sadness, doesn’t mean everyone else should be, too. The jealousy will always be there. But instead of the eye rolls, there will be a smile. A smile meant for you from our hearts. A smile that says we are thankful you aren’t experiencing our pain and you still get to make memories with the first man to have your heart.