preparing for grief……
this weekend we head of out town for both a funeral and a visit with my parents. as i’ve been planning for the trip, i have been feeling that same old apprehension that i feel everytime i prepare to see my dad.
seeing my dad is always such a time of mixed emotions. i look forward to holding his hand and just being near him, while on the other hand, i can never get used to the fact that he can’t respond to me anymore. there will be no exchange of conversation, no big hug, no sweet smile while looking into my eyes, and there will be no “i love you” coming from his lips as i leave.
i seem to be able to hold it together while i’m at the nursing home…usually. and i can even hold it together once we’re back at my moms. but it’s a different story once i’m back home. it’s then that the weight of the grief hits me like a ton of bricks. it’s then that i feel so heavy hearted that sometimes i find it hard to even breathe. it’s then that i cry for the hugs that i didn’t receive from my dad and for the loss of conversation that dad and i didn’t have while i was there.
i can’t avoid the grief that comes once i get home. it’s inevitable. as hard as i try to prepare myself for it, it still hits me…hard.
i do know that once i get on the other side of that week of grief, i am then able to say with certainty that the trials on this earth are nothing compared to the joy that is coming…. i couldn’t say that 3 years ago when dad first went into the nursing home. and i couldn’t allow myself the freedom to grieve each time i came home from seeing dad. i used to beat myself up over it. i used to think there was something wrong with me for feeling that way each and every time. thankfully, God has given me wonderful wise friends who have helped me to see that it’s normal and necessary.
so, as i see my dad on sunday, i will remember the old times, the times when he’d hug me and hold my hand and tell me that everything will work out because God is in control. and i will remember how hard he worked to care for my family and how he made it a priority for us to be in church and to know his Savior, his reason for living. and i will remember how well he lived out that verse that i shared earlier…..the trials i experience on this earth can’t compare to the joy that is yet to come.
but the grief will come. next week will be hard. i will cry a lot. and even though the grief will be heavy and hard, i know i will get through it. i know that God will carry me when i can’t carry myself. and i know that the grief of next week can’t compare to the joy that is coming.