05 January 2013

My Story of Loss

I've written at least half a dozen unpublished posts in the past three and a half weeks.. Some of them are rambling. Some of them have brief snippets that are publishable, but mostly they are long, twisted columns of words that say the same thing:

I miss my mama. I miss my daddy. They are both...gone.

Mom passed away quietly in her sleep on 12/12/12. I met Dad at the nursing home before the sun was even above the horizon. Stars still lit the early morning sky. We sat in the room with mom for a couple hours sorting our feelings a little before getting started on funeral plans. We knew that moment was coming, but we thought we had more time. We didn't, but we were able to say without hesitation that we made the most of the time we had.

Dad passed away just 2 1/2 weeks later. It was unexpected. Completely. We did not see it coming. It was difficult and heartbreaking.

The past month and a half has been quite a whirlwind I will never forget the physical response my body had when my mom discontinued her chemo treatments, nor the even more powerful physical response my body had the morning she died. Knowing it was coming may have made it easier to process, or so I was told, but it did not make it easy to lose her. I remember wondering in those first days after Mom passed away whether or not it really did make it easier.

I can say now that I believe it did. Because we had no warning that Dad was going to pass away. That unexpected loss was crushing. It took my breath away. I sobbed beside his hospital bed when his heart stopped beating.

Watching Daddy grieve Mom's loss was one of the most painful experiences of my life. Christmas was so hard for him. He grieved so very deeply for Mom. His heart was completely and totally broken. Our Daddy loved our Mama. They had the kind of love that held them together no matter what happened. It was...

Johnny and June love.

Romeo and Juliet love.

In the two years that my mom battled cancer, my dad bent over backwards to take care of her, but that's what he did my entire life. He showered her with gifts. He called her several times each day. The day after she died? He tried to call her just to say, "I love you, Baby," before he realized what he was doing and hung up the phone and called me instead. He researched every cancer treatment he could find, and they tried every natural treatment available. He desperately tried to hang onto her, and he encouraged her that she would recover right down to her last day in this world.

I am so glad that Daddy is no longer grieving and that he has joined Mom in heaven with Jesus. He had such a beautiful, imaginative picture of heaven in his mind, and I am sure that it is even more than he ever dreamed it to be. 

But oh how I miss him, and oh how I miss her.

It was Daddy who gave us advice (whether or not we wanted it). It was Mom who was an expert in the kitchen. It was Daddy who fixed things or told us how to fix things. It was Mom who listened when everything was falling apart. It was Daddy who was there for us when we needed him the most. It was both of them who would call just to chat, stop by just for 5 minutes to say hello, call and invite us to a spur-of-the-moment lunch or dinner...

Maybe the grief is worse this time because I was still shedding tears each day for Mom. Maybe it's worse because we didn't have time to prepare ourselves. Maybe it's worse because I sat in a hospital for 3 days watching him slip away. I don't know why. I just know that I feel like I've been sucker punched right in the gut.

For whatever reason, I feel like there are moments when I'm so filled with grief that it just spills over, and there isn't always someone there to catch it. I can't seem to get it under control. There are moments when I'm fine, and, if you ask me, I will tell you the truth. Many times this week I have said, "Right now, I am fine." I have also truthfully answered, "I'm not doing well today."

However, the ultimate truth is that I am always well. My soul? It is well.  It is always well with my soul. In spite of it all, I will always know that my soul is well. Daddy's soul is well, and Mom's soul is well. They are dancing on streets of gold, sitting at the feet of Jesus, laughing with Him about the looks on the disciple's faces when they saw him walking on that water.

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