Monday, September 30, 2013
Facing the Grief
Four weeks ago, I spent the last full day I'd have here on earth with my Dad. That morning, while holding my hand, he told me that he had to tell me something. He then told me he was going to die. I held back the tears as best I could and told him I knew that, but we also knew that he wouldn't truly die. Because he was united with Christ, he would move from life on earth to life with Jesus. We also exchanged lots of "I love you. I love you too." throughout the day. My mom, my sister and I each took time to tell Daddy once again, how precious he is to us and thank him, again, for all he has instilled in each of our lives. Moments that I will cherish. Glimpses into what he has meant to me my entire life.
And then we said good-bye, or as he would say Auf Wiedersehen, until we meet again, on Tuesday, September 3rd.
I know the peace of God covered me throughout the week, preparing for the service, honoring Dad. Truly miraculous.
The last three weeks, I will say His peace is still here, but I'm a mess. It might not look that way to everyone that sees me. Activities are sometimes a welcomed distraction from my new reality - life with one of the most important people missing.
I know I am not the first person this has happened to and I've had loved ones leave this earth throughout my life. But this is a whole new magnitude. And quite frankly, I don't like it. Not one little bit.
I expected tears to be part of my reality. Just wasn't truly prepared for how hard and fast and often they can hit.
Paperwork. There is so much. It can feel so overwhelming. So we tackle a little at a time. Dealing with the stark reality of why we even have to do this.
I prepared myself for the fact that the first year following would be the worst - experiencing every important event without Daddy here. The toughest part of having a family as close of ours is that major events are not the only times that stir the sense of loss. I talked to my Dad almost every day. About nothing. About everything. About my goals of the week or what I was going to tackle this morning. About what I was reading or the conversations I had with my boys before they went to school. What was on the menu for our family that week and if I had my shopping list done.
And now that's missing. There is this emptiness that nothing can fill.
I thought I'd be fine by now. And I am - where my head / thoughts are concerned. But my heart is a wreck. I told a friend I feel like my emotions are stretched and are existing in extremes. I need to live balanced again. But nothing seems to be balanced in my life right now. Not despairing. I know eventually I'll get there again. Meanwhile, I'm attempting to be patient with myself in the process.
I picked up a book that was given to me by a friend - Experiencing Grief by H.Norman Wright. I appreciated her thoughtfulness but was not at all ready to crack it open before this morning. And that's okay. Timing is relevant and the Lord knew that this morning, it was time.
"The world is full of faces. Some familiar, some unfamiliar. Many are constant companions. They belong to those closest to us - a friend, a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, or a child. But one day a face is missing. Its presence is no longer there. There's an empty spot, but not for long. A new face emerges to take its place. It's unfamiliar and unfriendly. It's the face of grief.
Grief - what do you know about this experience? We use the word so easily. It's the state we're in when we've lost a loved one. It's an inward look. You've been called into the house of mourning. It's not a comfortable place. It's not where you want to reside, but for a time, longer than you wish, you will. Often it will hurt, confuse, upset and frighten you. It's described as intense, emotional suffering or even acute sorrow.
In grief, the bottom falls out of your world; the solid footing you had yesterday is gone. It feels more like a floorboard tilting or soft pliable mud with each step you take. The stability of yesterday's emotions has given way to feelings that are so raw and fragile, you think you are losing your mind. We feel alone with it, yet we're not for Jesus himself was there 'a man of sorrows acquainted with bitterest grief' (Isaiah 53:3)."
Yup. That's me. Messed up. For now. I think this will be a helpful 85 pages of reading for me. And this blog...therapy. Writing has always been that for me.