I’ve missed you and your ways that pull me deep into an obsessive state of habitual organization and compulsive exploration for all things new.
I thought long and hard of how I would start this first post of 2018. Would it be a reflection of last year, or a mere collection of goals; you know, the imperative mission that some how falls through the cracks of heart, mind and soul as the year progresses through seasons of change both environmentally…. and emotionally….?
So I resolved to a simple “Dear January.” You see, I wanted to acknowledge with every morsel that I could, this excitement that I have stirring at so much new to the normal of our lives. With the months of grief behind me it’s so satisfying to return to the details I know that were so proudly founded by my dad: Organizer. Planner. Executor.
I’ve spent the last six days fastened to the novelty of a chance to use his hope and ambition that he so strongly instilled in me to move forward. It’s what he would have wanted.
and so here we are (p.s. my mom is shrinking… pps. no she’s not… I grew three inches in 2017. just kidding.)
I *almost* purposefully didn’t send out Christmas cards this year. The thought of smiling in a family photo with out my dad just seemed wrong, lonely. I delayed the annual investment in portraits because it felt uncomfortable and distressing to ask my mom to stand there… companionless. But, the brilliant, Pinteresting, Proverbs 31-seeking wife made a commitment at the beginning of our marriage to take anniversary photos, every year. Wellll…. Trey got a haircut from “not his usual lady” on anniversary number two and suddenly the delaying felt more acceptable… Fast forward a month and we seemed a little more ready for this
commitment kind of healing.
I often tell my clients that my most favorite part of my job (and also the meaning behind the name) is that I get to “behold” the love within each family.
We were not only ready for this kind of healing, we needed this healing.
This kind of healing, vital.
and so Dear January…
Thank you for the bountiful ways you are helping us through:
The hardest part in grieving my dad is doing it with my mom. Some might think it’d be the easiest because we have each other, but it’s not. I feel I have to stay strong for her and she feels she has to stay strong for me. So in reality, we both fighting this internal battle alone. In some ways, it’s harder to endure this with her than it was taking care of him. I can’t fix it; he’s not coming back.
I spoke at my dad’s memorial service sharing these words, my mind and heart still circling the truth without any further musings:
My home doesn’t feel like home without my dad in it. We live in this beautiful new house and gift from God but he’s missing. It’s like a piece of me doesn’t know what home is anymore. And for my mom, it’s like a she took her last breath with him on October 24.
There is this void that I could never in a million years explain to you, and you might not understand it unless you too have lost a parent. I “lost” my dad. I can’t find my hero.
Everyone tells me that it doesn’t get any easier; but it does get better with time; the sting a little less painful. And they’re right; my awareness has changed as this hazy fog of grief continues to dissipate one day at a time.. sometimes one hour at a time. I call that healing.
There’s this peace that comes in knowing he’s at peace. Like I don’t have to keep searching for him because I know he’s okay. His legacy is everywhere here– and this IS our home, because we can feel his love everywhere we turn.
And mom, I’ll never be able to comprehend the loss of a spouse… at least not in the next 60 years I pray, but we’re healing in these moments together of love and good cheer.
We kept saying through the journey of his care that we needed to take care of ourselves. And we did, kind of. But dear January, you’re giving us some very deliberate rehab.
My dad died on a Tuesday night. We were at church on Sunday morning. We went to this quaint little church right down the road from us–one that my Dad called his (even though he never was well enough to attend) because he knew he wanted to…and so fittingly, we thought we better take/go with Mom so that we could find some sort of presence or word from the Lord in the immediate intensity of his death. I’m so glad we felt called to go there with her and so thankful that I have a husband who cares to help her find her way.
Trey and I had been before but we miss our church home… like a lot; so much so that we’re going tomorrow, because, family and home. But we’re here, and it’s January. We need to build our community here now.
Mom has found her place. And we need to find ours. We’re beholding God’s peace in every place of worship we’ve encountered, but goodness why are we missing the feeling of home?
I won’t lie that I hated the idea of going to church after our first Sunday without my dad. We were singing hymns and his harmonizing was missing. The fog too heavy…too thick.
We got into it one Sunday morning… me yelling something like, “Did you ever stop to think that maybe it’s too painful for me to go right now? Can I just be mad at God for a little while?!!”
Because clearly it’s God’s fault that my dad is dead and that we still haven’t found a church home and that my body is broken and that my mind is unhealthy… clearly.
We’ve tried so many churches…and can I just say that having worked at a church adds an entirely different perspective when church hunting?!? But we’re beholding every message from Him as whispers to my heart as He helps us heal.
We even went to a “Next Steps” dinner of a church plant.. literally RIGHT up the road from our home. Is a church plant something we’re ready to step into? I have no idea. Are we trusting in an effort for spiritual healing? Absolutely.
But January, and opportunity knocking.
Our hearts have been broken by each negative pregnancy test (and there have been a lot). We have spent so much money on ovulation kits and infertility meds that I joke maybe we should have bought stock in all things fertility. The toll that it has taken on us watching more and more of our friends announce their pregnancies is no joke. It’s this constant fight between happiness and envy that leaves me speechless. Literally. I have friends I haven’t spoken to in months because I just don’t understand; guess I should add relational healing here too…
My body is broken. And yes, the depression and lack of care for myself over the last year has had a huge impact. Literally and quite physically, huge. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but Paleo and running, and it’s day 6 and 5 pounds down and many more miles to go– we’re starting to heal.
Trey says the hardest part of infertility is watching my longing.. Then I’m thrown right back into a “God, why” moment pleading to make him a daddy…. but he already is.
In our innermost longing for a child to love, God has been pointing us to adoption; through the churches we’ve visited and even the people we have met. And so, I don’t know if 2018 is going to dissolve this longing in the fruition of our greatest hopes for our family, but some how the decision to move forward in this process is bringing us so much peace in our journey of healing. And your response to my last post and this announcement was a HUGE part of this. I didn’t know adoption announcements are as heavily acknowledged as pregnancy announcements– seriously. The healing has already started!
Our family will grow– of this we are so sure!
Last year, I chose “me” and that was good– because in so many ways, I felt like I came alive last year as the woman God intended for me to be, caring, compassionate, patient, strong (all traits that I never thought I possessed until so many told me otherwise after watching me with my dad.) I needed that foundation for 2018, so here we go.
My word for 2018 is healing. There is so much encompassing this word, and most definitely not contained in these three realms I’ve just listed… There’s so much room for growth. So much to learn in the process.
We mocked this saying so much in grad school… “Trust the process” But at the same time, I know how well it works. So we’re going to… and in the midst, heal.
ps. I have found a beautiful friend who has gifted me so much more than I thought ever possible with these beautiful memories of our new now.. Thank you Kelly Dierberger, eternally, thank you. Guys, I’m sure you’ll see more of her in the future (if you haven’t already– my dad’s last birthday and the BYP rebrand.) She’s so gifted and so talented, I just can’t sing enough praises!!