When someone close to you passes away, there are emotions that you’ve never felt before, that come over you in stages and sometimes all at once. I never knew what the “grieving process” really was until I lost my dad.
When it first happened, I felt a major sense of relief. I know it sounds crazy. But watching him deteriorate so quickly literally felt like I was being tortured, and obviously he was suffering. Every day I’d bring Emerson to see him even if he was only able to be awake for a few minutes. Although I know it lifted him up a bit, I know his heart was aching. He finally had a grandchild that he always wanted and now his time was limited. I know it tore him apart. The thought of it was unbearable. Still is. So in a way I admit I wanted him out of this misery and to be set free.
I was blessed with support from all angles, my mom and husband, my friends, in-laws, and extended family came together to make each day a little lighter. At his funeral, the faces we hadn’t seen in years had felt like no time had passed at all. People came from all of his walks of life to remember him and honor his memory. It was a testament of the impact my dad had left on so many lives. And in a strange way I felt at peace that day.
But as time passes, naturally life moves on as it should and everyone moves right along with it. When the time comes for everyone to settle back into their routine and the dust slowly settles, you are left with your thoughts. I am referring to the ones you don’t have to think about when everyone is by your side.
Suddenly you realize that this change is permanent. You are forced to live in a reality you must accept no matter how badly it hurts. This grief as they call it comes over you no matter the time of day and no matter where you are. You can be in public or at work or alone in bed, and once it overwhelms you, there’s really no way to avoid it. I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest and then pain sets in.
I have had a broken heart before and I have felt sadness in many forms. But this pain is something no one can prepare you for or even describe accurately. I describe it as pain from the inside that wants to come out but can’t. It’s in every part of your body all at once. You realize in these moments that “I can’t call them, I can’t hear their voice. I won’t see them again or hold them.” This brings me to another stage of grieving that I never expected.
For the first time in my whole life, I started to question my beliefs in God. Here I was given the most beautiful gift in this whole world, my sweet boy. And at the most exciting time of my life and what should have been the happiest, I was given the most devastating news. The thought of losing my dad was paralyzing. I remember praying for a miracle until my eyes were blood-shot. But after realizing that there wouldn’t be one, I just stopped for some reason.
I know that like all broken relationships we have in this life, I will learn to trust again and be able to talk to God one day soon. But there’s a part of my heart that wonders what if there isn’t a place that I will see my dad again? What if he isn’t able to watch over Emerson and I, like everyone so surely still believes and assures me?
Jonathan once said to me, “Kelly you always believed in God’s plan before, you can’t just stop now because you didn’t like how it all turned out.” Quiet men often say the wisest things. He is right. But am I allowed to feel angry? No matter how much I try to focus on my many blessings, Emerson of course being the biggest, I can’t help but feel angry. I think it’s another stage in the process.
I feel angry at myself, angry with God, and angry at this world. It might not be justified or even right but it’s the honest truth. I have trouble comprehending why my dad had to suffer at all and why he was cheated the chance to watch Emerson grow. It breaks my heart when I imagine what his face would be like to see Emerson’s charming smile, hear his giggles and touch his little hands.
I know there are so many people who have lost loved ones long before they deserved to. I realize that people all over the world, near and far are facing struggles that I can never even begin to imagine. I want nothing more but to snap out of it and wake up to smell the roses around me. But I am not convinced that this would be entirely normal either. Perhaps this really is a process.
On my worst of days, I sometimes wonder if I am being punished for something I did or took for granted? How did this happen? How did the best that was yet to come, be taken from our fingertips? I know he felt that way too in his final days. Despite our many differences, I knew his heart and his mind like the back of my hand.
After all I am my father’s daughter. We loved the same, fought the same, and had the same passion, all of which caused us to have many disagreements over the years. And in true form, we were both over thinkers, sometimes leading us to think regretfully. I don’t know how long I will regret not spending enough time with him like he wanted to everyday. Or doing what he wanted me to do because of the simple fact, he was my dad. I wish I had fought him less on so many things and showed my love for him more.
But I have to believe that I will have that chance again and that this was our plan. I just have to no matter what. Because if I don’t believe than I am giving up on him and that’s something I will never do, no matter how much of my faith is depleted.
I don’t know for sure if he knew how much of my heart would be missing without him. But I know through this blog, and through my stories, I will always share with the world what a force he was to me and the many other lives he touched.
Emerson and any other children we are blessed with, will know that his grandpa was here on this Earth to make mountains move. And I hope with every bone in my body that when I see him again one day that he will have seen it all and already know Emerson too.
So you see this is in fact a process that cannot be stamped with a time limit or defined by just any specific emotion. If you are going through it, try to know you are doing the best you can. That you aren’t being ungrateful for not seeing the brighter sides to things yet. You are just coping, and trying to make sense out of something that doesn’t make sense, period.
I hope through reading this, you realize that no matter how ugly and dark some of these thoughts are, they are a part of this life. Death is a part of this life and without it; you will never quite understand how precious life really is.
Thank you for listening,