An Honest Glimpse of Grief
My Dad died 2 months ago. The diagnosis came and 6 weeks later, he was gone. It’s the first time I’ve had to experience real grief and it’s nothing like I expected.
I’ve always considered myself to be one of those people that are okay with death. Sure, it’s painful to see the ones they’ve left behind hurting, but it’s inevitable and a part of life, right? And although sad, it is something that can be experienced, processed and healed.
In my naiveté, I realized how stupidly wrong I was. Nothing I felt leading up to my father’s death until now has made any sense. My emotions had unwelcome free range over my mind and body and there were moments when I felt 18 different things at once. I wanted no one to ask me how I was doing and yet I hated silence from friends. I wanted people around me and couldn’t stand to be in a group of people at the same time. It was nothing like I had believed it would be and I hated every minute of it. And still do.
My father was at peace with dying and couldn’t wait to be in Heaven. He would speak with such certainty of what he was about to step into but it didn’t bring me comfort like I thought it would. I believe fully in the truth of Heaven but that night, returning home after watching my dad be wrapped in cloth and taken away, Heaven never seemed more invented to me. I tried to tell myself he was now perfect and free from pain, standing near an ocean and finally understanding all the mysteries of this world. Instead of that bringing peace, I felt like I was telling myself a fairy tale. I realized how much of this world was in me and how, in the midst of indescribable grief, truth didn’t even register as truth. The absoluteness of God’s perfect paradise couldn’t hold a light to the pain that had been awakened in every single one of my bones.
I’m writing this blog in the beginning of my journey, not the end. Not that there is an end to grief I suppose. It’s strange to think I will never have a dad again. But in his death, I came to see that all the things I truly love, were because he loved them first. Cities by oceans, movies in dark theatres, cats, live music, witty humor, the sourest of candies. He taught me that my voice matters. That being independent was an advantage, not a flaw. He told me he loved me and was proud of the human I had become. Which, I’ve learned, is all that matters in the end.
I pray that this process gets easier. I hear it does. Until then, I’m continuing to welcome the good days and not be afraid of the bad days.
For our God is good.
And knowing that my Dad now understands that more than any of us here on Earth, brings a smile to my face and a sigh of relief from my lungs.
Helena is an animal loving, cardigan wearing, single woman, desiring for the church to be a diverse, approachable and relevant place for all to find truth, refuge and acceptance.