I went to the cardiologist today. I have this thing where my heart will skip a beat and then beats really fast to catch up and get back on rhythm. It’s no big deal and actually pretty common. But the last time I went, I told them that we have no family history of heart disease or heart attacks; so, after Daddy died my primary care doctor wanted me to go back for a checkup and tell them about my Daddy so they could get that information in the chart.
When the woman asked me what the reason was for my visit, I started to tell them about my Daddy dying…but my throat got really tight and started throbbing (I messed up a vocal chord when I was screaming to my Daddy to fight for his life and to tell him that I had made it from Tulsa). Tears filled my eyes and then spilled over, running down my face and chin, all the way to my neck. It’s been 33 weeks since my Daddy died (still so weird to say that) and I just want to share something that I’ve learned about grief.
Basically, I feel like there is a myth out there concerning grief. The myth is that you will heal.
“In time, you’ll heal.”
“Give your heart some time to heal.”
I don’t know how a heart can heal when it’s broken because of the loss of someone who has literally been in your life for 42 years. A broken bone heals because they PUT IT BACK TOGETHER – you have surgery to fix it and make it like new. That’s the problem with grief and losing someone so special…there is NOTHING that can ever fix it. It’s broken…plain and simple. The only thing that could heal my grief would be if Daddy were here. My life is forever changed. So I’ve been waiting on healing…and waiting to see if I’m starting to feel any healing, but I’m not. What I’ve learned is that instead of healing, what I have to do is learn to live without him. Things won’t just ‘get back to normal’ because there is no more normal for me. My ‘normal’ is altered. So, instead of expecting healing, I have to teach myself how to live my life without Daddy. The time of day where I would call to talk to Daddy, maybe I just cry instead. Or maybe I listen to one of his favorite songs. Or maybe I tell the kids a story about Bear or ask them to share a story of their own about him. I used to talk to Daddy at least once a day…and all of a sudden, that was jerked out from underneath me. I landed flat on my face and I’m really slow getting up. But that’s ok with me. Even if I’m slow, I’m trying. And now every time I think of him, even though tears may be streaming down my face, I smile. I smile just picturing him. I smile imagining his giggle. I smile when I’m using his cast iron skillet to cook my pork chops. He always called to see “what are y’all takin’ for your supper?”
For some reason, realizing that this ‘healing’ won’t be coming has eliminated some anxiety. I’ve accepted that my life will be different from here on out, and I’m ok with that because my time here and every single second with my Daddy was so wonderful and special, that it’s worth the grief and new ‘normal’. I know that some will say that I just need more time to heal. But I don’t think that’s true either. Yes, time will help distance myself from the tragedy I experienced, but time will never change my grief over the fact that he’s not here anymore. Yes, in time, the grief won’t be as strong and raw as it still is (maybe years down the line); BUT, my heart will never heal from this…it will be forever missing a piece.
I actually had someone tell me that they were worried about me a while back. Trust me, there’s nothing to worry about. I’m not depressed. I haven’t spent a single day in bed. I haven’t missed a single duty as a mom or wife. I smile and laugh a ton and I love my life. It’s only been 33 weeks. He was with me for 42 years…and I talked to him every single day. It’s going to take a long time. I’m giving myself that time…and I’m giving myself the time to grieve. I am feeling the grief and letting it settle in. I’m not sweeping it under the rug. Daddy’s life and our relationship was worth me experiencing this grief, swimming in the tears, and feeling such heartache deep down in my soul. I think that’s an indicator to how amazing Daddy was…his life is worth grieving, no matter how long that may take. So please, if you know someone who is grieving a serious loss, please don’t tell them to give themselves time to heal. Don’t ask them when they think their life will get back to normal. Their life routine may get back to normal, but their life will never be…it’s going to be a new normal. And I know mine is going to be an amazing new normal, but still not ‘normal’.
My Daddy’s life is worth missing…and I pray that my children feel the same about mine when I’m gone. I think we all want to live a life that matters and that’s worth missing, don’t we?