My neighbor came downstairs the other day to give me a sympathy card and tell me he was sorry for my loss, but glad I was back. I said thanks and mentioned I remembered his mom had died suddenly two summers ago. I think that threw him off, because he was a little at a loss for words and clarity (not a good sign if it predicts my own emotional state in two years), but he did say that what he learned was that after a loss like this, the lost loved one isn't gone. They're still with you. He's here. With me. I nodded and said thanks.
But I can't seem to get there, even though I can feel that "there" just on the other side of my "here."
Is this the "denial" stage? I'm all good on the shock (that's not one of the official stages I'm supposed to check off my to-do list, is it?) and the anger. Hoo boy am I all set on the anger stage (I have some to spare if you need help in that department). I forget what the other stupid stages supposably are (I warned you about the anger), but I guess my acceptance and denial are at war, because I know he's gone and believe that is anything but gone forever from my life, but I cannot get myself to imagine my dad in heaven, or feel or accept his spiritual presence (is that what it is? or just memory?!) with me. I've experienced the newness of life after death before - had no trouble with my grandmother, or Rich Mullins for that matter (I talked to him for about a month after he was gone, and sincerely believe it was me experiencing-accepting the truth of his other-full-new life).
People keep saying this about my dad, in beyond the cliché ways -- more specific than that he's "in a better place." He's worshiping, enjoying himself, someone said to my mom the other day "if there's a library in heaven, I know Max is there and having a ball," which was sweet and probably true. Too bad it just made me (inexplicably) want to punch her. He's having so many questions answered, someone said, learning so much. Which is not only probably true, but is actually something my dad himself talked about looking forward to.
But I'm stuck. Not really emotionally constipated, as my sister-in-law seems to have suggested she is (I cry quite nicely at least twice a day, thank you very much), but stuck in this spot, unable to imagine or see (which for me is how I accept or "believe") his presence in heaven, much less his presence, which my neighbor promised me, with me. If I wanted his presence with me I'd just pick up the phone and call him like I was in the habit of doing every other day.
Except I know I can't do that. I just don't fully know (or have the capacity to feel or see) that there is something other than absence.
And now I have to put on my stupid makeup to go to a stupid meeting on campus so I'm all done with the emotions for today.
I've tried asking God to tell Dad something.
It's OK to feel empty, to sit in the wasteland, to feel the void.
L - not that you'll be back to check comments, but - I've tried that a little.
A - I'm sure you're right, for a season anyway. I'm not very good at it.
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