Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Living in the after....

Today is 3 weeks dad has passed away...

Technically, he passed away on a Wednesday - but when I think of when he passed away, I'll never forget it being a Tuesday morning getting the phone call from my brother & sitting in the hospital all day Tuesday... & it just happened that the day had moved on from one day to the next without us even being aware of it & then dad waiting until nearly sunrise before making that final leap into his eternal homecoming.  So when someone asks me when he passed away, I have said over & over the 15th & 16th... it makes sense to me.

Anyways, it still feels both like yesterday & forever ago ....

Every day is delivering a punch to the gut on reality though that dad really isn't coming back.

Funny how you can live through seeing someone take their last breath & go through a whole funeral process & STILL feel like they are going to call you on the phone, or you still wait for an email or text & always wait to hear the voice or the laugh again.... it really does feel like a punch to the gut. No other way to describe it.  Because every day, multiple times during the day, almost hourly, it takes the breath out of me & feels like an overwhelming weight on my body.

The after....

Or how I reference it, A.D.  - After Dad.
Which I see the irony here.
A.D. in Christian belief is the time after Christ rose from the dead....
I could probably write a whole blog post just on that irony & the emotions behind that.

I have seen so many of my friends have fathers pass away & my response has always been, "I'm so sorry - I can't even imagine"... & its so unbelievable true.  I could never have imagined how this feels. How this changes everything in your world. How empty a space can be.... I just never wanted to imagine it.

I always hear people say, its after everything slows down that is rough & I can attest to that.  When death happens, so many people surround to comfort. So thankful for each person who did just that - however it looked.  Reaching out with cards, messages, texts... & the people that came over & hugged & prayed with us, brought food, sat with us or even cleaned decks & houses & did laundry.  Every little thing mattered & every presence was felt.

& then people slowly get back to routine & their own life, as they should & as things just keep moving forward & we're left behind trying to figure out what our real life looks like.  How our forward seems so different than it did before May 15th.

People are asking me, How are you? How is your brother?  How are the twins?  & the one I hear at least a few times a day, How is your mom?

I can say we're all making it through.
My mom is obviously struggling. She's the one who, as we try to go on with our new lives & settle into new routines, her world is totally turned upside down.  She's feeling the empty space of my dad being next to her beyond what any one else could feel. & that's what happens with over 55 years of being together looks like.
Tony & Juli, the twins & Ricky & I are doing what we can to try & fill spaces for her.  We are trying to bring smiles to her face. Trying to make sure she's OK & making sure she's comfortable & has all she needs... but there's just some things we can't do for her like dad could. Even if she slept through a day & dad spent the day in the barn & they probably saw each other a few hours the entire day - they knew they were there for one another... & that's the hardest part for mom right now.

I can't speak for how my brother is doing. My brother is just a person who doesn't express a lot of his emotions anyways & I wouldnt want to attempt to put words in his mouth.  I know he's still feeling the loss of dad though in so many ways.  But men are just different how they handle grief & that's OK.   He's taken on so much responsibility & I worry for him. He has such a supportive wife & his girls love him so much,  but he still has that family & a home to take care of, & a hard job of his own & he's taken on doing so much with the horses & mom & dad's home... but he's not complained one time.  Not once.  He's figuring it all out & making it happen & getting things done.   He is definitely stepped up to fill dad's shoes.  I know my dad would just be so beyond proud of him, more than he ever had been, to see Tony in this role.

The twins?  They have their moments.  They are young & get to play their sports & keep busy with their friends & live the life of a 13 year old.  But I see it on their faces when they come to dad's house & feel so deeply the loss.  When I say that their Papaw was a part of their world, I cant even begin to explain how much that is true.  Dad, in his worst pain days with knees or hips, would find a way to get to whatever his girls were doing.  Nothing was better medicine in this world for him than those two..... They are just the sweetest souls - worrying so much about their Yaya & wanting to help her however they can.

