Grief and Father’s Day

Earlier in November I wrote a blog about my Dad’s death. How grief can act in different ways. I also talked about how when the anniversary date came around I was really numb. I didn’t cry at all that week-I didn’t really feel anything. I was just numb. That is how grief works. There is no rule book or guide book about where you should be on your grief journey and if what you’re feeling is wrong or right or normal. Grief takes you on your own individual journeys. Sure, everyone has some similarities while on their grief journey, but no one grieves exactly the same.
   Father’s Day is bittersweet when you don’t get to celebrate with your Dad. The past couple of Father’s Days have been bittersweet. I was really sad and missing dad, but I was also so grateful that I had 18 great years and good memories with him. Sometimes getting on social media on that day was a tough pill to swallow but I didn’t want my grief to damper that day because Father’s Day is a day to celebrate how great your Dad is. I am so happy for all the people that still have their Dad around to tell them how thankful they are for them. I am happy they get to celebrate Father’s Day together and many other things. This Father’s Day was very different for me. I was really missing Dad like really missing him. I kept thinking… I didn’t really lose my Dad… there is no way he is really dead. I remember Saturday night before Father’s Day I cried for awhile because I just wanted my Dad. I just wanted to talk to him and give him a hug and to hear his laugh again. I was emotional. I didn’t really get on social media as it was really hard for me that day. I wasn’t jealous or unhappy for the people it just really made me miss Dad a lot. It hit me that I will never be able to celebrate a Father’s Day with him ever again. I used to not really care about the Father’s Day commercials or e-mails but this year they got to me. I got so angry every time my inbox popped up with the subject your dad will love this gift, or this is the perfect gift to give Dad. It just hit me every time I read that I can’t buy gifts for my Dad. I don’t know if I was more aware of the e-mails then normal or if I was getting more than last year but it was driving me nuts! As I was grieving and dealing with all the different emotions I began to think people who lost their Dad aren’t the only ones that Father’s Day is difficult for. I was thinking some people don’t even know who their Dad is, or what he looks like. Some Dads want nothing to do with their daughters or sons and so many other reasons why Father’s Day can be difficult. Just like how Mother’s Day can be difficult for some people. Many people around the world experience a loss of some sort during these special holidays. I then began to reflect on all the memories with Dad. I was thankful that my Dad was in my life and I had so many memories with him.
     Grief works in weird ways. It’s not like the next day I woke up and I was all happy and cheery, I was still grieving. This week  has been especially tough. As we are packing up the house there are so many memories we are reflecting on. This is the only house I ever lived in and now we are leaving it soon. I know that moving doesn’t take away any of the memories and I know staying at this house doesn’t bring Dad back. In some ways it’s hard to be at this house because you look somewhere or at something and remember a memory or funny event. We are getting ready to go on a vacation with extended family and the last time we did that Dad was there. It’s hard to think of Dad not being physically present at this vacation. He made so many memories at the Lake House it’s just hard to imagine him not being there. As our new house is getting built (we are feeling extremely blessed and thankful … I will blog about this amazing story soon and give more details) it is weird that Dad doesn’t get to move with us. He won’t have any of his little touches in the new house or anywhere in the new house that is his little spot. It’s definitely bittersweet, like I said earlier packing up a house full of memories is hard but there is also a part of me that is ready to move. I won’t have to look out the window anymore and remember the events of that day. I know some people say with time grief gets easier it doesn’t at least for my family and me. In some ways it gets harder. It has been 4 years since I have seen or talked to my Dad. Grief is always there it just shows up in different ways at different times. You can’t really control it. You just keep learning to live in your new normal. If your Dad is living I encourage you to call or text or e-mail or write a letter telling him you love him or saying thanks. Things can change instantly without warning. I didn’t get to say goodbye or anything to my Dad. I said “I love you” before we all went to bed and those were my last words to him. I didn’t see him that morning. Just be kind to everyone and be kind to those who are grieving it is a difficult journey.

“Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.” – Psalm 31:9

One comment

  1. It is a very difficult journey. I am having a very difficult time. Mike is having a very difficult time. Colleen is having a very difficult time. Time is not making anything \”easier\” or \”less painful\”. I feel like we all are getting worse. I ran into someone the other day and her response was like she was surprised it isn't getting any easier. I thought obviously, this person has not experienced loss, what a stupid thing to say. I prayed that God would give me a filter to filter out ridiculous flippant responses but sometimes the off switch must be off because that one is stuck in my head. We loved your Daddy. He was a treasure to us. I am crying right now just thinking about him. He had radar for people. He could read people and if they were having a hard time. Sometimes in church I would turn my head and he would smile and it was so nice to know that we were loved by him. Mike adores \”Big Herb\” don't know where that came from I think Mike doesn't even know. He was the first friend (besides Jerry and Dave) that I met. The first time I met him, Mike brought him to Jan's house where I lived. He was on crutches and was so happy and warm. The last time I talked to him he had to sub for your Mom's SS class. . I was teaching Jr. High for Mike that morning and we both needed to prepare for our SS class. He said, \”Well, it looks like we are left holding down the ship!\” then he chuckled. We both went into our separate rooms to get ready. I always believed him when he told me everything will be ok when we were putting on our addition and I was freaking out with our Amish contractor crew. I had a lot of running around to do to get supplies and shopping for the right things and I was stressed that summer!!! He was right, everything did turn out ok and if I were to do it again, I would do it the same way (only change the bathroom). Anyways, I ramble. I am so glad that you are writing this blog about loss. I am glad that it is open and honest and real. Your dad is beaming with pride and joy. Absence from the people you love is the hardest thing in the world. 90% (made up that number) of the people you love are still on earth but it is that 10% that make such a big hole. But, it reminds me of the verse about the lost sheep. Yes, we all take it as a spiritual \”lost/loss\” but let's think of it in a new light. 99% of the sheep are present but 1% is gone. The shepherd wasn't happy with 99% he felt the loss and looked for that 1% to make the fold complete. That is how it feels at every family gathering. So wonderful that everyone is present so good to be together but those absent chairs they really stand out. I hate life without my Lauren, people can say all the wonderful flowery scriptures (and they are comforting) but darn it I am hurting right now and I would rather have Lauren, Kendall and Randy present at my table. That would make my being feel complete and content. Prayers are with you. Keep journaling/blogging and sharing with us. We need each other.

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