Last time I blogged I talked about facing demons. I promised to finish at a later date. However I decided to leave that for a later time. It’s not really my story to tell. I can say this much: It is time. Time for that which I have been desperately longing for.
Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being “all right” or “OK” with what has happened. This is not the case. Most people don’t ever feel OK or all right about the loss of a loved one. This stage is about accepting the reality that our loved one is physically gone and recognizing that this new reality is the permanent reality. We will never like this reality or make it OK, but eventually we accept it. We learn to live with it. It is the new norm with which we must learn to live. We must try to live now in a world where our loved one is missing. In resisting this new norm, at first many people want to maintain life as it was before a loved one died. In time, through bits and pieces of acceptance, however, we see that we cannot maintain the past intact. It has been forever changed and we must readjust. We must learn to reorganize roles, re-assign them to others or take them on ourselves.
Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones. As we begin to live again and enjoy our life, we often feel that in doing so, we are betraying our loved one. We can never replace what has been lost, but we can make new connections, new meaningful relationships, new inter-dependencies. Instead of denying our feelings, we listen to our needs; we move, we change, we grow, we evolve. We may start to reach out to others and become involved in their lives. We invest in our friendships and in our relationship with ourselves. We begin to live again, but we cannot do so until we have given grief its time.
While in Idaho, my Aunt and I reconciled. We are both strong-willed, opinionated women who love my father. So when we disagree on what is the proper way to show that, it caused issues. I reached a place where I was not willing to fight any longer. I was not willing to be silent in order to keep a relationship. I left it in God’s hands.
And He restored in a way that I couldn’t have orchestrated. And in doing so, he set me free. Free to finally accept that my father is gone. Free to accept that he will not be back. Free to accept that the past is the past and I cannot change the course of the past. Free to allow forgiveness to work deeply bringing softness and peace once again to my soul.
Acceptance. Such a bittersweet place.
Tomorrow is Father’s Day. It’s been 3 years since his arrest. Our lives have changed so much. 3 years ago we were on a journey, much like the one we are now. My heart was shattered. In shock I wrote these words on June 13, 2010…
Pray…pray for me. Pray for my entire family. All of us. We need God’s strength and we need love from those who are around us. NOTHING can take back what we have lost this week. NOTHING will ever erase the hurt and pain that one person caused us…the one person who is NOT supposed to hurt you.
I spent much of that summer numb. Still in disbelief that my family was forever altered. Still blissfully unaware of the revelations yet to come. Desperately hoping that this was some crazy nightmare the result of some weird alien illness that had taken over my father.
As I’ve worked through the journey from watching him be sentenced to life in prison to driving by the prison last month, I’ve learned a lot about myself.
- I’ve learned that I am strong when I need to be.
- I’ve learned that I desperately love Jesus Christ.
- I’ve learned that I deeply longed for my father to be the person I wanted him to be, instead of accepting him for who he was.
- I’ve learned that despite how mean I can be, my family will always love me.
- I’ve learned that when it comes down to it, I’m going to be ok.
Acceptance doesn’t erase the pain from the last three years. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be days of pain…days when I want to scream…days when I just want to close my eyes. It means that I’m ok with what is. I can’t change it. And that’s ok.
So on this eve of Father’s Day, I’m thankful to have been given this amazing gift.