Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The After.

It has been two weeks and one day since my dad died.

Even typing that sentence was surreal. Ugghhh, I miss him so much.

There's been a sort of quiet around here lately that I wasn't really expecting. While my dad was sick, people were constantly coming and going, bringing meals, checking in, and visiting. Hospice and medical equipment people were in and out all day and night. It even feels like we were moving faster - in and out, in and out, in and out of Dad's bedroom. All of this has tapered off. It's not a bad thing but rather a necessary thing, I'd imagine. The quiet allows us to begin to process the loss and heal. What I've found is that this processing and healing is mostly an inner journey. As social beings, we naturally want someone else to be able to make it better, but no one really can. Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't be where I am without the support of my family and friends, but what I'm saying is that to really heal, you have to be ready to look inward and listen to your self. When that occurs is probably different for everyone, but I'm pretty certain that this quiet lull is meant to introduce us to healing...whether we like it or not. It makes me curious about death in other cultures and their customs around grieving after a loved one dies. Angus tells me that in Chinese culture there is an extended time of prayer, and eventually one of the brothers in the family will see the deceased person's soul move on to the afterlife. This brother reports back to the family that their loved one is OK and at peace.

My biggest question over the past two weeks has been, "Is Dad OK?" After watching him suffer a tremendous amount, I found myself longing to know for certain that he is somewhere where his suffering no longer matters to him...where it's no longer something that pains him...where cancer is unheard of. In talking about all of this with my mom, sister, Angus and Mike, we decided that if there is a way for spirits to visit the living or deliver a message, my dad would be first in line. It's interesting.... Amidst this quiet, I am growing more and more confident that he is OK and that he is with us all of the time. I see Calvin reach up toward "nothing" like he does when he wants to be held, and I just know my dad is there. I feel his presence on my walks or when I look at my son asleep in his crib. There have been other signs too, and maybe I'm just looking for them, but I'd like to think it's my dad saying, "I'm alright, guys." I know I haven't reached the point of acceptance yet - hell, I'm not even sure if I've been able to start grieving yet - and although I'd much rather him be alive, the belief that he is OK is growing stronger within me with each passing day.

It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts. ~K.T. Jong

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