Last night as I embarked on my 20 minute drive to the Warm Place I had an aching burn in my stomach, a frog in my throat and a feeling of hopelessness. I've described it before as feeling like I'm a shell of who I used to be. This week that has really come true.
Group started just as it always does, feet flat on the floor, eyes closed, deep breathing... During my time of "not thinking" this time I couldn't help but think. The past two times I have gone to this field, its these beautiful rolling hills covered in waist high amber colored grass, the wind making beautiful patterns on them as the sun shines down from behind me. Alone. Smiling. Breathing. This time I just couldn't make it there. I closed my eyes and saw pain. I saw despair, I saw a hole in my soul and a broken heart. As I opened my eyes one of the instructors looked right at me as if he knew exactly what I just saw. He asked me if I was okay, what I was thinking, asked if I had brought something in with me to group tonight. All I could muster out was a nod, as my eyes flooded with tears. We then went around the group and said the normal introduction mumbo jumbo, "Hi, my name is Nicki, I lost my dad, his name was Galen." Each person took their turn and then we started our activity for the night.
They put in an episode of a sitcom I had never seen before. It's about this family of 5, a mom, dad, son and two daughters. It started off with the two girls arguing over something trivial and the son coming down for breakfast. The phone rings and the mom answers. She sits down. Stops breathing. The next scene is them sitting together as a family crying.... their dad had died of a heart attack while grabbing some items at the grocery store. As the episode went on each character went through a different type of emotion. They had to put his clothes away, the wife had to look at an empty bed and decide whether or not she wanted to sleep in it, the kids played the what if, if only, game.... I had to hold my breath and look away countless times throughout the show. I tore my lip to pieces biting at it so hard until it bled. I couldn't look around the room, I couldn't make eye contact with anyone. I was reliving every single second of the day and days after Dad's death.
The episode ended and again the male instructor looked straight at me. "Nicki? What are you thinking? What about this episode has made you cry? What is the reason for your tears?" I just looked at him through the blur of burning tears. No words would form. I took a breath, made a quick glance around a room of eyes looking right into my soul. I started to talk, nothing came out but an awkward, uncontrollable sob. I put my hands up and apologized. Shook my head, I couldn't talk. I ended up mustering out something about the fact that the video just made me relive everything all over again and that it was simply too much to handle. I zoned out after they moved on from me and group was over in a flash. I cried the entire way home. I cried when I got home. It seems that I was wrong about crying so much that you just don't have anymore tears.
One particular moment that stands out to me today is when the mother character was asked, what can I do for you, is there anything I can do? She replied helplessly with, can you bring him back? I cannot tell you how many times someone has asked me that question with good intentions. What do you need? I need my Dad.... I know its not fair to respond in that manner, it makes the person asking uncomfortable and it only hurts me more, but it is true. Everything else around you becomes trivial... The only thing that you can think about is getting that person back.
I have a lot of unfinished conversations with my dad. I have a lot of things that I need to ask him. Things that I want to tell him, things he'd be so proud of. And every time I grab my phone I see his name on my list... I haven't called the number, afraid that someone else will answer and my dad's relation to that number will have been wiped away.
All of this to say.... I've been told by many people that there is no RIGHT way to grieve. I will have great progress for a week, maybe two and then all of a sudden, out of absolutely nowhere, will fall down the hill and smack my face on the brick wall at the bottom. -- Okay, I'm being a little dramatic... But when you're feeling down dramatic is the only thing you know.
So today I took solace in this verse. All I can do is continue to pray that the Lord will give me strength and bring me comfort, that in the end when I finally get to Heaven, this pain and sorrow will melt away. I am looking forward to that day, that day where I get to meet my maker and see my daddy again.
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.