Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Second Wave

I was warned about this - the return of grief that would come on with a vengeance about 6 months after Dad's death. I suppose, when I look back, it didn't surprise me. There have been warning signs the last few weeks - a bout with influenza and a subsequent virus attacking a suppressed immune system, I've been wearing my long hair up in a makeshift bun more days than not because I don't have the energy to anything else, the return of a dread of mornings that make it nearly impossible to get out of bed. Today, it seems like every song I hear is somehow related to Dad or memories of our shared times together. The oppressive weight of apathy has once again found its home in the core of my body and spirit. I just want to hide away from the world. The tears well up far too easily.

After all this time, I still find myself preparing to call him to share exciting news or the day's challenges. I still find myself stunned by the reality that he is gone. I catch myself going through the motions much more than I'd like. I feel like there's a rock attached to my chest. Grief, in a word, sucks.

In some ways, the grief is harder this time. The initial fog of the early days has lifted and now the weight of Dad's death is more evident, more stark, more real. It certainly doesn't help that family tied up with Dad's trust continues to disappoint, sadden and frustrate me as they make decision one could only understand as selfish greed. There really is no other feasible explanation. My heart breaks on Dad's behalf as I stand by while they squander and misappropriate his money and the business around which he defined himself for many years. The situation makes me sick to my stomach.

I look around the Cute Gray House that he was supposed to come help fix up this Spring. At times, I catch myself throwing my grief-related anger toward the house that Dad will never see and never grace with his creative ideas. I'll never hear him comment as he walks through the house amazed by all there is to do to it. I'll never share a paintbrush or power tool with him as he explains procedural things I really don't care about so long as the house is fixed up.

When Dad was around, there were whole categories (e.g., wills, business plans, house repairs, cars) that I didn't even have to think or know about. I could just call him and he'd swell with fatherly pride at having been asked to share his wisdom and insights. Sometimes, it used to drive me nuts because, in his book, there was usually only one right way to do something. Now, I miss it desperately.

Easter was an interesting experience this year. Quite frankly, I didn't feel much like proclaiming life as my blackened heart continued to sink deeper and deeper into pain and sadness. It was difficult to put together a sermon and the Holy Week services looked similar to the ones of 2007. I didn't have energy to do otherwise. Once again, though, the Holy Spirit wove into the experience and I was surprised to hear words come out of my mouth that I myself needed to hear: words of "We are so ridden with grief that we forget our calling," and "your fear is not gone but it no longer holds you back...you can go on despite the suffering, you can take the next step because you are not alone." I was astonished to receive a lovely letter from a visitor who was here at Easter. The sermon, she said, was meaningful and inspirational. She even called the service "joyful" - have I become that proficient of an actress?

This second wave of grief seems threatening, ready to swallow me up once again and pull me down in its undertow. I know with certainty that lifeguards (aka friends, colleagues) are all around and, for that, I'm thankful. They may not take the pain away but they certainly keep the undertow from winning.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

You know you're an ENFP when...

You know you're an ENFP when...

you're laying in bed and your children's choir director calls you at 7:15...ummmm 8:15... to alert you to the fact that you forgot to change your clocks and to remind you that service starts in 15 minutes.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Come Monday, It'll Be Alright

I love Mondays. I especially love Mondays when
Jimmy Buffett tickets go on sale. The ice and snow are layered upon the pavement. The cool winter thermometer dips below 20 degrees and Ticketmaster.com and Ebay.com (unfortunately...) provide a light of hope at the end of the dark winter tunnel. Buffett? Jimmy Buffett?! As in, Margaritaville, paradise, pirates and parrots?! Could it be?! Yet another coming of the great Margarita god? Yes, my children, it's true. The savior of summer is on his way. The earth will breathe again. The sun will shine again. And I'll be right there watching it happen...on 3 different occasions. God is indeed good.