2016 Kicked My Dadgum Butt

2016 Kicked My Dadgum Butt

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2016 was one for the books, y’all…and that ain’t in a good way.  In February, my uncle Hasselle died.  On Sunday, July 17, my dear friend Tiffany lost her battle with triple negative breast cancer.  And then, just three days later, on July 20, my Daddy suddenly and tragically died from a massive heart attack and strokes.  With each death, I experienced terrible sadness and heartache; but with my Daddy’s death, I was introduced to GRIEF.

I looked up a couple of different definitions of grief.  Here are a couple:

-deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death

-deep mental anguish

-a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed

While those definitions do give a pretty good example of what grief entails, I’m going to tell you what my personal experience with grief has been like and continues to be.

Grief entered my body around 2:00 am July 20, the minute the doctor came out of my Daddy’s room with tears streaming down his face and said, “I’m so sorry.  We did everything we could to save him for you.  And he fought so hard for y’all.”  The grief caused me to scream and holler so loudly over and over that I jacked up my vocal chords.  Grief literally caused me to fall to the floor, to gag uncontrollably, to wail in agony, to slam my hands on the ground, and to be stifled with a migraine.  Grief made me feel like my eyeballs would fall right out of my head from the burning of the tears.  It felt like the doctor reached inside me, grabbed my heart, stomped on it, pile-drived it, wrung it out with his hands, and set it on fire.  I have never, in all of my life, felt that emotion before.

Grief is not a word to be used lightly.  It should not be confused with sadness or heartache…it’s SO much more intense than that.  It racks your entire body.  Every fiber of your being is filled with it.  I think a good word picture would be this:  grief is like a toddler…for you parents out there, you’ll get this.  Like a toddler, grief always lets you know it’s there.  It’s with you in the kitchen, while you’re trying to get dinner ready.  It’s with you in the car, screaming at the top of its lungs.  It pulls on your shirt, reminding you of its presence.  It’s knocking on the bathroom door, saying your name over and over, as you attempt to use the bathroom.   Grief is like the toddler throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store while you try to ignore it.  It’s ALWAYS.THERE.  There is no place to go to escape it.  It has become part of me, just like any other organ in my body, ready to be stirred at any given moment, and in any given place.

So when talking about grief, here are a couple of questions:  Where was God in the midst of my tragedy?  Where is He in my grief?

I have to be completely honest here.  I’m a child of God – I’m a Christian.  And those things are easy to say when things are going good, aren’t they?  But when tragedy strikes…when grief enters, WHAT THEN?  Listen, when I walked into that hospital the night they called and told us to come over, I entered into prayer the minute the doctor told us he was trying to “bring him back”.  I was begging God to save my Daddy, literally begging Him.  I’ve never prayed for anything so hard in my entire 42 years.  I just wanted one more hug, one more “I love you”, one more “thank you”, one more giggle or smile.  I wanted a little more time, AT LEAST a little.  And I honestly thought I was going to get it.  I had screamed at Daddy from the hall (they wouldn’t let us in the room) and told him that I had made it from Tulsa…I was there with him.  “I’m HERE DADDY!” I screamed at him to fight.  “You HAVE to fight Daddy!  FIGHT!  FIGHT!”  I screamed at him to hold on.  “PLEASE DON’T GO DADDY!!!!” And all the while, I was begging God, desperately pleading.  So I really thought it would work out.  I was picturing myself standing over Daddy’s hospital bed and saying, “Sh*t Daddy!!!  You scared me!”  But it didn’t end that way.

I didn’t talk to God for a while…a long while.  I just couldn’t.  I wish I could say that I went straight to Him, but I didn’t.  I wish I could say that I knew He was with me, that I felt Him, but I didn’t.  And I’ll tell you why…I felt like He let me down.  I rarely ask Him for anything, honestly.  And so this one time, when I was begging him for just a little more time, why couldn’t He have given me that?  I was so disappointed.  When I was at church for the first couple of months after Daddy died, I couldn’t even open my mouth to sing His praises.  It was hypocritical of me.  I didn’t feel like praising Him one bit.  I wasn’t MAD at God…I just didn’t have anything to say to Him.  But here’s what I’ve come to realize through this process of my disappointment in Him.  It’s like as a parent when I have to tell my child ‘no’ to a request of theirs.  They may see it as unfair, or just flat out mean, but they don’t see it through my eyes or from my perspective.  They don’t know the whole story, just like I don’t know God’s whole plan.  I also know that as a parent, when my kids are disappointed or let down, I don’t turn my back on them.  I understand that they have limited knowledge and a different perspective; therefore, I still love them the same, even though they feel that I’ve let them down.  My love for them is unconditional – and I know that God understands my disappointment and loves me regardless.

