Today I've thought so much about how quickly time is passing by. Basically in a blink of an eye. Some tough days are behind us and some very hard ones are yet to come.
Yesterday was a hard day. It marked 8 years since Kevin's mother passed away. It seems like this year was the hardest it had been since the very beginning. I know it especially was for Kevin. It's so hard to watch someone you love hurt, especially when that someone is usually as SOLID AS A ROCK. I think that perhaps because of how hard this year has been for me, our children, and our family just made him extra sensitive to his own loss. Hard stuff.
I don't have many "firsts" left during this first year since losing Dad. I know that the week after this first year is over won't bring about a magic pill of the pain going away, but I'm ready to have the last "firsts" over with.
Tomorrow is a HARD one. In my head, I've been dreading this one as one of the top ones and I really don't know why. Tomorrow is the day that I woke up and wrote: "I am thankful that God is the "great physician" and that he can bring about healing---physical, emotional, spiritual and even of the "heart" " in my gratitude posting for the day. I had woken up that morning just overwhelmed with gratitude that God is a God of healing. I was praying for healing of some family members and was finally feeling healing of the heart on some tough issues. I was confident and faithful that God was about to unleash His power.
Little did I know.....
Little did I know that at 7:36 that night my phone would vibrate with a completely shocking text. A text that said that my dad was at the ER having some serious issues and the details were grim. I knew in those moments instantly what we were dealing with. Though I prayed faithfully for the results to come back differently or less severe, I knew. I knew life changed in those few seconds. I never had the peace that God was going to heal Daddy on earth. I never wavered in my feelings that I knew He would carry us ALL and that He would be with us every step of the way. I just knew that the type of miracle that was needed was just TOO big. Oh, no doubt....God COULD have done it. Nothing is too hard for Him. I just knew in my heart that His plan was going to be different than the plan I wanted. I was unprepared for how quickly things would decline and how quickly he would be gone. I still struggle with that more than anything.
I've thought so much about this year. I've been dreading tomorrow for so long and just the thought of how it's going to feel tomorrow is somewhat terrifying. Yet, I know that when the day is over I'll still be hanging on tight and moving ahead in faith.
Somethings about this year and what I've learned.
- I'm stronger than I ever believed possible. While he was sick, in his final hours, and in those first days after his death I had to do things I never imagined. My normally timid self disappeared and I found a boldness I've never experienced before. In the following months, countless times I had to have conversations or do things that I didn't think I could do. I found a strength deep inside that I didn't know existed.
- I'm weaker than I ever dreamed. You never realize just how dependent on God you are until the rug is pulled out from under you. Literally feeling Him have to breathe for me so many times shows just how much I had to rely on Him to make it through. The countless times, especially those completely random ones, that I've become a puddle on the floor because it hurts so much to have such an empty spot or to see others I love hurt and not be able to take it away....creates such a weakness that is so hard to describe unless you've experienced it first hand.
- My memory is an odd thing. It's amazing how OLD memories flood my heart and warm my soul. Things long forgotten come back so often and it's an amazing thing. Yet on the other hand, I'm already forgetting things that I never want to forget. Most especially, I'm forgetting what he sounded like. He had such a very distinctive voice.....yet, it's getting harder and harder to remember it. If I hear it, I instantly know it is him but to just hear it in my head is getting hard. Unfortunately, Daddy HATED cameras and having him on video is few and far between. The few I have, I find myself going back and listening to just hear him so I don't forget anymore.
- What I learned about grief in college (Social Work major) really doesn't mean anything. I may have aced every test and knew the answer to most every question, it really meant nothing when I experienced it. Though I know what to expect and what not to expect, it's so VERY different when it's your own heart and brain that is going through it. It's like being a parent. You think you know all the answers from reading the recommended books, but then they hand you that precious little baby and you soon realize the information in the books no longer matter.
- Time really does go on. The world moves along with or without you. People forget quickly that your grief is still strong. Time really does go on and I HAVE to go on....no matter how difficult it may seem at times. Grief is hard for EVERYONE, but when you have been entrusted by God with young children the task becomes so much greater.
- JOY is still possible. Though this year has been incredibly hard, it has been the most peaceful and the most joyful I've ever experienced. I think because the days and moments of joy are so much more brilliant than the dark ones, I just embrace them more. At first being happy was hard. I felt guilty even though I know I shouldn't have been. Now I'm embracing that joy and celebrating it with more gusto than ever. Though this year has been unspeakable....it's been the greatest year for my marriage, our family, and spiritually. I think dark days just make the bright ones so much brighter!
- God really is just one heartbeat away. For years I struggled to "connect" and felt like He was so far away. This year has shown me that He is really closer than I ever thought. That footprints in the sand poem is absolutely true. For so long, He was just carrying me.
- I know that the pain isn't going to go away. Next year REALLY isn't going to be any easier than this one. It will just be different. I've been warned that it may even be harder. That's OK. What I've learned this year is that I WILL MAKE IT.
- I've learned just how amazing of a support system I have. My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude with the friendships that I've made and just how incredible they are. Some "old" friends have continued to be so uplifting and I treasure them. Many "new" friends have been the ones that have stood holding up my arms just as Aaron and Hur did for Moses. They've fought the battle for me so many times and I firmly believe that it has made all the difference in the world! For many months, I got caught up in the disappointments of certain individuals that should have been supportive and weren't. The pain from that was excruciating, but I am finally to the point that my heart can grasp on to the ones that have been good for my heart and move past those that weren't.
- I've learned that my husband is the most precious treasure I've ever been given. Though at times he hasn't known how to help in the way I've needed it, HE NEVER GAVE UP! To say he has been a rock for me is such an understatement. This year has brought such tremendous growth and we've never been happier. Granted, it's not always as perfect as we want but we don't give up. "Battles" that could literally go on for weeks or months because of our stubborn, selfish sides get solved MUCH quicker because we don't want to waste a minute by having distance between us. This year has taught us the value of time and what it means to be "Stronger. Together."
- The hardest lesson learned this year is PERMANENCE. Reality is harsh. It seems like each day brings about a reminder of the "nots" and "wont". He is not here for..... He won't be here for.... As hard as it is for me to not have him, it's so much harder when your kids are a daily reminder of what he isn't here for. Not here for the little or big things in their lives and THAT is harder than I ever dreamed.