Grief: Fighting for Air

Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim. -Vicki Harrison

Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. -Lamentations 3:32 (NLT)

 

Grief is odd.

Sometimes it’s like fighting for air.

I can’t breathe. I can’t think. All I can do is ugly cry and sleep.

Other times, it’s like a dark cloud has covered my brain, and I can’t think about anything beyond, “my dad is dying of cancer and can no longer receive treatment”.

 

And then there’s the daily doses of happiness, normalcy, and distractions that bring me back to a place of realizing that I can come up for air again.

…my son telling me, “Mommy, clap!” while we listen to the radio in the car.

…or when he turns upside down in the shopping cart and yells, “Hello!” to people in the store. Then, infectiously laughs when others notice he’s upside down.

…going to a painting party where no one knows I’ve just found out that my dad can no longer receive treatment for his cancer. We talk, we laugh, we paint, and life seems normal again.

…my husband making me laugh as he helps with dinner.

…teaching my students in the morning with happy smiles and overly expressive gestures which can’t help but put me in a better mood.

I can breathe.

 

At 32 weeks pregnant, I didn’t expect to be flying anywhere, but now I will be.

Visiting my parents in Florida.

Flying Alone.

A large belly hanging in front of me, reminding me of the joy that will soon come.

A little girl. Kicking. Moving. Full of life. She doesn’t let me forget she’s there.

 

I can’t help but think, will my dad even meet her?

It’s gotten to that point, where his health has declined, the cancer has spread, and we really don’t know how much longer he has. Only God knows.

 

I will leave my husband and son behind as I go to help my mom and spend precious time with my dad.

We hope and pray that my dad has more time on this earth before he goes to his heavenly home.

 

It hurts.

But, there’s nowhere to turn but up. I have to look up.

I have to remind myself to come up for air, breathe, put one foot in front of the other. Complete one task at a time.

Look for the happy in the day.

Be thankful for the little things. Every little thing.

Cry.

Smile.

Laugh.

And then sometimes, cry again.

But in all of it- Seek God.

He knows. He cares. And He weeps.

 

I’m thankful that I get this time. This time to go and see my dad. To make more memories. To joke and laugh.

I love that my dad has the ability to make others laugh.

I’m happy, knowing my dad is happy that he’s not in the cold of the Midwest. He made it to Florida over two weeks ago while still in decent health.

Only God could have planned for that.

Only He could have orchestrated for my dad’s health to deteriorate a day after arriving in the place where he wants to be.

I’m thankful that my mom is right there with him each day in the hospital. Sitting, waiting, listening, communicating with our family and friends.

 

In a sea of unanswered questions that seem to unfold and unravel each new day, I’m thankful that God is right there with us in the midst of this. I’m thankful that I have seen and continue to see an outpouring of love from family, friends, and strangers as they come alongside my parents in this time.

And I’m eternally grateful for my dad’s ability to always stay positive and encouraging. I’ve seen his faith grow and flourish during this time of tribulation and hardship.

God is always at work, even on the darkest days.

Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash

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