When Grief Pays a Visit

My dad passed away in September 2011. He had been sick for a while, dealing with dementia. It was a painful thing to watch, especially because I had decided to got to college 6 hours away from where he was. Whenever I had the chance to visit, it hurt every time. He was always progressively worse than the time before. There was no getting better for him.

I remember when I got the news, guilt and pain haunted me for a few days. All I could think about was the times I pressed ‘ignore’ on my phone when he would call me at school. I felt horrible for having a nice time in graduate school at the moment he was catching his last breath. I cried that night, and the next day I gathered myself and continued about my days at school until it was time for me to travel back home and say goodbye.

I had a joy inside of me when I went back and sang for his services with my family. I had a peace. So when I went back to school, I didn’t tell anyone who wasn’t close to me. I didn’t feel the need to.

But my second year of graduate school, grief crept in and took over. It seemed like any repressed grief came up at this moment and I couldn’t shake it. I decided to go see a counselor. I was completely shaken to my core and I couldn’t recover. It took a few months and a few session to truly express how I was feeling about my father being gone, me being away from him during his decline, and not feeling fulfilled anymore in what I was doing.

Fast forward to a few night ago, I had a dream about my dad. In this dream, I saw the decline in his health and relived his death all over again in my dream. I woke up and burst into tears. It was like the pain of his death was fresh and new in my mind all over again.

 I thought I had moved past this, honestly. I could talk about my dad and his death and be fine. It’s been over 7 years since his death, but that one dream could bring back the reality of him being gone and still affect me.

I think about him from time to time when looking at my twins. I see him in them sometimes. I sit back and wish that he could’ve met them and held them just once. I wish that he could’ve walked me down the isle when I got married. I wish that I could still sit and talk with him or watch some of his favorite shows with him.

I’m writing this because I know there are people out there who have lost someone and still feel the effects of their loss in your life. Even when you think you’ve gained the strength to talk about them and think of the good times, something somewhere is still hurting… and that’s okay. Grief comes in waves. It comes in stages. It comes and goes. One thing we can’t do is try to ignore it and move forward. All the pinned up sadness, anger, fear, and pain just builds over time. Before you know it, the smallest thing can trigger the dam to break in your life, and out comes the rushing waters of your hidden pain.

Accepting grief as it comes is a necessary part of life. The loss of someone close to you is the loss of an entire space in your life. You spend time with that person, you place importance on them in your life, and expect them to be there. So when you lose them, you feel like a whole section of your life is now empty because of the space they once filled.

 I don’t know who this is for, but I promise you that everything will be okay. It doesn’t feel like it now, and somewhere down the line, it won’t feel like it either. But at some point in your life, it will be okay. You don’t need to try and fill that space with something temporary, but thankfully we have Jesus who can fill that space permanently.

But even with Jesus in that space, it doesn’t mean that you won’t miss your loved one or experience grief.

So whoever you are reading this, I’m praying for you. please pray for me.

I miss you Daddy.

Allyson.

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