On April 6th, 2009 I was changed physically and spiritually forever.
I'll never forget the early morning phone call from my sister saying that my daddy had passed away just an hour before. I was so mad that I wasn't there. How dare she be the one who got to be with him at the end of his life when I was the one who took care of him all those years and had spent weeks at the hospital with him! James and I hurriedly got dressed and rushed to the hospital to see my daddy one last time.
My sister was waiting in the parking lot to tell me good bye. I was full of emotions! Why had she left my daddy alone in the room? I couldn't get in that room fast enough knowing he was alone. What if he needed something? Who was going to take care of him? I knew he was dead but that didn't matter, someone needed to be there to take care of him? James nor I was prepared for my reaction when I walked into that room. In all 32 years of my life on this earth I had been strong enough to handle whatever was thrown my way. I was a survivor of many hurts and abandonment's and I totally controlled every aspect of my life including my feelings and this would be no different, or so I thought.
When I walked into my daddy's hospital room and saw him lying on the bed lifeless, I completely lost all control of my thoughts, my feelings, and any dignity I had. All I remember was crying uncontrollably and mumbling statements that had the word daddy in them. I would have never ever touched a dead body before that day but I knew that once I left that room, it was final, I would never touch him again so I just wanted to keep touching his forehead and not ever stop. I don't even remember leaving out of the hospital but I'm sure James guided me out of there gracefully.(I hope he did anyway)
We had my daddy cremated and I missed him so much I even considered sleeping with his ashes next to me. To be totally honest the only reason I probably didn't was because James would have never allowed it. I can't recall ever feeling "not in control" before but I was definitely not in control of anything my body was feeling or doing. I sobbed uncontrollably for days and nights. I'd wake up and just cry. I didn't even know a person could cry uncontrollably! It seemed like every fifteen minutes I would cry and all I could say was, "I just miss my daddy". Sometimes, in a quick glance, I thought I would see him. I really thought I was going crazy and that I needed to be locked up.
I'm certain my daddy knew Jesus, I knew he was in heaven, I knew he could walk again and that he was completely whole but he was whole and in heaven without me! How was I suppose to take care of him if he was in heaven? I knew God was quite capable of taking care of my daddy but God couldn't take care of my daddy the way I could take care of him because I was the one he loved and needed for all these years. My husband and I sacrificed many days to be with him and take care of him. How dare God take him from me! There was no physical person to be mad at for taking my daddy and since God is the Creator of life and death He was the only one I could be angry with. All I wanted was my daddy to be here with me. Nothing else in the world mattered to me during that time.
I'm so grateful to my spiritual family that surrounded me and took care of everything, from cleaning my house, to preparation of food, or just being with me so I wasn't alone while James was at work. I thought I would be glad to go back to work but if I had to do it all over again I would have taken off another two or three weeks. That first day back at work was stressful. In ministry our job is people. It's what I love to do. That's the reason we exist is to reach lost and hurting people. Well let me just say, I didn't feel like reaching the lost and hurting because I was the one lost and hurting. Let me make it very clear to anyone reading this, no one asked me or made feel like I had to go back to work. I have great pastor's and great leaders and I could have very well taken the time off with no questions asked. I chose to go back to work because I thought I needed to stay busy to make the pain go away. After all, I had to get back "in control" of the pain I was feeling. WRONG! The pain was still there and it was not going away anytime soon. Honestly, I thought the pain would never go away.
One of the sweet women of our church had a miscarriage around the same time as my daddy's death. A few weeks later we were both talking bout our recent experience dealing with our loss and I remember telling her, " I want to embrace this time and learn from it, I don't want to go through this dark time without it having a purpose", and I told God (who I happened to still be mad at), "God make this purposeful, don't let me walk through this dark, empty time and waste all this pain that I had to go through. It has to have a purpose". God definitely didn't allow it to be wasted and He has been dealing with me for some time now to write about my grieving period. The tears flow now as I write this, which is part of the reason I hesitated to start writing about it but just recently my daddy's brother passed away and I had the opportunity to be with my cousin as she went through the first few days after his death. I was able to share with her some of my experience and some of the things she could expect to go through. So my hope is that as I become very transparent and write about the things I went through during the months following my daddy's death that it will help other's understand they are not crazy, it's normal to feel all the emotions they will feel, not to be ashamed of those feelings and to talk with people who are safe and that you can trust about what you are feeling.
There were so many different feelings, emotions and physical transitions that I went through that I think I will break them up so they are not all dealt with at once. If only one person comes across this and it helps them know they are not crazy, then praise God because I would never want someone to think they are going through this experience alone.