Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Message Meant For Me

Dad - the tall, handsome one in the back row - with his family.

Grief is a funny thing. It has a tendency to blindside you when you least expect it. I really thought I'd be doing better by now. It's been over 2 months since my dad's death and I feel like I'm doing worse now than I was in the first weeks after he died. At the time, I was overcome by so many tender mercies that I felt so blessed! But now all I can think of is how much I miss him and how it's SO UNFAIR that he was taken from us. I have spent way too much time feeling sorry for myself.

Just the other day, something completely ironic and funny happened and I just knew my dad would get a kick out of it. But I couldn't tell him. That left me feeling empty and sad for the rest of the day.

My dad lost his mom when he was 21 and his dad at 32. I don't remember him ever crying over his losses or wondering what to do with himself. He was ever the optimist. He spoke matter-of-factly about losing his parents and I grew up understanding that death was just a normal part of life. I had my dad way longer than he had either of his parents, but I still feel like I've been cheated.

Fortunately, there are still tender mercies that confirm to me that Heavenly Father is aware of me and what I'm going through. For example, today's message on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word felt like it was just for me. Maybe my case isn't as hopeless as it seems.

The Absence of Someone We Love
From Music and the Spoken Word

One of life’s universal and unavoidable experiences is to lose someone we love. All who have lived and loved will lose cherished family and friends to death. Whether early or late, suddenly or gradually, dramatically or peacefully, death comes for everyone. And when it comes for a loved one, our whole world can change in an instant, and we may wonder how we can ever go on.

Death can be so difficult to cope with and so difficult to understand. Moving forward can seem almost impossible at first. But the only way to avoid such heartbreak would be to remove from life all loving relationships—so we do move forward, and little by little, as we attend to life’s daily demands, as we eat and work and sleep again, we begin to gain some understanding, even peace. We begin to gain strength.

And yet we never quite get back to normal; things won’t ever be just as they were—nor should they be. “Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love,” wrote the great theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first,” he acknowledged, “but at the same time it is a great consolation, for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us . . . and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.”1

It’s this delicate balance between holding on and letting go that gives life some of its bitter sweetness. Because we know heartache and pain, we also know love and joy. And it just so happens that often the more our hearts are broken with pain, the more open they tend to be, and thus more able to receive and give love. Such love never dies. It goes on and on until the perfect day.2

1. Letter to Renate and Eberhard Bethge, Dec. 24, 1943, in Letters and Papers from Prison, ed. Eberhard Bethge (1971), np.
2. See Doctrine and Covenants 50:24.


Lori said...

I understand how you feel. But don't think they can't hear you on the other side. I have a strong feeling they are more aware of us than we realize.


missy said...

Thanks, Lori! That means a lot. :)

Kristin and Jay said...

Hugs to you. So hard losing anyone, but great Fathers, are just never replaced.

Peggy said...

I can definitely empathize.
I feel like I haven't had time to really grieve yet as I'm so completely caught up in and busy with working full time, dealing with the sewer flood and house renovation, going through all of both of our "stuff" and making agonizing decisions on everything in dejunking and downsizing life... all by myself.

I love Lori's comment above though, but I'm wondering if they can read our thoughts or if we have to talk out loud when we want to communicate with them. Ask President Stowell for me!!!