At a family occasion today, at my Dad’s house. Is it right to call it that still? He’s not there. But that’s what I want to call it, so I will. I sat in the garden imagining what he’d have been doing… On the bouncy castle with Belle and Barns… lying on the trampoline while Edith walked around and climbed on him… doing the BBQ… holding a cold beer and chatting to my sister’s friends… offering people drinks. I was left feeling perplexed, confused and just… pain. How is he not here? How can I accept this reality?
C.S. Lewis puts it so well…
“I will turn to her as often as possible in gladness. I will even salute her with a laugh. The less I mourn her the nearer I seem to her.
An admirable programme. Unfortunately it can’t be carried out. Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again; the mad words, the bitter resentment, the fluttering in the stomach, the nightmare unreality, the wallowed-in tears. For in grief nothing ‘stays put’. One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles or dare I hope I am on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down it? How often – will it be for always? – how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, ‘I never realised my loss till this moment’? The same leg is cut off time after time. The first plunge of the knife into the flesh is felt again and again.” A Grief Observed.
After a couple of weeks of feeling numb, this week, I have had many moments of feeling so aware of this great void in my life. I want to ask Dad about parenting questions I’ve had. I want to laugh with him. I want him to see how Joe’s managed to tile our kitchen having never done it before. I want him to hear the things that Barnaby is saying and share our joys (and sorrows!) with Barns learning to use the toilet. I want him to play with Edith and see how she has big pouty lips when she says NO! My kids have changed so much already in ways that he’ll never know about. They are not the same kids he knew. Similar, but different. I can’t put into words just how much that tears me apart.
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7