Grief sucks. I wish I could polish that statement up but that’s the jest of it. Last month (June 19) my 78 year young father passed away in his sleep. Unexpectedly. I can close my eyes and see him lying there, looking amazingly peaceful. Waiting for any moment for him to wake up and wonder why all those people were in his house and bedroom. He had been in the hospital just days before with low sodium and few other things but he had been home for about 24 hours before he left us for good. Quietly and suddenly.
Several things have gripped me since……….
1. He’s gone. No longer will I hear his “Hey baby” as I walk in the room. No longer will he pat his hand on mine as I’m hugging him hello. He loved me and I can go through my days knowing this. He was a stern man but he loved me.
2. My mother is alone. My parents have been married 56 years and the last 16 they have been together every day. Some days I thought they were going to kill each other, other days they were a perfect match. My parents were not perfect but they stuck together through the really thick and and the really thin. My mother lives close so I can see her as often as I want/can but for her, she doesn’t have her best friend of 56 years at her side any more. That breaks my heart. In fact, I pray the good Lord takes me before my husband because I don’t want to be here alone at some point in my life. I want him here with me everyday I’m on this earth.
3. My dad’s death has been harder than I can ever imagine. I didn’t expect it to effect me like it has. I wanted time to stop and everybody just stop for a moment. What I wanted them to do I don’t know but I wanted time to stand still. In fact I’ve tried to write this post for several days (weeks maybe) but it just felt so……………(I don’t even have a word for it). I’ve had amazing friends to wrap themselves around me and I am beyond grateful for it. I felt (and still do) feel guilty for laughing or being happy. Just yesterday someone called to give their condolences and apologized for not calling sooner because they had been on vacation. I haven’t talked to this person in ages so I was so thrilled to hear from them and so happy to know they were thinking of my family but I felt guilty because I wanted to hear about their life. I was happy to talk to them but I felt so incredibly guilty because I was happy. Albeit, no one really wants to call you and you break into tears but somehow I feel just amazingly guilty for being happy right in that moment. I know it will pass and I’ll remember the man that taught me so much and not feel so guilty for enjoying life’s little pleasures. In fact I know if my dad was here, he would tell me to perk up and get with the program.
Grief is such a peculiar thing. Everyone handles it differently. I’ve seen a vague shades of it on different people and I knew to never judge for the way they handle things because when it was my turn, I would only hope they would pass the same grace onto me. Nothing anybody can say or do can make it better. Laughing doesn’t seem right and crying is exhausting. People ask what they can do to help or even better “How are you?” Really? On the flip side there are those who you adore and love and they don’t even hug you to make it all better and that hurts just as bad because you just want them to coddle you and make the sting a little easier but they don’t because they don’t know what to do and who really says, “Will you hold me?”
So see…………there is no right thing to do. No matter what anybody does it hurts. Grief hurts. Grief takes over like unwelcomed house guest with no check-out date in sight. It sits on shoulders and it navigates the days activities with you just waiting to get you alone. Grief my friend, sucks. I hear eventually each day gets a little better. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not beyond completing my job or everyday task, like mowing the yard or going for a run. I’ve had a few good days already. I know one day I’ll wake up and be able to string together a series of good days turning days into weeks and months.
I miss him for my own selfish reasons and I miss him for my mother. I’ll miss hearing about his time on the fire department or how to fix my car. About the times he went on jeep runs in the desert or hunting in the mountains. I’ll miss his eggs and chorizo on Christmas morning. I’ll miss watching him try to fly fish and it looking more like tree fishing. I’m pretty sure if he could ring back and say anything he would be able to say he had a full life. Not always easy but full.
What does a girl do now? Move forward. Like any true runner, put one foot in front of the other. Slowly. It’s not a sprint but a marathon. Life moves forward and the world keeps turning. All I can do is move forward and live with intention and purpose.