If you are close to me or have at least been following my life on social media for the last three years, you know in a tragic turn of events my family lost 2 very important men within a month of each other: my grandfather and father.
The loss of my grandfather was not as intense as the loss of my father, we lost pappaw to natural causes. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my Pappaw, but I was by his side as we all said goodbye (and my Daddy was by my side). I held his hand and got closure as he passed. However, I didn’t get to tell my dad goodbye. I was in Texas settling back into normal life after losing Pappaw (two weeks to be exact) when a drunk driver hit my father head on as he drove to work the day after Thanksgiving.
This loss hit different. I didn’t have my rock of a father to keep me strong. I couldn’t shake the grief and loss as easily.
I’m happy to say that time has truly healed the pain. Jesus, and those I love, have turned that grief back to joy. But on days like today, my dad’s birthday, I can’t help but feel a sense of emptiness as I don’t press send on a happy birthday text reminding him he is “oh so old”.
To be honest, life gets in the way and I didn’t even realize what today was until Facebook reminded me. Seeing his Facebook profile, still, the same as it was while he was alive, brought back a lot of emotions. I found myself thinking about things I wish I could share with him. Then I realized, the things I would share with him are all things other people suffering from grief need to hear as well.
If you were here…
We’re doing okay, great actually!
“Life is good, Dad. We didn’t let the pain or loss destroy the gift God gave us- more time on earth.”
If you’ve lost someone you may be tempted to just give up, the pain may have you convinced that life will never be worth living again. Hear me friend, IT IS STILL WORTH LIVING! It takes time and effort but you will find your love for this life again. But you have to focus on the good, don’t dwell in the past. Physically write down the good things if you need to.
The anger has subsided.
“Yeah, I wanted so badly to scream at the woman who killed you. I wanted her family to suffer like we were. But the thing I realized was they were suffering. Yes, she was the drunk driver. Y’alls deaths were her selfish fault, but her children lost their momma that early November morning like we lost you. They were suffering. My anger couldn’t change the past, all it was doing was wrecking my mental health. So I let it go. “
If you’re at the anger stage of grief, don’t stay there! Anger will only hurt you. Yeah it SUCKS! And you deserve to be angry for a season. But don’t let it destroy you as a person. Channel that energy and passion into something constructive. Whether it’s being the best mom you can or finally getting your degree, find your purpose. Don’t stay angry!
Old relationships fell apart, some were strengthened, and new began.
“Though life has been good, things aren’t as they use to be. We’ve come to see people’s true colors and had to cut them out of our lives. But we’ve also made new relationships with people we have come to love dearly. Oh, and some relationships got a second chance!”
Grief is just love with no place to go. Take your grief and turn it into love again. Start strengthening the relationships you have. Show those who are still with you that you love them and mend any past hurts. But also cut off those who don’t truly care for you. I’m sure you’ve come to realize life it too short, so spend it with the real ones!
Babies were born, couples were married, fear didn’t stop us.
“You have another grandbaby, her name is Amelia and she is gorgeous. Kelsey and I are married. Kelsey is starting school soon. Mom is still buying houses! Jack is potty trained. We haven’t been living in fear of the future. We have been moving forward, not backwards.”
I cannot stress this enough. If you give into fear it. will. cripple you! My dad died in a car crash, but I didn’t let that scare me out of driving. I know some people cannot overcome fear alone (it’s a powerful emotion), so lean on Jesus or talk to a trusted friend or counselor. But don’t let fear steal your freedom or future. Move forward. The future is uncertain so focus on the present.
Your advice still rings in our ears, as does your laughter.
“When I have to make a difficult decision or I’m in a fight with Travis I still hear your voice and your “matter of fact” advice. And when I watch a Jerry Lewis movie I still here your laugh.”
Memories will fade. But don’t fret, not all of them will disappear. If you have lost someone dear you probably are afraid of the day you can’t recall their accent or eye color. Write down the things you want to remember. But trust me when I say, the things that mean the most won’t be forgotten.
We miss you
“If I could bring you back I would. You haven’t been replaced or forgotten.”
You might be thinking that if you find another partner or you embrace a new relationship that your loved one will be forgotten. It is not true. The best lesson I learned from grief is that our hearts are capable of infinite love. You can love another and still cherish the one you lost.
If you are reading this and have recently experienced loss I want you to know things will get easier. If you’re reading this and you are still holding onto the hurt from long ago, I beg you to give up the pain that’s holding you back. You are missing out on so much good! Letting go of the hurt is not letting go of our loved one.
If you have lost a loved one, what would you tell them? What would you tell someone experiencing the same thing?
“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalms 30:5