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Thursday, 13 December 2012 20:08

On Finding Joy

“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

This year has been emotionally volatile for me and my family.  From February when we were elated to discover we were expecting another baby, to the tragedy and sorrow of my Dad's final months, to the awe and excitement of welcoming another child into our family to the exasperation that comes with adapting to a new normal. 

My pattern of grief this year has intrigued me. I remember the shock and disbelief of getting the phone call that woke me at 10 on that Monday morning, and not fully comprehending what it meant that he was 'gone'.  The weeks leading up to this were filled with sleepless nights waiting at his bedside, listening to his breathing and finding myself hoping each time it altered even slightly that it would finally be over.  I cried that day, after seeing him lying there, but as I drove home from the care home that afternoon I felt only relief.  My thoughts became filled with all of the things in my life that I had been neglecting, like my husband and daughter, and was looking forward to returning to - for life to become 'normal' again.

Part of me considered that I should be feeling sadness, not gladness, but I felt in the reality of that moment - alive. My Dad was dead, but I wasn't. I was still healthy and strong, and able to enjoy life, and suddenly I felt free again to do just that. I felt as though my Dad would have been proud of me for feeling this way. I had told him days before he died that I was happy, and that if he needed to leave, I would be ok.  I didn't cry again until after I read his tribute at his funeral that Friday night. I was numb. After that, the pain came and went and I experienced gut wrenching agony unlike anything I have ever felt before.  Nights when I would cry in the shower until I could hardly breathe - I cried alone, because as time went by I felt more and more embarrassed by my tears.  So much time had gone by, so it shouldn't still hurt, should it?

Between the tears, and times of pain, I have also experienced great joy. Despite the pain, I have so much to enjoy and be thankful for and I think my Dad would be glad for that.

This Christmas will be wonderful as Clara is old enough to understand much of what we do, and as our first Christmas as a family of four, but it will also be bittersweet as it will be the first Christmas I spend without my Dad.  It is hard for me to understand that my Dad will not be an integral part of my daughters' lives, when he was so much more than 'Dad' to me - he was all I had.

Read 1418 times Last modified on Thursday, 13 December 2012 12:02

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