Stories of Resilience: Melissa Deally


I was a Daddy’s girl, I was devastated, but I knew life had to go on. I somehow knew my Dad was still with me.

I was 13 years old, the oldest of four kids, living as an ex-pat in Tokyo Japan, when my Dad died suddenly on December 10th. 

It was 6am on a rainy day in Tokyo. My Mom woke me up and handed my 2 sisters (age 3 and 5) to me and asked me to look after them. She said she had to go to the hospital. My Dad had had surgery the previous day to remove a cancerous tumor from behind his ear. My Mom had seen him the night before and said the doctors reported that the surgery had gone well. But now, I was nervous, why had the hospital called so early? 

I got up and we got ready for school. At 8am Mom called and said to keep my siblings home and at that moment I knew my Dad had passed away. He died of blood clots in his heart. As I write this now, my eyes well up with tears, 39 years later. You never get over it, but you do build resilience. 

That day changed my life, I went from a normal 13 yr old to the second parent for my three younger siblings. My brother locked himself in his room for a month. I went to school because I needed my friends but I also held my Mom’s hand in the night when she sobbed herself to sleep. We were very fortunate to be able to stay in Japan for 2 more years, to get our lives back in order. 

On the day of Dad’s funeral, it rained and I remember saying, “even the Gods are crying.” I also consoled myself with only the good die young. I was a Daddy’s girl, I was devastated, but I knew life had to go on. I somehow knew my Dad was still with me. 

When I had tough decisions to make, I’d consult with him and always get the right answer. I felt like he sat on my shoulder. Somehow I also was grateful for the fact he died quickly. I only had a broken heart but I knew time would help heal that. We also had a strong family and we stuck together. 

After two years we moved back to Australia. I settled into a new school at age 15 with an American accent from all my years as an expatriate in Japan. I made one friend and she was all I needed for those final two years of school. 
I wouldn’t be the person I am today, if I hadn’t gone through this. I know my Dad was a special person and his gifts were needed elsewhere. I am grateful I had him for thirteen years and I encourage others to think of your lost loved one as an angel now looking after you. Carry them with you in your mind and heart wherever you go, you will never be alone.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE.