It was a beautiful service. More than one person has sheepishly admitted to feeling guilty for saying they “enjoyed” my dad’s funeral, but I know what they meant. We “had church” that day. The choir loft was full, family and friends held us close, we sang together, and I could truly feel God’s presence with me through the visitation and the funeral service. I visited with friends and family that I haven’t seen in awhile. We hugged and cried and even laughed. I heard stories about my dad that are almost like family traditions they are told so often. I heard stories about my dad that I’d never heard before.
And then everyone went home.
And life never even missed a day.
And I am not okay.
I am tired. At first I thought I just needed to catch up on the sleep I missed the last few nights my dad was alive. We stayed by my dad’s bed around the clock and didn’t get much sleep. But even though I’m sleeping more regular hours and in my own bed, I’m more exhausted than ever. I think just living through each day takes more energy that I’m used to expending.
I am sad. I cry a lot. I haven’t had any prolonged sessions of weeping, moaning, or wailing, but the tears come often, usually in short little spurts of sadness. Like when I was in Books-A-Million and I found myself looking for a good book to give my dad for his birthday or Christmas (I almost always bought him cologne and a book around his birthday and/or Christmas). The realization that I would never get to buy my dad a book ever again felt like a kick in my stomach.
I have discovered that sad tears are not the same as mad tears. (I cry when I’m very mad, which makes me even angrier.) Mad tears are hotter and they burn my nose a little. I’ve cried lots of mad tears lately because…
Mostly I am mad.
I am upset that Thanksgiving happened anyway. It should have been cancelled. As should the whole month of December. I don’t want to do my birthday or my dad’s birthday or Christmas this year. I realize that besides my birthday, the other two dates are not even really about me, but I just don’t know that I can stomach the season this year. But I will, because my children need me to. My mom and brother and husband need me to. I need to. My dad would want me to.
Several times in different places on Thanksgiving day I read that gratitude is a choice, not an emotion and I truly am thankful for the blessings I’ve received. But being thankful is usually more of an instant response for me. This year it has felt a little forced.
And since I’ve been honest with you about this whole journey, I’m going to tell you that I am mad that my dad didn’t get the miracle that I asked God to give him. The one that my sweet babies prayed for every single night and every day at school. The one I begged for more often and with more energy than I’ve ever asked for anything in my entire life. I asked with all my heart and God said no, not on this earth. He did not do what I wanted Him to do and I am mad.
I know that God’s plan is always the best plan. I know that He is purposeful in everything that He does. I know that His ways are higher than my ways. I know that one day I’ll understand. I believe that He can even get more glory from my dad’s death than He would have received if my dad had lived.
But I am an imperfect, sinful, selfish little girl who misses her daddy and nothing in the paragraph above this one makes me less angry or makes me miss my daddy any less. I can’t see what is around the next corner. I just see my life without my dad in it and I don’t like it and I am mad.
Please don’t tell me my dad’s in a better place. I know that he is. I’m not sad for him. I’m sad for me. I miss the way my world was when my dad was in it.
Lately I don’t answer many of my texts, emails, or phone calls. I haven’t felt like talking lately. I’m also tired of opening my mouth to say a sentence only to melt into a puddle of tears. I have a hard time praying right now. For almost a year I’ve been praying for my dad. I now have a big gaping hole where that prayer used to be. I could pretend that I’m a bigger person and that I’m a more mature believer, but I’ve always told the truth here, so I’m just going to tell it like it is and say that I know that part of the reason I’m having a hard time talking to God is that He really hurt my feelings. I am pouting and I am holding a grudge.
I am so hesitant to publish this post. I realize how ridiculous it is that the creation is giving the Creator the silent treatment. How dare I pout at the Lord Most High? Just who do I think I am? I think maybe I’m related to David. Have you read any of his songs in the book of Psalms lately? He asked the same questions I’ve been asking. And just like me, he wondered where in the world God was one minute and then held on for dear life to the hope of God the next.
I am not okay.
But every day I wake up, get dressed and ready for the day, and I “do the next thing.” And I am going to publish this post because, I am going to make a bold declaration, like one of my favorite bloggers Annie did some time ago. She told us, her readers, to just watch and see how God was going to provide for her. I want you to watch and see how God will get the glory as He carries me through this dark time. I don’t think He’s going to answer all of my questions. I don’t expect to wake up one day and be okay with the fact that my dad’s with Him and not here with me. But I know my God and I know that if I let Him, He wants to use me to further His kingdom through this journey. He’ll get the glory whether I give it to Him or not. He’s God and the glory belongs to Him. But I think that He wants to let me in on His story and let me be part of the process. I think that this will continue to be, as my people like to say, “a tough road to hoe,” but I believe that great will be the harvest.
You want to know one little reason why I know that I’m right to tell you to watch and see what the Lord’s going to do? Because I had completely forgotten until I looked for the post to link to it here, that in Annie’s “Story of Trust” she quoted Lamentations 3:22-26. Why is that a big deal? Well, those were my daddy’s verses. His favorite hymn was “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” We had those verses printed on the bracelets we had made to remind people to pray for my dad.
Whenever God does something big or small that lets me know that He cares about what matters to me, I call it a “God hug.” I’ve really missed my earthly daddy’s hugs. He gave big, warm, strong, all-enveloping hugs. His first brain tumor and consequent surgery caused him to have weakness on his left side. It has been a very long time since I’ve truly had one of my daddy’s best hugs. Finding those verses on a post I happened to link to tonight was like a hug from my heavenly father. I can’t even explain it to you, but I know that He gets me.
I know that this post has been lengthy and I know that many of you look for blogs to read that are bright and shiny and happy. Well, I write to process my thoughts. I am mourning the loss of my sweet daddy and am grieving the loss of my life as I knew it. This blog will probably look a lot like my life does these days. Some times it will be light and fluffy with laughter and lollipops and rainbows (well, probably not the lollipops and rainbows). Sometimes it will be dark and messy and broody. But I will write what I know and what I’m living and if I am able, I will chronicle my walk through the valley of the shadow of death and back. I’ll try to warn you if a post is going to be about how I’m dealing with my grief by prefacing the title with the letters “MGO” (MY Grief Observed) in homage to one of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, who wrote the classic A Grief Observed. Trust me, I don’t fancy myself to be in the same league as Mr. Lewis, but I don’t think he would mind.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank you all for your sweet comments, texts, Tweets, emails, and especially your prayers…….I may not have acknowledged them all but I didn’t take one single word for granted. I love words way too much to ever take them for granted, you know. I appreciate your support and encouragement through this journey and will continue to depend on them in the days to come.
*A link to this post has been added to the bi-weekly Blog Carnival hosted by Peter at Rediscovering the Church for the theme of “grief.”