I thought grieving was supposed to get better with time. Mine seems to get worse. This week marks ten months since my dad died of cancer. Everywhere I turn lately there are reminders. From working on a script to my daughter's birthday to choir rehearsal, images and conversations of Dad's last months keep popping into my head. In the last week I've felt bombarded with instances that bring him to mind. I listened to a woman describe her experience of watching her loved one slowly die after she decided to quit dialysis. As she talked about the family gathering around and the tough decisions needed, I remembered the day the technician came in to deactivate Dad's pacemaker so it wouldn't keep shocking him to keep him alive. The next evening a different woman relayed her recent experiences caring for her dying mother and I was transported back to that hospital room, witnessing him take his very last breaths. It's harvest time, Dad's favorite time of year. In fact, we always had a hard time celebrating his October 3rd birthday because he didn't want to get out of the field. And just today, my father-in-law, my son and my husband, having no idea what has been running through my head all week, each mentioned my dad in three separate instances. It was absolutely eerie.
All day I've been asking God why. Why is this so present now? I've been praying about what my next post should be and this is the only thing on my mind. So I've asked God today, Why does this matter to anyone else? What is the lesson? What is the point? I spent some time looking through my journals of last year, trying to remember how I was feeling. Do you know what I found? There was no panic. Uncertainty, yes, anxiety, yes, stress, yes, fear, some, PANIC, no. There was a sense of "Okay, God, I don't know where we're going with this. Be near." AND HE WAS!!
How else do you explain how life went on amid oncology visits and chemotherapy treatments and emergency trips to the hospital? Where did the opportunities come from to talk with Dad about things we had never discussed before? How could I host a birthday party for my son and before it was even over, watch my father die? Who else could find a way to make a 10-year-old think his grandfather's death occurring on his birthday was "COOL" ("My birthday on earth is Grandpa's birthday in heaven.")? How could I be in tears both before and after my father's funeral, yet speak with composure during it? I am no superwoman. I spend most of my days feeling very little. IT HAD TO BE GOD!
All of this coming to a head today, the day I had planned to make another post, makes me wonder if someone out there is facing something scary. Do you need to know you can do it? Do you need assurance that God will see you through it? You are not alone, my friend. Do not fear. Pray your little heart out. Hold on to the promises in His Word. Take a deep breath and move on in His strength.
Even though I've felt sad this week, it's okay. I'M OKAY. I am not alone. YOU are not alone.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." (Isaiah 41:10,13)
Whoever you are out there going through a painful time, I am praying for you. I know from experience God is true to His word. He will never leave you. He will help you. He will give you what you need to get through each day as they come. Don't get ahead of yourself. Concentrate only on today. A year from now as you look back on this time in your life, you will see His hand clearly even if it is too close to see right now. He will be faithful. You CAN get through it. Last year at this time I was beginning a journey that would end in losing my father in a matter of months. Though it was hard, I would never trade those memories. In fact, some days I force myself to remember them. They are proof of an Almighty God who orchestrates our lives so much better than we could do ourselves. I am no more special to God than you are. He will do the same for you. Let Him. Let Him show you His strength, His love, His peace. Open yourself up to His comfort and promises. You will never regret it. Much love to you, my friend. May God be near.