The Lessons We Leave Behind…

Where do I even start?

That is the question I’ve been asking myself in the months since my sudden disappearance in the blogging world. But I’m back! I am alive and well, but exhausted for many different reasons!

First off for many of you probably wondering, I’m still pregnant, I’m 23 weeks pregnant with a little boy! Our little James will be here before we know it. I will be following up with more entries about the pregnancy, nursery, and everything else accompanying his arrival, but today is going to be about the very first man in my life.

On June 17th my dad passed away from his battle with brain cancer.

Writing has always been an outlet for me, especially when I’m not sure how to express my emotions elsewhere. I haven’t wanted to confront the emotions and tears that will most likely accompany my first post, but here goes…

It’s been a little over 3 months since I last saw my dad alive. I have suffered other loss such as miscarriage, or the death of a distant family member, but never the death of a parent.  There is nothing to prepare you, no amount of time, no words, no advice, nothing. It doesn’t matter that we knew for 3.5 years that one day he would die from this cancer. I am thankful we had those precious years to fully live and appreciate each moment together, but those 3.5 years seem like the blink of an eye. Although there were wonderful memories, those years were also spent with a cloud over every day. A cloud that wouldn’t let you forget that the cancer was there, growing, and one day it would be his last day.

Time heals most wounds, and although it hasn’t been long, this is a wound I know time won’t heal. I know it’ll evolve and life will keep moving, but there’s no time frame for grief. I never knew the roller coaster of a journey this would be, sure you expect it will be but until you’re thrown into it you have no idea how it really is. People who have experienced it understand and will tell you, but everyone is different and I have learned I’m not on an uphill journey. I’m in a range of peaks and valleys that will last for quite some time.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my dad. Some days I think of him and manage a chuckle or a laugh brought on by something I know he would’ve done or said, and other days managing is all I can do to get through the day. Some days I want to look at pictures because I miss his face, and other days I avoid pictures because I just can’t handle it. I’ve been through many trials and learned over the course of them that God gives us grace through these unimaginable realities we find ourselves living. Years ago when I heard someone had lost a parent, my only thought just like many of you would have been “I can’t even imagine and I hope I never have to. How do people get through it?” Even with as much hurt and pain there has been as a result of different circumstances in my life, I still put my hope in The Lord. Why? Because it’s only been through these trying, impossible, and heart wrenching experiences that I’ve seen His grace the most. Yes, my dad suffered a terrible battle to brain cancer that took every part of him physically and mentally before he even left this world. I would be lying if I said there weren’t days I don’t wonder why God didn’t ease his pain sooner, or made him suffer less after all He has the power to do all things. But, I see God’s grace through the grace he gave my dad each day even through the pain. My dad chose Christ and chose to glorify him with every breath. He accepted his circumstances. He might not have liked them, but he accepted them as God’s plan for his life and used it as an opportunity to display his faith to others. There is always the question of why? Why did he have to have cancer? Why couldn’t it be removed? Why did he have to suffer so much? Why was there nothing anyone could do? Why him? Why now? Why God, why? I’m no psychologist but I think as humans it’s a natural response to ask why. We always want an answer for everything so we can make sense of it all especially when it feels like we are spinning out of control. But, in difficult circumstances like this do we really want to know why? Is there ANY answer that follows that WHY going to be enough? NO! Never. The only answer we have is that God used my dad to glorify Him, and through his life and his suffering, my dad still chose Him.

My dad will never know the lesson he left with me. The lesson of what it is to glorify him through all circumstances we are given. I’ve read books on this subject, I’ve done bible studies of learning to live through your circumstances. But what it really took was watching how my dad chose to live the last years and months of his life. I never heard my dad complain once about his cancer. On hard days he never complained that it was hard to get out of bed, or that he was in pain or uncomfortable even when you could clearly see that he was. He was truly grateful for each morning that God gave him just one more day with us. When I asked my dad if he ever questioned God and why this was happening to him, he simply responded without any hesitation “No I don’t, and you don’t need to either.” I have a long way to go before I’m anything like Christ. Half the time I complain that I have to get out of bed in the morning (I have never been a morning person, my husband will happily attest to that). I need to work on waking up each day and in those few (or many) moments it takes me to wake up, I need to thank God for one more day he’s given me. I need to realized how blessed I am to wake up healthy, with a husband who gives me strength, with a growing baby boy in my belly, free of disease or cancer. If my dad could do it without complaining, there’s no reason I shouldn’t try my hardest.

So even though some days and moments feel impossible to wrap my mind around the fact that my dad is gone from this physical world, I can make it through those moments because I know it will be okay. That is exactly what I tell myself in the heart palpitating, sobbing, can’t catch my breath moments when everything feels like too much to handle. As long as I say “I’ll be okay, I know it’ll be okay, everything is going to be okay”, I can do it. Obviously it’s by God’s grace and love that I’m able to make it through, but I can hear Him saying “Do not fear” (Lamentations 3:57). I know I have nothing to fear because one day I will see Him. One day I will see the 3 babies I never got to hold, and I will also get to see my dad again. What a wonderful day it will be. Until then I will do my best to glorify him in all circumstances.

It feels good to be back.

Lauren

2 thoughts on “The Lessons We Leave Behind…

  1. I wasn’t sure if I would be seeing a post again on here but I am so glad I checked! I used to check every day but slowly stopped as the weeks went on without a post. I am SO HAPPY to see you writing again even if it’s not what you want to be writing about. I know that your Dad leaving this world is the absolute worst thing that has ever happened to you and has affected you tremendously. I think of your Dad so often and remember how TOUGH that man was! I can’t even count the times I watched him quietly suffer, but laugh and smile every time I got to sit and talk with him. I’ll never forget the day I was with him at your house while you and your Mom were doing some shopping and I sat with him and just talked with him about going to God. He said he wasn’t scared at all. His faith and bravery was something I can’t describe and I miss him very much. I have watched YOU be so strong and such a fighter and I can’t help but know that your Dad would be so proud of you and will forever watch over you and baby James. Love you so much. Keep up with the writing, it’s good for you!!

    Liked by 1 person

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