Today I let myself cry. I hadn’t realized how busy I had been keeping myself reading, working and momming to ensure that all of the oncoming emotions didn’t reach me. But in fact, by not dealing with the emotions as they came, then I was suddenly hit with a powerful blast of overwhelming grief and sorrow.
It just doesn’t seem fair that life should go on without him. I want to stand somewhere up high and scream at the world for continuing to spin; at the people who continue to wake up each morning and go about their day as if nothing has changed. Don’t they know that we are all at a loss now that he’s not here any longer? Don’t they see that moving forward is just committing to a life without him in it? Being okay with it?
Deep down, I realize that life must go on. And not just that it must, but that for my health, I need to brace that idea as well. Yet there’s always going to be a part of me that wants to resist forward motion. A part of me that feels anything but motivated to continue unpacking and settling into the amazing new house we just bought. How can I enjoy this blessing when the very day we closed and were moving, was the fateful day we received a call that he was gone?
No warning. Just gone. I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks. In fact, the last time I had seen him in person, we were mourning the sudden departure of one of his closest friends who left us in almost the same exact way that he did. How disgustingly poetic. Thank God I took the time to hug him before we left and tell him that I loved him. I’m grateful that he made that part of our family dynamic – always say “I love you”.
But how could I have known? I mean, as grateful as I am that I told him that I loved him, nothing could prepare me for the instant regret I felt at hearing that he was gone. I should have called more. I should have visited more. I mean, he lived 15 minutes away from me. I should have spent that last weekend with him rather than shopping around for new items for our new house. I’d take it all back and live back in our old house if it meant getting one more day with him.
More than anything, I thank God that I was with my mother when she got the call. For her sake anyways. I will never forget those moments as I watched her face fill with horror and she grabbed my hand. I couldn’t hear the person on the other line, but the look on my mom’s face said it all and instantly I knew he was gone. I don’t know what happened. The next thing I knew, I was screaming. Screaming harder than I’ve ever screamed. Crying out in what literally felt like physical pain. I only wish I had been able to keep it together better for my mom.
It’s been a little over a month now. I still can’t believe he’s gone sometimes. The thing about this kind of loss is that it’s so painful, there aren’t words to express the emotions. When I first heard he was gone, I felt like my body didn’t come equipped with an adequate way to express either verbally or even physically how much pain I was in. It doesn’t so much feel like that every minute of the day like it did at first. But I still have moments.
School has started back up again and with all of that comes the busy humdrum of life. It keeps my mind occupied. Well, I mean that and the 10 novels I’ve read in the past week. You could say I’ve been distracting myself. But in the quiet of the kids’ nap time, or in the evening when everyone is asleep, I haven’t stopped grieving his loss. I don’t honestly think I ever will. Yes, time will go on and things will become less painful overall, but I will never stop missing him, never forget him and never stop grieving his loss.
It’s something I will likely never understand. He was pointlessly and tragically taken from us. And while I’m tempted to be angry at God, luckily, I am not. I feel blessed to not have struggled with anger. Going through this has only strengthened my faith, as I have to actually choose to still believe in a loving, caring and perfect God, even in the midst of this tragedy.
Why am I writing about this? Why would you need to/want to read this? I mean, it wasn’t your dad who just died young without warning. You’re not the one in the thick of it. Isn’t this supposed to be a site about mothering?
Here’s the thing about loss. It affects us all. No, I’m not writing about this because you’re a mother. I’m writing about it because you’re human. And all humans experience loss. Whether it’s an unborn child, a parent, grandparent or sibling. We will all, if you haven’t already, experience loss. And some loss is of great magnitude. It’s important to know that you’re not alone. It’s helped me when others who have experienced this same kind of loss have reached out.
The thing about loss is that it’s different every day. Each day holds a new memory and new emotions. Some days make you smile in remembrance, while others bring you to your knees in grief. Throughout this process, after lots of reflection and processing, I’ve learned a few important things about life that I want to leave you with.
- You’re not too busy. You don’t know how much time you have left with someone. Take the time to call them and visit them.
- Say “I love you” and often. You never know when the last time you talk to them will be. s
- Soak up all the wisdom you can from your parents, grandparents and mentors. Write down anything you may want to remember later, when they’re gone
- Take pictures. And not just of your kids. I don’t care if they fight you, get your loved ones in pictures with you. And you, you get into pictures too. I promise, after the fact, you won’t care if it was a bad hair day or if you didn’t have makeup on. You’ll just feel blessed to have some pictured memories with your loved ones.
- If you experience loss, be open with God. Tell Him you don’t understand. Tell Him you’re upset and hurt and confused. He will be there to comfort you, to hold you and guide you through the grief process
- Even in the midst of tragedy, God is on the throne. Everything we know of Him is still true. He is good. He is just. He is loving and caring and our most perfect heavenly Father. In Him, we can find refuge, strength and hope.
I love you all. Thanks for bearing with me through a heavier post, but it’s all I could think to write as my mind is usually in one place these days. If you are going through a loss, please find someone to talk with. And you can always reach out to us for support as well. Now go and kiss your kiddos and tell them how much you love them.