Me?  Like I said - everything just still feels unreal. I have watched videos over & over again just to hear dad's voice & looked back at pictures & can remember the memories in every one of them. It's EXACTLY why I take pictures... why I get on everyone's nerves about always wanting to capture a moment.  It's times like this that they are PRICELESS.  I wish I took MORE video. MORE pictures.  There's just not enough.

Dad's birthday last July

In all this, I feel like I'm doing good at keeping a smile on my face - not being the person who you want to avoid because they're just going to depress you  (even if my blog seems like that right now - but its my outlet, so bear with me)  ... & then I feel guilty some times because I feel like everyone sees me with a smile on my face & then think, "Is she even upset about her dad passing away"... & then if someone sees me with a thoughtful or distant look in my face, I worry that they think, "oh, she's struggling" & then that just makes people feel uncomfortable & not know how to react around you....
that's the thing - there doesn't feel like a right/wrong way to do this. It just all feels messed up.
I guess it almost feels like everyone is judging how you grieve, if that makes sense.  Like everyone is watching to see if we're OK or not... & I know that's a good thing - but I guess it's just try & live up to a 'standard' of grieving? Is that such a thing? I think there may be....

& the ironic twist on that is I'm sort of judging everyone else for their happiness. How messed up is that? I told Ricky one day while I was scrolling through Instagram after seeing family get togethers & graduation parties & birthday parties & just smile after smile after smile.... I nearly threw my phone & I told Ricky, "HOW IS EVERYONE ENJOYING LIFE RIGHT NOW?"... its like I want everyone to feel my ache. I dont see how everyone is out celebrating fun things in the world right now.  Doesnt everyone know how empty the world is now?..... yeah - like I said - MESSED UP.

I keep thinking, I'll get back to things.  Try to get back in my routine at home & exercise after work (Forget that I'm still not healed up from my surgery) & just trying to settle back in all things usual. & even here on my blog, I think, I'll just do a  some of my regular blogging - like doing a 1-second video of my month or documenting my life in One Sentences at a time, or do a post on what I'm "Currently" doing ... & then I think, "none of it matters".... at least right now, it doesn't.   My view is just so different right now. My one sentence a day would be "Missing my dad" every day - my Currently would be "Thinking about my dad"... my 1-second videos would be of my dad's barn without my dad in it every day.
 ... I know life will settle back in, but for now... I just can't.  Simply, just can't.

It's crazy to look around & see so much of my dad in my life. & not just the idea of life - but my literal life. The things I see on a daily basis. My surroundings.   - The book shelves he made me in my library - the shelves he made for my Beauty & the Beast collection - the pictures of him on my walls - the little gadgets he'd buy me "just because " (why did you buy me a hand held can opener dad?) & of course, all the cards dad gave me.  I have a HUGE stack of cards that have come in the mail the past 2 weeks (THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SENT ME LOVE!!!!) & on top of them is the card my daddy brought me just one week before he left us, when he brought me my Hershey pie to make me feel better after my surgery.  It's the last card he brought me... & it was a funny one. He was so proud of it because it had a dog in a cone of shame trying to get through a doggie door & it said, "You'll make it through this" .... that's my dad.

I see him & still feel him everywhere....
I hope that never goes away...
but for now, it still just hurts & feels unreal.
& we're trying to get through each day.
One at a time.

Welcome to A.D.


  1. This is your little part of the world to write how you are feeling so you just continue to put for feelings out there if you want to. No one is judging. We all come to your blog because we certainly do care about you and your well being.

    Maybe someday you'll get back to your fun posts like Friday favorites and all that but until then we understand. Take care.

  2. Like you said in this blog post, "I can't even imagine" what you're going through right now. The loss of a parent is devastating. I know the return to routine makes the empty space where he was even more painful. Hang in there, friend.

  3. I wish I had some great words of wisdom for you, but I don't. Just keep expressing yourself and feeling what you feel and don't worry about what others are thinking. The ones that matter understand that it's something each one of us have to work through in our own way and in our own time. The day my dad passed was at the same time I was having a port put in to start chemo. So losing him was all wrapped up in the fuzz of cancer. Sometimes (like Sunday being their birthday and anniversary) I think it hits me harder now than then.

