24 days ago I didn’t know what grief felt like.
Oh, I thought I did.
But then I found out how much I didn’t understand. The gnawing sadness. The deep disbelief. The inability to grasp or to understand anything. These nights of crying myself to sleep. I never knew how many tears a body could produce. The way grief comes…in waves…it takes you under…overwhelms you, drags you under and leaves you kicking your feet and crying for release…and then the calm where you can breathe in and plant your feet until the next wave comes and repeats the cycle…
Three weeks and two days ago, my dad went to be with Jesus. He was the first love of my life. He was the strongest, most loyal, most hardworking, able to do anything man I’ve ever known. As I said at his funeral, he was it. Our dad was our hero.
With our mama, he raised six kids who grew up to love Jesus, each other and our families so well. He taught us so very much and he loved us so fiercely…and because of that, he has left a gaping hole in our hearts. A place that will never be filled. I know that God will soften the pain…but I also know there will never be a complete healing in this until we are reunited in Heaven. And that is so hard and so bittersweet. There IS joy in knowing we will see Dad again…and there IS joy and some envy that He is with Jesus now…but there is an unexplainable sorrow and heartbreak because he is not here with us.
We are broken right now. Things that brought us joy before don’t right now. Things we could do for others, we just can’t right now.
We were asked to serve communion in our church this morning…and laying in bed last night, I visualized myself standing up there with my husband, and all these sweet friends, people I love, coming to me with sad eyes, heartbroken for me and my family…and it broke me all over again. I can’t bear to see the sadness they carry for us and for themselves because they, too, loved this man. But I also can’t bear it to not be awknowledged. Oh, how I dread the day our lives go back to normal. How I fear leaving my precious daddy in the past.
But, even in this…in the heaviness of this pain, there have been sweet, sweet moments with my siblings and our mom…there have been more tears shed than I could ever tell you, but there has been sweetness and uncontrollable laughter and family jokes and the sweetest closeness that has been such a great comfort and blessing. We are clinging to each other like survivors of a shipwreck, but we are clinging together. We hurt for ourselves, but we also hurt for each other, because more than anyone else can, we know what loss each of us has suffered. We are carrying each other. Our dad would be so proud.
I dreamed last night that one of my sisters told me my dad was coming, and I was so excited, but then I remembered he’s gone, and I was heartbroken all over again…but then, he was sitting there between us….and in thinking of that dream today, I wonder…did God allow me that dream to remind me that my dad is always with us? That he is part of us? While his physical body isn’t here, the things he instilled in us is and the love he planted so generously is growing and blooming…he has left a legacy for each of us…and in each of us.
And even in this great sadness, in the brokenness of my family, we know we are whole. The Jesus my dad lived his life for walks with us. We are His and He will carry us through this.