When Life Leads to Heartbreak
The past 6 months, beginning on January 26th, life has been busy for me. Remember when I told you about how life has taken on a new normal?
Following that blog post, my father continued to recover from the struggles of that illness and the major surgery that he experienced. He was in the hospital, well 4 different hospitals, for a total of 91 days, including in hospital med-rehab. He was finally able to go home with the assistance of home health and the help of his four children.
My siblings and I set up a rotating schedule that allowed one of us to be with mom and dad in their home round the clock. For about 6 weeks the system we put in place, while not perfect, was working and we were all experiencing what the new normal would feel like.
For 5 months, my mom did not leave my dad’s side except to eat and sleep. She was diligent as his wife. They have had that kind of love for 58 1/2 years. It is those kinds of love that we all can learn from, the kind of love that doesn’t give up or give in and seeks the highest good of the other, rather than one’s own selfish desires.
The 6 weeks at home were not easy for my dad. He struggled with the reality that his body simply wasn’t as strong as it had been before his illness. For me, and my siblings, it was hard to watch him struggle. My mom too, recognized that he simply wasn’t the same person, both physically and emotionally.
Eventually, the struggle took a toll on his body. My dad developed a secondary infection and had to return to the hospital for treatment. What became evident quickly was just how sick he was. I’m shaking as I write this because it’s the hardest post I’ve ever written and while I know I don’t have to write it, I need to write it. Three days after my father went back into the hospital it became clear that he would not survive the secondary infection.
Surrounded by his family he quoted a final passage from the book of First John. Within a very short time after that, he passed away.
These past 6 months have been the hardest of my life. Looking ahead, I imagine the next 6 months will continue to be hard and perhaps for much longer than that. This is my new, new normal of facing life in this world knowing my dad has moved from this one to the home of the soul. My siblings and I continue our work in supporting my mom as she too has her own health struggles along with now facing grief. We also must go through the business of death. In that, I mean dealing with the various paperwork that accompanies someone’s passing, social security, insurance, wills, probate, etc. It’s a busy kind of heartbreak that I think prolongs the actual heartbreak that I know will overwhelm those of us who loved him the most.
When we Love, Eventually we find Grief
Life is precious. When one loves another it brings joy and blessing beyond measure. That was my dad. He loved people. He poured out love on people, especially on his wife and family. But with the love there comes and inevitable end, eventually all who love will face grief. Having loved and been loved with such passion, makes the grief all the stronger.
His children were so precious to him and he loved us with a passion. So there is now a hole in my life where loving fatherly passion was poured into my heart through the words, work and kindness my dad showed to me for 42 years. It will never be filled by another and it was and is unique to the relationship that he shared solely with me. My siblings each had their own relationship with him as did my mom.
Because my dad loved much I hurt much. My grief is strong and there really are no words that can express the sorrow that I feel. Yet, I also know a peace that passes understanding because I know that my dad was faithful and obedient to God through Christ Jesus our Lord. With that knowledge comes the hope that God has fulfilled his promise that if we are faithful unto death, he will give us a crown of righteousness, Revelation 2:10.
Resources for the Heart of Grief
Of course I know that I am not the only person going through a time of grief right now. One of the things that has struck me now during this time as well as at other times of grief is that life goes on. Life continues for most people while a family feels that their life has stopped for a time. Grief feels overwhelming and all consuming and is a process, a natural process that must be faced in order to move forward. With that knowledge, coupled with my understanding that I’m not alone, perhaps some of you reading this are also going through a time of grief, I wanted to share with you some resources which may bring help to the grieving heart.
- The Journey of the Grieving Heart
- Grief Coaching
- Growing through Grief, by Bill Flatt
- Everyday Comfort, by Randy Becton
15 Scriptures of Comfort for the Heart of Grief
Of course there is no other comfort that can comfort like the word of God. It is a salve to the soul. Which is why I want to share with you scriptures to bring comfort to the heart. Of course the first one I am going to share with you is the one that was on my dad’s lips as he left this world. To me it has come to mean a promise for himself, a comfort to those he loved, and a reminder and warning to those he was most worried about, those who are not Christians.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7, NKJV.
- Psalm 139:13-18
- Psalm 18:6
- Psalm 23
- Psalm 27:1
- Psalm 30:11-12
- Psalm 34:17
- Psalm 46:1-3
- Psalm 55:16-17
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
- Isaiah 61:1-3
- John 14
- Romans 8:16-17
- II Corinthians 1:3-4
- Hebrews 12:1
My heart breaks. My soul longs for a time to be reunited with him. But in the end, what I know is that his passing is right. The peace my dad is experiencing is good. God’s love and faithfulness are pure and with that I am at peace.