Something shifted recently, and the way best way to describe it is acceptance. I told someone this week that If I let myself sit in the whys, the anger- that I would never come out of it. They responded with the thought that I sat in those emotions and questions for an entire year and just didn’t realize I was there.
I think, I tried to put grief in a formula. And follow the model that was set before me, but there really isn’t one. You will mourn, you won’t understand, your life will be completely torn apart and than one day you choose to rebuild. I watched people’s lives unravel in grief. Life had pushed them down and they chose to stay there. I couldn’t let that happen. So I made the choice to make life after loss beautiful. And as I conquered all the whys and what ifs, it really looked (and at times felt) like I jumped right ahead to acceptance. Acceptance with continually deep sadness. That was far from true. I dug into my grief. I sat with it alone in empty cold rooms. I tugged on it and held onto it. But hope was standing right beside me. Grief looked different for me because I invited Joy in very early on. It didn’t take away any of the sadness, but I feel if left me much less bitter.
My father has always been one who is not wavered by life’s circumstances. So when my husband passed, he stood there with all the support he had to give. He didn’t know if he was doing a good job or what his newly pregnant widowed daughter needed, but he pressed through. He knew I needed help. He knew that his words needed to be gentle because my world was upside down. And he knew he needed to remind me that life will keep moving. It probably seemed as if I was trying to convince my father that I had died to. But he looked me square and reminded me of the two boys that need me, that I was only 24, that life will keep moving. I don’t think I believed him at the time, but I decided to allow that idea to sit with me, that life could be beautiful still. My dad has always been one to go against the grain. And when the whole world was telling me it was okay to cry, to pause life, to sit in perpetual sadness. He said cry, be angry, but get back up and give life another shot. My dad isn’t a man for pretty words. He said it in his Fatherly way, in his way that made me say why can’t you pity me? And I could see in him the hurt. The pain for me, for the boys. But he loved me enough to say, get back up.
Before I was a mother I never fully understood some of these things. That love isn’t always the easy way. As a kid I would get so upset my parents wouldn’t let me just run the show. I am so thankful I have been blessed with two very optimistic and wise parents. I started this post about how I have come to a place of acceptance and as I wrote it, I realized who seeded that a year ago. I have been able to conquer this year because my father told me when my world was in shambles, it will be ok. He didn’t let me permanently pause life, he didn’t let me stay stuck in my grief. He asked what he could do to help and reminded me of the truth that grief was fogging.
I held that truth in my heart this entire year. I call it light. It sat right beside grief. And while grief was too tremendous and would try to take over at times. That light remained steady. And he was right, wether I or grief wanted to admit it over the last year, life keeps moving. There will be painful days but life can still be beautiful.
What perfect timing to thank my dad for seeding that in me. My journey could have been much tougher and a lot less optimistic without it. Fareed always told me how smart he thought me father was, and he was right. I’m so thankful for hard conversations from the people who taught me optimism in the first place. I’m thankful for much needed tough love. I’m thankful for that little light. It can never take the pain of losing Fareed away, but it taught me to live again regardless.
Love you Dad!
Happy Early Father’s Day!