    So hang in there and do what you need to do for you. We all will be here and caring and praying for you and your family.

  4. No one is judging you.

    The worst thing about death is that life goes on. The very best thing is that life goes on.

    Tears are the opposite of laughter, and neither should be censored.

    I’m sorry I haven’t been following your blog, but I also know belated messages of condolence are a balm because it IS still fresh for you.

    It does get better, but it’s a life changer. Mom died in 91 and Dad in 2000, and I still think of questions for them, reach to call them, laugh about them, and cry for them.


  5. I cry every. single. time. I read your posts about your loving dad. I am so glad that you have your wonderful memories and love for writing to bring you peace and comfort. Still praying for you.

  6. I'm glad you have this blog as your outlet and close friends and family to share your heartache, grief, and moments of joy with. Don't you worry for one second how other perceive your grief! You are allowed to smile and you're allowed to be sad. Those who love you best will keep on loving you through it. And it's also perfectly normal and acceptable to be angry and sad and frustrated that the world keeps on turning while you're curled up under a blanket of sadness. Sometimes it just isn't fair :( My heart and prayers go out to you, friend <3

  7. Rebecca Jo, I am in near tears because you so eloquently expressed how you're feeling and how much your dad means to you. I love that he gave you such a funny card like that with the dog. It will be a great memory. And I felt the same way after my grandpa died. I wondered how are people going and doing things right now? Don't they know the world just stopped? I am sending you SO much love and hugs.

  8. Oh, I know exactly how you feel. That huge hole in your heart that feels like it will never heal. It will get smaller, but it won't go away. I've surrounded myself in my house with things from their house...things my dad made or things my mom used. My dad was so incredibly lonely after my mom passed away so I can just imagine how your mom is feeling. They would spend hours in the living room, sitting in their chairs across the room from each other watching tv and not talking, but they knew the other was there. I would go over to daddy's after work & many times we'd both fall asleep watching tv, but someone was there with him. I totally get it. It's only been 3 weeks. Take time to grieve. I'm still grieving for both of my parents after almost 4 years and just over 1 year. My mom has visited me several times in my dreams & my dad did for the first time just a few days ago. Listen for the cardinals. Your dad will let you know he's still in your heart and is praying for you. My heart is aching for you and your brother & your mom. Sending you the tightest of bear hugs.

  9. Grieving is a weird, horrible and necessary thing. Everyone does it differently and the right way for them because there is no universal way to grieve. Some days, everywhere you go and everything you see will remind you of your father and it will break your heart. And other days, everywhere you go and everything you see will remind you of your father and your heart will fill love and laughter. Eventually memories of your father will give you quiet peace and the satisfaction of loving and being deeply loved and the heart pains will lessen, although never completely go away. And I think that's right and proper. It's a sign of love. Much love to you my friend.

  10. Grieving is so hard. It hurts so much, and I don't know how to comfort but instead I just want to pray 2 Corinthians 1 for you. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

    4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

    5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

    6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

    I love you sweet sister. Please keep sharing all these precious precious beloved memories of your daddy. Glory is getting closer, and that day of reunion will be so so so sweet.

  11. (((HUGS))) It is going to take time and you will never forget your wonderful Dad. Don't let anyone rush you. Everyone grieves in different ways. Writing is a great way for you to express yourself and your feelings. I am holding you close in my heart and keeping you along with your family in my prayers.

  12. There really is no right or wrong way to grieve. I'm glad you have so much support in your life and you and your brother can help support your mom. I think everyone understands (or should understand) that you're all doing the best you can at this point to keep moving forward.

  13. Grief has no timeline and you should take whatever and however long you need to wrap your head and heart around this. We're here for you and thinking of you.

  14. I can't imagine your new normal. I'm so sorry your family is going through this kind of shocking grief. Thinking of you and praying for you very often.

