Friday, April 24, 2009

Grief, Revisited

***Warning: The following post was written by a very sad person. My apologies in advance.***

Grief can be so disorienting sometimes. You momentarily lose yourself, your identity, and your sense of self as you try to figure out who you are without the presence of the person you have lost.

You find yourself doing inexplicable things, like picking up the phone to call your Dad to ask him to pray for you as you mourn his loss.

Yep, I just did that.

And the pain that followed the realization that I will never again hear his voice on the other end of the phone line opened wide this wound in my heart that I had hoped had begun to heal ever so slightly.

All I can think about right now is that I will never again hear the gentle, "Hi, Susan, how are you?", knowing that the course of our conversation would hinge on my answer to that question. I will never again hear our standard, simple good-bye of "Love you, Dad", "I love you too, Susan" at the close of our chats together. I will never again be able to call him just because I felt like it, or ring him up to tell him a story in the hopes of making him laugh, or making him proud, or both, or return a call to him in response to a message he had left for me. His warm, soothing voice in answer to my own is no longer available to me in this lifetime.

Oh, how I wish I would have had the foresight to capture the sound of him on video. I wish I would have had the premonition to ask him questions on camera that could have been preserved for all time about himself, his views on life, his advice for his grandchildren, and his love for me. What I wouldn't give to have just five more minutes to try and implant the sound of his quiet, melodic laughter in my memory forever. I am so afraid of the moment when I realize I can't recall his voice at my every whim. You'd think after thirty-some years of hearing it regularly it would be permanently etched in my brain, but even I know that there may come a day where it could be lost for good.

(Please forgive me for my depressive rambling, I'm having a hard night tonight. I do thank you, though, for sticking with me even as I turn into an emotional basketcase before your very eyes. You are good friends.)

And as I sit here pondering these things, one sad thought just keeps leading to another, and the heaviness is getting to be almost more than I can bear. I worry about things I never even thought twice about before. Things like losing the image of him walking towards me, smiling, ready to give me a hug, and of not being able to recall the feel of that embrace. I worry about not being able to summon up the sight of the ever-present sparkle in his kind, hazel eyes. I worry about forgetting the way he looked upon with wonder and adoration his grandkids, and how he loved nothing more than to hold their little hands in his own. He used to just gaze at those tiny hands he held in awe, and you could almost hear him worshiping and praising God for the perfection that can come in such a small package.

(Sidenote: Most of you who knew him probably didn't take the time to notice this, but he had beautiful hands. I always loved his hands. They were so youthful, so smooth, so gentle, you could almost feel the warmth of his servant heart flowing from his servant hands.)

And as my downward spiral of sadness continues, I find myself dreading the time when I will not expect him to greet me from his spot on the couch when I go to visit my Mom. I can see him now in my mind's eye rising up to hug me, glasses (minus a stem) in one hand, his latest read in the other, and a big grin on his face as he wrapped his arms around me, with one eye always on the lookout for his grandchildren. (And even though in the last few years I had become second-place to my girl's, he was still kind enough to try to be subtle about it. I can only remember a couple times when he completely blew by me as he made his way to where the little ones were filing in.)

How am I going to go on without these routine, commonplace, taken-for-granted moments in my days? After so many years of these things defining the way things were with us, will life ever really feel normal again?

These are things I do not know, and am too sad to try and figure out.

But as I sit here, wallowing in my grief, moving from one painful thought to the next, it feels good to know I serve a God who does not begrudge me these times of sorrow, but instead joins me in them. If I take a deep breath and still myself long enough, I can feel His peacefulness, I can feel His reassurance, and I can feel His heavenly arms wrapped around my broken spirit. And like the good friend He is, He doesn't even fire reminders at me of where my father is, or tell me that I should be joyful knowing that I will see him again someday. He doesn't feel it necessary to point out that the times I spent with my father are far from over, and that our future together will be greater than our past. No, He knows that I know these things. And He also knows that for now, for tonight, I just need to grieve the father that I lost, and mourn what that will mean for me today, and tomorrow, and for all of my tomorrow's thereafter.

So He remains right here with me, letting me sob into His shoulder as I once did, not that long ago, into my Dad's. He continues to offer me nothing more than His presence, knowing that all I need is to just make it through to the next moment. And if I let myself, I can hear His calming voice telling me that He knows my sorrow, He understands my sorrow, and He would never stand in the way of my sorrow.

He's comforting me like any good Father would.

Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day in sadness. I miss my Dad. You know him, and You understand more than anyone the reasons why. He was a good man, Lord, which makes it that much harder to not have him here.
I am beyond grateful for the knowledge of where my Dad is right now, and for being able to say in full confidence that he is where he should be, but that doesn't stop me from wanting him here, too. He's left a void that I just don't ever see diminishing, much less disappearing.
Thank You tonight, Lord, for just letting me grieve. For recognizing that my faith is still strong, though my spirit is weak. Thank You for allowing me to be broken, and beaten, and battered by this loss, while still trusting that I will never stray so far from You that I would be unable to navigate my way back.
I love You, Lord, nothing will ever change that. Even as I lay in this pit and am shrouded in this darkness, I know I need only to lift my eyes to find my relief, to find my refuge, to find You.
Please stay near to me tonight, as I am in desperate need of a Father's love.


  1. Lord,
    I just lift up Susan to you. I pray you will embrace her in your love. I pray you will fill her with your peace this evening. I thank you that weeping may last for the night, but joy will come in the morning. I thank you for her willingness to serve you. I thank you for her ability to stay focused on you, and your plan for her life even when she is hurting. I pray you will fill her with your super natural strength, and that you will equip her for this journey your are taking her on. I pray you will raise up prayer warriors to cover her and carry her in prayer as she walks this path. In your precious name we pray.

  2. The worst part of grief is not knowing when it is going to sneak up on you and take over. Know that we are lifting you up in prayer as we know all too well that every day of grieving is so different. Praying for you and sending you hugs.


  3. The kindest person said this to me...
    "No matter how old you are, it is still hard to lose your Dad."

    This always gave me permission to cry when I needed to.


  4. My heart grieves with you. I wish I knew the right words to say that would help. Just know that you are in my thoughts and prayers everyday. Betty