Grief is a complicated visitor. Sometimes we invite her in, but sometimes she comes at the most unexpected, inconvenient times. Occasionally she stays a while and comforts us until we are ready for her to leave, while other times she races in, stays a couple of minutes, and is out the door before we can blink. Every so often she comes with friends and we all visit together, and other times we only want to visit with her alone. We can go days, months and sometimes even years without seeing her, but when she arrives at our doorstep, she’s as familiar as the day we met her. Some of us remain friends with her for a lifetime, while others are able to let her go. Most of our loved ones don’t like her or understand her, unless she is visiting them as well. She has a hold on us like no other.
On the day my dad died, my family was gathered around his hospital bed in my parents’ bedroom. He had passed but we were still saying goodbye and toasting his life. I happened to glance out the bedroom window, and the mailman was delivering their mail. I was outraged. I did not understand how the world could keep going while my family was in such pain. I wanted everything to stop…to show some respect for my father, for me, for my pain. As we all know, it doesn’t. Life goes on. Over the years, when my heart has been that heavy with sadness, I have looked for a word that described how I felt. Sad just seemed too mild. I wanted a word that just didn’t say I’m sad, but screamed it from the mountain tops. (Yes, I can be a little dramatic!) One day I was listening to my husband and son talk about a deer they had killed while hunting that day and it came to me…I felt like that deer. I felt gutted. Like everything on the inside had been taken out and my shell was left to carry on.
I used to believe that time heals all wounds. But I wanted to know HOW much time. How long before I was healed? I kept waiting for the day I would no longer think about my loved one, the week I would no longer cry, the month I would not fall to pieces over missing sharing my life with him. That time never came. It was then I realized time doesn’t necessarily heal anything. It gives you the opportunity to find ways to cope with your grief. Time scabs over your wound, but on certain days, when you pick at the scab or hit it on something and it falls off, the wound is as fresh as the day you got it. Time also gives you the chance to begin to think of your loved one and smile through the tears. I don’t believe you are ever healed, but you carry on. I don't believe you ever forget
This blog is about lessons and I learned a very valuable lesson on the day my dad died. I was back in my own home, in my bedroom with my daughter. She was about four at the time. I was sobbing. You know, that red, puffy eyes, snot running down your face, sounds coming out you didn’t know you could make, kind of sobbing. My daughter started to cry. I immediately went into “counselor mode” and told her that mommy is just sad about Gdad and its ok for her to be sad also. She should just let it out. She looked at me and said, “Mommy, I’m not crying over Gdad, I’m crying because you look so ugly! You’re scary!” Well then, lesson learned! I now never cry in public!