A year ago was the worst day of my life. My dad died.
On the one hand, I can’t believe it’s been a year. I can’t believe it’s been that long. On the other hand, so much has happened. I had an entire pregnancy and baby between now and then!
I’ve learned a lot about grief over the last year and expect it will be something I continue to learn about for the rest of my life.
Grief ebbs and flows. There are a lot of water analogies with grief: waves crashing over you…the ability to drown in only 2 inches of water…etc.
I didn’t realize how universal some grief feelings are until I experienced it myself and then recognized those same thoughts expressed by others. My favorite is the disbelief at the audacity of the rest of the world to keep spinning. I can remember driving around Cleveland, running various errands for the funeral, and thinking, “How can all of these people be going about their everyday lives as if nothing has changed? Everything changed for me! My dad died.”
Speaking of the funeral, my aunt put it best. Planning a funeral is essentially all the same pieces of planning a wedding except you only have a couple of days to do it, and you’re so sad the whole time.
Another feeling that is difficult to understand until you experience it is, “It hurts when your person dies. But that still doesn’t prepare you for the pain of their staying dead.”
I got that one from Twitter.
And it’s funny because it makes no sense. If you think logically, you know that death is permanent. For the rest of your time on Earth, that person is gone. But grief isn’t logical. Because the past tense sentence:
“My dad died.”
I have sort of accepted. I understand that he died. I get it.
But the present tense sentence:
“My dad is dead.” or “My dad is gone.”
That’s really hard.
It’s hard because sometimes you forget, and the reminder punches you in the gut. A friend from high school wrote to tell me that he ended up with my dad’s old road bike, and my first thought was that I needed to text Dad to tell him that. Sucker punch. Can’t text him. I forgot.
I still dream about him sometimes. My most recent one was him at my house, and he just started doing the dishes. I went up to him to say thank you, and he just sort of shrugged. That’s who my dad was – the guy who would start cleaning up without any sort of expectation of thanks or praise. It’s just what he’d do.
For now, I’m thankful for those dreams, and I’m thankful for the hope of seeing him again after this life ends. Until then, I gain comfort from a number of things – family, friends, memories, and this verse:
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden.