I write because it helps me heal. I write in hope of helping others heal. So what does one write when there are no words that can heal?
Three weeks ago today my world was shattered. For as long as I can remember, I feared a life without my dad. My worst fear is now my reality and that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. When I was eight years old, my dad had five bypasses done and after all was said and done (after multiple complications), he was given two years on the long side to live. By the grace of God he got another twenty one years. Shouldn't I be happy I got that at least? Yes. Is it enough? Not hardly. When you always know in the back of your head that your dad is on borrowed time, there is an unending fear in the back of your mind every time the phone rings.
Probably more than most little girls, I dreamed of my daddy walking me down the aisle and seeing me have kids, always knowing that I probably wouldn't get to have that. There was a time in my life when I thought I was with the person my dad would walk me down the aisle towards, and I was raising a child my dad cared for as if he were my own. There was joy in that for me, knowing that something I wanted to share with my daddy for so long was within reach. Then it was gone.
Most of you know that last month my life changed as well as his. There are no words to describe how thankful I am that until the last two days of his life, he got to live in a way that he hadn't been able to for more than two decades. He got to sleep peacefully at night, wake up without pain, walk without his cane, go fishing (something that he loved almost as much as his grandkids) and truly enjoy it again. He got to have hope that he would have several more years like that. He had hope that he would be there to walk me down the aisle one day and to hold my children. I had hope of that for the first time. When you suddenly find hope in something that you never thought would happen and then in an instant it's gone the sadness is overwhelming.
Sometimes the sadness is so overwhelming that I feel pain in every part of my body and it's hard to simply breathe. Other times I'm okay and it doesn't seem real at all. I'm sad for my family. I'm especially sad for my sweet nephews who love their grandpa so much and will never understand the depths of how much he loved them. I'm sad for my dogs who still don't know what to do without him around. I'm sad for my future child or children who will never call him grandpa. I'm sad that the one thing I wanted more than anything as a little girl will never happen. I am 29 years old and God willing I still have another 50-60 years...I cannot fathom living that long without my dad. Every time I post anything at all on facebook, I expect to get a notification that he has commented on it. When the Cardinals are playing, I expect to talk to him. Every time I wake up in my parents house, I expect him to be in the living room. I expect to hear his corny jokes. I expect to hug him when I get to my hometown and when I leave to head back to the city.
As a Christian, I know that my daddy is in Heaven and his body is perfect. I know he is finally with his parents again. I was named after his mom who passed away 34 years ago. My whole life I've heard about how much he missed her. I'm happy for him. I'm happy he's home now and never ever has to feel another day of pain. I know I will see him again someday. However, none of that really makes me feel better right now. I miss my dad so much. There's a song by MercyMe called Homesick and the first part of it plays in my head many times throughout the day. "You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times and at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you. But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry is how long must I wait to be with you. I close my eyes and I see your face. If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place. Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow. I've never been more homesick than now."
Even though he had suffered so much in the past twenty one years, it was still very sudden. He'd had a flareup for a couple of days of his hiatal hernia and the pain was so sever that it made his heart weaker from the spikes in his blood pressure. At 1pm he had made a post on facebook and by 2pm he was gone. My nephews were at the house when it happened and I thank God that they didn't see him like that, but my heart breaks for my mom for finding him just gone.
In the past 15 months I have had a lot of sorrow and grief to get through but it all pales in comparison to losing my daddy. I also know that if I was still living in DC, I wouldn't have had all of the time over the last year that I got to have with him. I never would have found my way to a chiropractor who changed my life by introducing me to Zeal, and thus my dad would never have gotten to have the last month that he did. I had back to back weekends at home with him in May and that wouldn't have been possible if I still lived in DC. If I still lived in DC, I wouldn't have had ten days with my family over the past three weeks and I don't know if I would be able to be a functioning human being. I may be very sad off and on throughout the day right now but being able to be here so close to my momma, my sister, my sweet nephews and several close friends is what keeps me going. In time it won't hurt like it does now. Right now the grief comes in huge waves and all I can do is ride them.
One thing I've learned in the last few weeks is that people have all sorts of ideas of what they think they should say to try to make it better. Nothing makes it better and there are some things that really do make it worse. If you have a loved one who is grieving, just love them and listen when the want to talk, let them cry if they need to cry. Pray for them. Sometimes not saying a word is the best thing you can do. There are no magic words that heals a heart that is absolutely devastated. Being able to comfort someone goes a long way though. This week I'm trying to get back to normal and back into a routine. It's the strangest feeling. I still feel like I'm going to wake up and it will all just go back to normal and this will have been nothing more than a nightmare...but I know that isn't the case and this is the new normal.
I miss you and love you so much, daddy.