So, this is where I am now…living a different life without my Daddy, but knowing that it’s still gonna be a great life.  Daddy’s life and our relationship is worth the grief; in fact, it’s because of the amazing man that he was that I have this grief.  With intense love comes intense grief, and I would much rather have that than to have nothing to grieve.  God broke the mold with my Daddy.  He was the very best.  And although this grief will be with me for years and years to come, so many wonderful, beautiful, amazing memories flood me even more than the grief now.  I can finally lift my head above the water and take a breath…and see the beautiful life ahead of me.  And I know that Daddy will be watching, smiling and giggling with pure joy.

Here’s to 2017.

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Comments (35)

  1. Katie

    Beautifully written, and the metaphors are on point. Love you, Friend.

  2. Leigh Barrett

    very profound, positive ❤❤❤❤❤

  3. Margie McCain

    Melissa, babe, that is so heart wrenching! Brings it all back so vividly! Don’t know how I could ever forget you standing in the hallway screaming to tell Daddy that you were there! Oh, my goodness!!! ❤❤❤

  4. Lesley Dunston Obert

    Melissa I have been through this kind of grief with my Daddy almost 20 years ago. I still think of him and miss him everyday. It will get easier. Thinking of you and your family.

  5. Melanie Fowler

    I so understand your grief. I, too lost my Daddy to a stroke. I was with him when he died. It was the most bittersweet moment of my life. I now compartmentalize time into “when Daddy was here” and “after he was gone”. It’s the most anguishing thing, grief. It’s hard to put into words, but you did. Thank you for that.

  6. Bob

    This is awesome!!!

  7. B. Wray

    Love the analogy of grief being like a toddler-always there and unpredictably acting out. You nailed it.

  8. Deborah Baab

    YOU!!! You have been thru Hell and back….you are such a beautiful soul…and, I have learned so much from you this past year…from funny to down right tear jerking moments….Thank you so much for putting yourself out there for all of us to not only enjoy, but to learn from. This is going to be a great adventure for you and the rest of us! I’m looking forward to 2017 from only your perspective! <3

  9. Meredith

    So beautifully written! Your honesty, vulnerability and transparency are just a few of the many reasons I love you. Here’s to a brand spankin’ new year, sweet friend!

  10. Jenny baker

    Yes. This is good stuff sweet girl!!!

  11. Cherrie Trevathan

    Great post! 2016 kicked my butt also, the difference for me is I had time to prepare – if you ever can be. I wasn’t mad or disappointed, my dad was in a lot of pain and loosing everything that made him… well him. Many painful weeks leading up to his departure to heaven. Your description of grief and toddler is spot on, thank you for that. God bless you sister in Christ, I know I’m going to love this webpage!

  12. Paige

    Beautifully said, Melis. I’ve never written a blog or put my own grief over losing my daddy into words, but this…this seems to describe what I experienced to a tee! I was much younger than you of course during my grief, 20 years younger to be exact. I’m pretty sure I was at a much more impressionable age, not nearly the more developed and understanding Christian I am today. I thank God often that I did, however, have enough sense about myself to only be disappointed in Him for a while and not turn from Him forever. It’s been so tough knowing such a great friend is experiencing this same pain that I once had and still struggle with at times. It’s hard knowing there’s nothing I can do for you or Mel or even for Marge. I’m so happy to read this though and know you are finally “coming up for air”! I love you, sweet Melissa. This is a beautiful blog! Keep on keeping on! 💜

  13. Peggy Smith

    My daughter, Amy, shared this with me and I loved reading it. Even though it has been over 30 years since I lost my sweet daddy, your words brought back so many feelings…lost, hurting and yes anger at God….why. I needed him. The point I loved most was your statement regarding grief. If we hadn’t experienced such a great love, we wouldn’t have experienced this grief. How lucky we were. So many never know it. ❤

  14. Suzy

    I love this Melis and you!

  15. Lori Kroh

    I love the way you write…it’s a deep conversation over coffee. There is a famous Jewish saying…”after you lose someone you love it takes a 1000 days before you breathe again”… I am not Jewish. Yet, I love the idea of allowing someone the time to be in anguish…you are a strong & beauty full person!!!!
    I’m gonna love me this blog! ❤️ Just Be you. God knows you Best and is very acquainted with sorrows…and He is the lifter of your head…

  16. Jenn

    What a blessing this will be to others.

  17. Shanna

    Oh sweet friend, I cry every time you tell this story! It takes me back to my Momma. I know we have compared the similarities. Thank you for being so raw and real! Your testimony will help others, I promise! Your Daddy would be so proud of you! I love you!!!! xoxo

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