I know. I'm there.
There are days it's overwhelming.
Life as you know it changes. People you love are gone. Something you hoped for is not attainable. Everything in your world changes colors. Things may dim.
Grieving takes time for such losses.
And the passage of time takes you further away from your loved one or dream.
You want to hang on to every good memory of them. You want to remember the last time they said, "I love you." Or held you. Or smiled at you.
I know I do.
But I also know, unequivocally, that if my mom or my father-in-law could say one last thing to me, they would want me keep praising God and learn to enjoy life again.
That's how they both lived up to the end.
Mom sat and read her Bible. She loved the Psalms. They were her comfort. She highlighted entire passages. In the midst of the pain of spinal fractures, broken bones, and constant headaches, she loved on Daddy and all of us, her children. She pointed us to God. There was no bitterness or anger in her about her suffering. Just sheer delight when we came to visit or call her. The grace with which she lived and died was humbling to watch. It was because her anchor was in God. That He is really in charge. And that suffering doesn't mean He doesn't love us.
My father-in-law also grew to be more grateful as his life neared the end. He know it was coming. He was under hospice care. One of the hospice workers said he was the happiest dying man she'd ever met.....Anytime I visited or talked with him, he recounted how blessed his life had been. He'd go over the blessings God had given him. And he was so grateful he wasn't suffering. But then he'd immediately start praying for my mom. He started calling her to check on her. We didn't know she'd leave the earth two weeks before him. He cared about my mom's pain. That meant the world to me.
So how in the world do I find joy in the midst of losing my mom and precious father-in-law?
Well, some days it's a little easier and some are harder.
My daughter married 2 weeks after my father-in-law's death and 4 weeks after my mom's. Leading up to the wedding was hard. My daughter and I talked about how to handle their missing presence at the wedding. That was difficult.
So we changed a couple of things so they could be honored, but not be overly sad for both sides of the family who had each suffered a great loss.
|Photos compliments of Edie Meslon|
I felt truly happy.
I wish that feeling could be that strong every day. But I know that's not realistic. I'm still grieving.
But I'm learning to enjoy little things again.
A good movie. Going out with my husband. Fun with my kids. Their loving and silly antics toward each other. The company of caring friends.
I know Mom and Pap Pap would want me to enjoy life again.
So when a good moment or two enters my life, I just relish it. No guilt.
And no guilt when the sadness washes over me.
Little things that remind me of Mom or Pap Pap crop up at the weirdest times. I may tear up or cry, but that 's okay. They both meant so much to me. I'm missing them. And that's okay, too.
I can honestly say that God has shown me much love during this difficult time. He promises to never leave or forsake us. Sometimes, we may not believe that. But it's true. I may not feel like He's there. But He is none-the-less.
I'm thankful for the moments of joy I find. Thankful for such a wonderful Mom and loving father-in-law. Thankful for all the years they blessed my life.
And thankful to understand the lesson they were teaching me before they left.
That God is good. And that He is in control.
I pray that you will see God's hand at work in your life today