This holiday season has been challenging...even more so than last year which was our first without Dad. I think we were in shock...still walking around in disbelief that the Heavenly Father had really allowed this profound grief and heartbreak to enter our lives. However, this year...it was real. Dad's absences was very very real and it was painful!
Many of my friends have lost a parent and they appear to move through that grief with their faith intact. I'm finding that "keeping the faith" is not as easy as it seems. I see/hear about friends and acquaintances who are going through difficult times and as I observe them...watch them walk through the difficult time, it seems that their faith becomes stronger, deeper more profound. Not me! I have found it more difficult to trust, depend on and pray to my Heavenly Father. What does that say about me? It makes me question whether my faith was ever really "mine" or did I derive my faith in God from outside myself? Did I depend too much on Dad to be the prayer warrior...to believe for me instead of with me? One thing the Lord is showing me is that I did and still do depend on others in matters of faith. I have no confidence in my faith or the power of my prayers. After all, I prayed and believed that The Great Physician would restore my Dad - heal his fleshly body and look where that got me. I know that of the 2 or 3 folks that will read this, one or two of you will think I've become a full blown heathen...I promise, I haven't...I'm just a person of faith who is struggling through a "dark night of the soul". My head tells me that this too shall pass and I will be stronger and my faith will be deeper and will belong to me on the other side of this journey. I'm beginning to wonder though, if I'm going to make it to "other side" of this journey.
In the last year, I've had to listen to my head a lot more than my heart. My head hears all the truths Dad taught me, all the scriptures he quoted and all the things of faith he shared with me and with countless others. Yep, my head hears it and knows it's true...ahhhh, but my heart...my heart is broken and still can't fathom life without Dad here in his earthly body. As I sit here typing my mind is saying over and over..."I can't believe he's gone! How could God do this to us?! This can't be true...I don't believe it!! Why would He do this?! It's not fair...not fair at all!!! Dad was strong and preaching and teaching better than ever! He still had so much more to give for you Lord! Why did you take him from us?!!! Why? WHY?! WHY?!!" Yep, that's where I am.
A friend of mine has shared with me journals she kept during the first years after losing her Dad quite unexpectedly. I can't tell you how much reading her deepest thoughts has started to help me sort through my own. To see my thoughts written on paper by someone else...WOW! It's as if she is in my head and heart...it's as if I wrote the words I'm reading. There is something about knowing you're not crazy...you're not alone...you're not the only person who has thought and felt this way.
I think that there is still a part of my heart that can't accept that Dad is gone from this earth. I think perhaps that's why he hasn't visited me. I have had only one dream about Dad since his death and in the dream he sat in a chair and observed. He didn't say or do anything...which if you knew my dad at all you would know how uncharacteristic this behavior is for him. That's the only "visit" I've had and I don't really consider it a visit because there was no interaction between us. My children and my mom have all had visits, dreams and experiences with Dad's presence. Perhaps my unwillingness to fully accept his death keeps him from coming to me. Perhaps my irritation/unrest...okay anger with God keeps Dad at bay. I don't know...I can't know. What I do know is that I long for an experience...I want to feel my Dad's presence...hear his voice, his laugh, hug his neck...even if it is only a dream.
I can't tell you how my heart aches to think about the fact that my children have so many years ahead of them without my Dad's presence here on earth. I'm selfish and like spoiled brat I find myself shouting "I want my Daddy!!!" I want Darryl Ross back in his body on this earth healed and whole! My head knows that this is not to be...but I think somewhere in my heart I'm holding out hope. How weird is that?!!!
When I blog it feels like I'm just rambling. I feel like I'm jumping from one thought to the next without any real purpose or fluidity. I've felt jumbled, befuddled and lost since Dad's death. My mind feels scattered and restless...I feel like I'm having an out of body experience that won't end! Little things set me off...anger is always right near the surface...anger and tears, they both lay just below the surface and spring up randomly sometimes for no good reason...BAM...there they are! Sometimes simultaneously and sometimes individually. One minute I'm fine and the next I'm completely out of sorts because I can't find the tape! The emotions ebb and flow everyday and when they flow...boy, oh boy...STAND CLEAR!!! It makes me crazy and I know my family is thinking "what in the world is her problem?" My daughter asked me the other day "Why are you always mad at me?" It took me aback..."I'm not always mad at you." I responded. She replied, "It seems like you are...like you're always mad." Oh my gosh!!! I don't want my kids' memories of me to be "Mom was always mad after Pop died" - I want them to have the same kind of fondness for me that I have for my Dad and my time with him while he was on this earth. My Dad had a knack for making the most of each day...each moment really. I wish I was more like that! Wish I had the ability to make every moment count for eternity the way he did.
Since Dad's death, I've felt this need (for lack of a better word) to see/visit people I love and who have played important roles in my life along the way. I want to sit down with them and catch up face to face...hug their necks and tell them how much they've meant and continue to mean to me. How they've helped shape me into the person I am. More often than not...life gets in the way - between work and the kids' schedules and the schedules of those I'm wanting to see...well you get the idea. Making the rounds becomes almost impossible but I hope that 2014 will afford some opportunities for me to do just that...to see the important people...not just on Facebook or via email but to see them - hug a neck - laugh - cry - reminisce! I think being an only child made me treasure my friends more...made them an important part of my life than folks who had siblings. My friends became an extension of my family. I think that's why I've felt such a need to reach out to them (even in the smallest ways) during the journey. To touch again that time in my life and those people who knew Dad and knew me when Dad was alive. I don't know...weird, huh?! I guess comfort comes in odd ways during difficult times.
I want make my Dad proud! I want to be the person God intends me to be...the person my parents raised me to be. I want to honor my earthly parents and my Heavenly Father with my life! I'm just not sure that I know how to do that now. I'm so glad that the Lord sees and knows my heart and won't give up on me...even if, for a minute, I may give up on myself.
Psalm 130: 1-5
From the depths of despair, O Lord
I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.
LORD, if you kept a record of our sins,
Who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.
I AM COUNTING ON THE LORD;
YES, I AM COUNTING ON HIM
I HAVE PUT MY HOPE IN HIS WORD.