  15. I am like you, and I always say something along the lines of "I cant imagine what you are going through or how it feels." I think grief looks different for everyone and you definitely shouldn't feel judged for how and how long you deal with it. I am sending you hugs and praying for you.

  16. Even those of us who HAVE gone through losing our dad have trouble imagining what you are going through. Each person and each relationship is so different. My dad was only 63 and he left us in 1989. I still miss him. You are moving through your grief as only you can. It's a journey. Just know that we love you and are here for you, as your friends and family are there for you. Keeping you in my daily prayers!!

  17. I am so sorry for your loss. You have a beautiful family and reading your posts, I can always feel the warmth and love coming through. There is no wrong way to experience your grief. I am glad you had such a wonderful dad and I hope you take all the time you need and continue to have support. Lots of hugs.

  18. Grief and mourning are SO hard, and the grief that comes from mourning someone you were close to that was taken unexpectedly (and much sooner than you expected) is, I think, the hardest kind of grief of all. It's been after those unexpected losses that I've had the hardest time going forward, and the grief definitely comes in waves. I lost my nephew unexpectedly over ten years ago, and I'm STILL forcefully struck with grief over it, even now, to the point where I cry my eyes out. We never stop missing those we love, even when they're gone from our presence. And it might be a long time before you feel like really smiling or laughing or feeling lighthearted (though you might act that way). However you grieve, it's all okay. A quote I've often though of by one of my church leaders is, "The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life." I'm sorry for the hard road you're being asked to travel on right now. Hugs and prayers to you and your family.

  19. Grief sucks. And death sucks. And moving forward to find a new normal sucks too.

    And I think grief is even harder because it can look so different even from one minute to the next. One minute things could be okay, but the next, you see something, hear something, smell something, and your mind is elsewhere.

    And the tough thing about all of that is, depending on what sort of minute it is, you may need something different from the people around you. Maybe you just want to cry, or laugh, or share a story, or talk about something totally unrelated.

    And when people say "Are you okay" they definitely mean well, but it's like am I okay, no. No I am not, and I won't ever be okay in the same way I was okay before. But yes, I did put on clothes and come to work today, so, I guess I am "okay" in the sense that you mean.

  20. It's been a little over a month since my father-in-law passed and although our circumstances are different, I can completely relate to so much of this. Everyone says it gets easier with time and maybe it does, but I haven't noticed it yet. It's so hard moving forward and not feeling guilty for it and I know what you mean with seeing others out there being happy and feeling a little envious. Grief is such a hard thing to deal with and especially in our society where talking about death is taboo. Just know that I am praying for you and I hope you find comfort in his memories and the good times. For now that's what I'm holding onto and it really helps.

  21. One day at a time is all you can really do. I think you're letting your emotions out in the ways you know how - through writing, through checking in with people, through leaning on Ricky and most of all by being there for your family. Sending you lots of love!

  22. This is just the hardest thing - it really is. And you've expressed so many of the same thoughts I had after my mom died. And it's even harder for you because when my mom died I was living in another state, so I didn't have the daily reminder (except that I did think of things to tell her every day). Obviously you will get through this, but it's not going to be easy. Plus grief is so random - even now, 13 years later, grief will bubble up & just knock me over out of the blue. But I like those reminders that I loved my mom very much.

  23. Oh Rebecca, my heart is breaking for you! So sorry I didn't see this until now. I totally understand everything that you are feeling. How you are grieving so deeply and after the dust settles everyone goes back to normal life and you are left feeling, but what is my normal? Hugs and many many prayers from afar my sweet friend.

  24. I just read about this on Leslie's blog. I'm SO, SO sorry, Rebecca. Sending tons of prayers and hugs your way.

  25. Take your time grieving. Take it hour by hour. Talk/blog about your dad and the grief absolutely as much as you need and want to. It’s part of the process and we all love you, support you, and are here for you.

  26. im so sorry for your loss. while the hurt and sorrow following the death of a loved one never truly goes away, each day gets less and less painful eventually. sending lots of hugs your way.


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