To Aubrey, Lara, and Jennifer Saget,
Kids of the ’80s and ’90s let out a collective gasp, many of us clutching a hand to our chest, as we read the sad news about your father, Bob Saget. We shared texts and tweets with important people from our lives; life-long friends, siblings, cousins, parents. Nostalgia flooded in with images of Danny Tanner in yellow rubber kitchen gloves, solving the world’s problems in under 30 minutes. We remembered our families laughing over a fall montage while we watched your dad host America’s Funniest Home Videos on the box television in our living room (what kid at the time didn’t imagine sending in a VHS of a family home movie with the hope of making it on the show?).
Tears came as we read the beautiful tributes from you, his friends, fellow comics, and people all over the world wide web. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve been on the other line of that life-altering phone call. I, too, am a daughter still mourning the sudden death of her dad. There are no words to make it better. No “5 Tips For Grieving Your Father.” Only the messy process of going through it. But here’s what I wish for you—and for all of us mourning our favorite TV dad.
As People Seek the Details of His Death, Focus on His Life
When someone dies who seemed too young or healthy, people want to know what happened. Faced with our own mortality, humans want to believe the same thing couldn’t happen to us, or our loved ones. My dad was no celebrity, but he was the first of his peers, his friends, and his brothers to go without warning. His death shook our circle. Your dad’s death shook a generation.
It probably feels like he died in a car accident, snatched away by surprise. Of course, you also want to know what happened. You probably have a haunting image in your mind. As more details emerge, the picture in your head will evolve, full of heartache and “what ifs” and “if onlys” bouncing around your brain. But try not to stare too long at that picture. Look for bright spots in the story—he went quickly, he went peacefully, he knew he was loved. Remember his life, not his death.
Even in Mourning, Laughter Helps
Soak in the stories. Especially the ones you’ve never heard. I hope after his funeral, you leave feeling like, “dad would’ve loved to be here” or, even better, “it felt like dad was here.”
So many of us loved your dad for his TV persona, but we didn’t really know him. To us, Bob Saget was the dad who raised us on Friday and Sunday nights. He’s a staple in our childhood memories. As we grew up, we also wrestled with his comedic contradiction as we watched Entourage, his movie cameos, or his stand-up. We wondered how someone so wholesome could also have such a delightfully filthy sense of humor.
Learning more about his life through the posts and tributes has made us appreciate Bob Saget the person even more; the dad, the friend, the comedian, the mentor.
Still, I hope you save some stories for yourselves. You don’t have to share them with the world, no matter how much we’d all love to hear them.
Some Things Will Always Make You Feel Like a Kid Again
Most of the time, these are good things, like watching kids open presents Christmas morning, tasting your grandmother’s signature recipe… watching old episodes of Full House. Mourning a parent as an adult is a different experience. You’re grown, so you feel like you should be able to handle it. But you’re wading through the emotions of a kid who has lost the person who loved them most in the world. And it really, really hurts.
I think that’s why your dad’s death hit us all so hard. It reminded us that a little part of our childhood is gone for good. But I think I speak for most of the ’80s and ’90s kids who loved your dad, when I say thank you for sharing Bob Saget with us. We will always have the memories (and cherish the reruns).