I have lost another parent. My Dad passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly two weeks ago. It happened at home, a seemingly small detail of the story, but an important one – as my Dad had long told his family that when he died, he hoped for it to happen at home and not in a hospital.
Well, you got your wish Dad! No more pain, no more worrisome politics, burdens or health problems. You missed Mom so much and were so lonely without her and now you can be with our Lord in Heaven, and with all the loved ones who passed before you – including Mom, who passed earlier this year.
I never thought I would lose my parents this young, or in such a short period of time. My parents are gone. My parents are both gone! I keep saying it, but it hasn’t set in yet. It doesn’t seem real. Returning home this past weekend, still reeling from what had happened and all the activity that followed, I had to remind myself that I didn’t need to call to check in on him this weekend. I had to remind myself that I could not update him on how our lawn was doing or the fact that we had turned on the new furnace for the first time, or to rib him about how bad the Steelers played that week. It took me back to the pain of losing my Mom just a few short months ago and how hard it was, knowing that I could not just pick up the phone to tell her some news or to check in – as I had done so often for so many years.
It was also hard leaving my sisters and brother to come home. We all know that life doesn’t stand still, so hugging them each that morning, we said all the things you say – “There is always Skype”, “Text me soon”, “Don’t be a stranger”, “Yes, we will still get together for holidays when we can”. All the time knowing it will never ever be the same as it was before all this happened.
We’ve spent the time since Dad passed telling and retelling the story of what happened, and heard the things that people say to those who are mourning. That we should take it slow, one day at a time, it will get easier as time passes, lean on your friends and family, we will always have our memories. All things I have probably said to people in similar situations. Said because you don’t know what else to say. What do you say to someone who just lost both parents in under 6 months? I don’t have the answers and neither does anyone else. And in all honestly, I’m not sure that most people really want to hear what you are truly feeling. It’s too depressing and it makes you feel helpless.
I don’t know what God’s plan is for us, and I have not figured out what we are meant to learn from this. We may never know. I praise Him, even in my confusion and ask daily for His Spirit to strengthen me as we figure out what this new normal will look like for each of us. I try to get back into some type of a normal routine. Fall is usually a very busy time for me at work, as well as my volunteering. And we have other personal things to deal with, both related to my Dad and outside of the family. I pray that my family will draw from each other and that God will strengthen us together. I try to lay my fear and worry at His feet, and put my faith in knowing that there is a plan for each of us! I’m not sure how I will get through this, but I know I will. I feel devastating sadness now and will be sad for a while – maybe for a long while. I will miss my parents horribly for the rest of my life. I may have a meltdown here and there, or maybe just a quick tear. And yet I know that I will find a way to move forward, with my family and my memories and with everything that my parents taught me resting right here in my head and heart.
Life has a funny way of dealing you a hand that you just don’t know what to do with. I will let God help me to sort it out and find the right plays for me. I know I will see my parents again somewhere down that winding road. I will cherish watching my niece and nephews grow and fascinate at what they will make of their lives. And I will know I was loved and am loved. And nothing beats that…not even death!