name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day : The First Time I Met Grief


8.13.2018

The First Time I Met Grief

The first time I met grief, I was 21 years old. Sitting in my college apartment - using dial-up to search for jobs now that the real world was headed my way. After hours of searching, I got off my computer, and my phone was ringing.

Did you hear? Are you okay?

I hadn’t heard til that moment. And being okay was suddenly a thing of the past. With frantic cries and calls to loved ones and friends, I needed someone with me since I was alone when I received the news. My friend rushed over as we waited for my dad to make his way into town.



My first action was to have my friend turn his pictures around that were on my bulletin board. The guilt came rushing in so much that I couldn’t bear to see his face knowing we had left things undone at the time of his death. My dad arrives, and he just lets me cry - comforts me as only a dad can. 

We wait for answers and plans and check on others. He then drives me home so I can be close to loved ones and his family if they need me. All I remember as I get to my childhood home is hugging my mom on the garage floor. I vividly remember retreating to a dark bedroom where I lay for hours trying to make sense of this loss - this guilt that is so powerful I can hardly breathe.

The funeral comes, and there a few things I remember - his mom, her asking me to sit with the family, praying the Serenity prayer huddled with his aunts, and my dad not leaving my side despite the heat. I didn't know where I fit in at this time as our history together was left without any closure. I retreated back to that dark room and just needed to be left alone.

My parents thought otherwise as they sought out a counselor for me. His parents reached out and wanted me to visit them when life returned to its new normal. Still, I felt guilt. It was physically heavy, and it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. For someone who likes order and plans, I couldn't handle that I did not have control. I couldn't deal with the fact that so much was left unsaid and undone. No one was mad at me, but none of that mattered. 

This August, we approach his 40th birthday. The hard part is his birthday is also the day we lost him. I won't be alone in grieving him - his beautiful mom needs prayers. His fun-loving dad does too. He has nieces and nephews and cousins who adored him, and I adore each of them. This day cannot be about me though it's extremely painful to revisit. 

The first time I met grief, the wind was knocked from me. The second and third time I met it, the same. My breath was gone, and my stages with each rotate in different directions - never in the same pattern as the other losses. I often think this why I am tired and anxious - actually, I know it is. With all the thoughts and trying to keep up with grief stages, you can get just plain exhausted. I will be tired thinking of the loss, but his family will be more so. And for that, I ask for prayers.

I've never written about this loss. There is still much I'd like to keep to myself because of the situation, but I want prayers for him and his family. And I don't want that first time I met grief to be the only thing we think of when we think of him. He LOVED his family. He LOVED classic country music; he was the best two-stepper in Texas and beyond. He was a die-hard Aggie and wore his white Aggie cap daily. He was simple. He was fun. He was an amazing artist. 

The first time I met grief is very hard to recall. I picture my dad with me each step of the way, physically and now as my heavenly protector. Grief never, ever ends. With anniversaries, birthdays, or the days you just feel their absence, it's always there. I hope he's okay with me sharing more about him. I think he would be okay with it, but it's one of the questions I won't get to ask. 

When I think of this time of loss, I know God had plans for me, for him, and for his family and friends. We have all done well in our lives though we wish we could see how well he would've done, too. None of us will wake up one day and not grieve - especially not this month. We grieve for him and with each other. 

2 comments :

  1. I'll never forget the first time you ever emailed me and it was because we had similar stories, all stemming from grief. Isn't it crazy how had we not experienced that pain, we probably wouldn't have the JOY of our friendship? I love you! Praying for peace in the grief storm.

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  2. Oh so beautifully written. Grief is funny, it hurts so much, but through grief you also get to remember the best parts of life with someone and then that hurts even more. It’s a whirlwind of emotions and it never gets easy. That being said, grief is just another thing that reminds you you are alive and allows you the gift of appreciating and cherishing the tiniest of moments in life. It allows you to not take ONE SINGLE moment for granted because you just want to soak it all in. Grief hurts, but what we learned from our grief is kind of beautiful.

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