Nobody Told Me...
Nobody told me what it was like to plan a funeral.
Nobody told me how hard it would be to choose details for a funeral that I did not ask for.
Nobody told me how to deal with family and people who grieve differently than me.
Nobody told me about dealing with grief forever.
Nobody told me how I was supposed to go back to work like nothing had happened.
Nobody told me how hard it was to live without a loved one.
My dad taught me many things…but not how to live without him.
This grief thing man…it’s hard. It’s a new world to enter.
In the last few months, I have dealt with so many things that have really shocked me in grieving my dad. Some of them necessary, some unnecessary, and things I rather not even mention. Through it all, I do want to mention that I truly do not know how I would go through this without God. If there is anything I want to tell you first, it’s that I have never felt God so close to me than right now. In the Bible, it says that God is close to the broken hearted. That verse, those words, have helped me navigate missing my dad because God is the only one who truly knows how me and my family feel. If you have ever lost someone, God knows your pain too.
Before I tell you what I have learned in my grieving journey so far, I want to share with you a reflection. Where ever you are right now, I want you to think about how God wants you and how he fits perfectly into your life. He wants you so much that if you really think about how many times you could’ve died or how many times you needed him, he always showed up. For instance, I almost died at 7 years of age. In short, my appendix almost burst and that could’ve been it for me. In my adulthood, there has been COUNTLESS of times where I was driving and I could have been in a bad car accident. Most of those times have definitely been my fault though, because I would do my make up in the car. Lol Yeah, not a good idea. BUT He still showed up for me though! God has showed up for my family and my dad countless times so I always knew He was REAL. Sometimes, He shows up differently though. He takes away things or people that are most precious to us. In this case, He took my dad. To this day, I have not experienced anger and I don’t think I ever will. I just have peace in knowing that it was my Dad’s time. My dad completed his work on this earth and has left a legacy that has marked me forever. But I want to tell you that Heaven exists but so does Hell. Yeah… that escalated quickly. Lol I just feel a burden to tell you this because there has truly been an awakening in me to share the truth of God and who he truly is. It’s not religion, it’s a precious, one of a kind relationship that will change you from the inside and out. My dad had this relationship with the Lord and he is with Him now. To me, that makes me smile. Since I want to see my daddy again and be in heaven with him that means I need my relationship with God to be in order. We are all imperfect individuals but God’s grace covers me. At the end of the day though, it is up to me to seek him and do the work to bring people to God. If today was your last day on earth, do you know where you would go? I will leave that question for you to answer.
(I have left and came back to this blog so many times because it is hard. But my heart is to continue to be transparent and real. I want to name a few things that I have learned during this time.)
I remember calling my boss and asking her about my bereavement the night of my father’s passing. And let me tell you, no time is enough to go back to “real life”. Work is the last thing you want to do. You want to do literally nothing. You forget to eat. People are talking but not really saying anything. Your whole world stops. Nothing matters. I remember receiving an email through my job that included resources for losing a loved one and I remember immediately opening it. There was links to help with coping, etc. I skimmed through it, I read some parts, but nothing could bring my dad back.
Some of you may know about the stages of grief. And if you don’t they are the following:
1. Shock and denial.
3. Bargaining and guilt.
This is what I read in those resources. When I look back, I went from 1, 3, 4 in rotation. But even in all of those stages I also accepted our reality. Now here is what I was not ready for…my family reacting differently than me and at different times. No one really prepares you for that. No one really talks about it. Even though I have gone through most of the stages, I never experienced the anger stage. I was more hurt and angry at the way the people around me were behaving towards us. But guess what, it is still our choice on how we react and respond. My family has decided to always walk in love, show love, and be love because the legacy of my dad is far greater than anyone can taint.
As I continue on this journey and grieving my dad. I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned that I have done some serious self harm in ways that were unintentional. I have not taken care of my body. I stopped working out for awhile. I was not consuming the right foods for me. I had given up on my health “because what is the point”. I have stayed up late many times and just worked my business and worked on stuff for my teaching job. But even then, it still wasn’t enough for me. I finally feel like I am making baby steps to stop these self harming actions and truly taking control. I started working out recently and I am trying my best to eat good food for me.
I have also noticed that A LOT of the times I have kept myself busy to keep my mind occupied. I have coped with this loss but keeping my mind off of my dad no longer being here and yet at the same time that being the driving force of why I do what I do.
I will be honest though. MOST of the time, I truly have wanted to make it seem like I have it all together. But other times, it’s truly the strength that God has given me to even show up. So yes, I want to have it all together but I know that I don’t have to.
With all of these things being said, I don’t want to portray grief as something that is easy. In fact, my heart is to share how I have been navigating it. No one else but me. As I have said time and time again, it comes in waves. It is in no way easy. I have my moments and then I move forward. My faith in God has kept me grounded. But I will admit that there have been times where I want to hold myself together because I DO want to be strong. But I have given myself permission to have my days without feeling like I am not productive.
I had someone message me about how they were so touched by my second blog post. They said that they have never experienced loss before and that just like me their worst fear is losing someone close to them. (I had many moments prior to the loss of my father to put myself in that situation in my mind and immediately tear up with just the THOUGHT of losing my parents.) I am sure so many people can relate to that. They went on to say that my blog post gave her a little hope in knowing that God is truly our peace and strength in moments like these.
The purpose of this blog post is to tell you how to prepare for loss. If you have had someone pass away, then you already know. But if have never lost anyone, I wanted to encourage you to not fear it. Of course, NO ONE is ever ready for something like this. But life happens.
You’re probably like, “Why is she telling us on how to prepare for death and loss? I don’t want to think about this?” Well…the truth of life is that we are all going to pass away from this earth. Others sooner than later. I wish someone would have told me about what to expect. So many people go through this and they don’t really talk about it. We just know it happened to them. Another truth is that there is no right or wrong way to grieve but there are certain things that we can do to not let the loss define us but rather get us closer to God.
But if I had any advice for preparing for a loss it will be the following:
1. Get life insurance on earth and heaven. Insurance is important but insurance in Heaven is even better. Accepting Jesus into our hearts is the only way to heaven. Jesus is by far the best thing that can happen to your life. I can say confidently that my dad is with Jesus in Heaven. The peace that I feel surpasses my human emotions.
2. Have the hard conversations with loved ones about your death wishes and what THEY would want and vise versa. My family and I never talked to my dad about these things. I wish we would have. We never thought this would happen to us.
3. Spend all the time you can with your loved ones. Put the phone down and ask yourself, if this was their last day, what would you ask them. Ask them all the questions. I wish I could ask my dad so many more things.
4. Forgive and Love. Unresolved feelings and issues with people around you. Failure to do this can cause major regret and guilt if your loved one passes away. I did not have this happen to me but I know others have felt this.
5. Take all the pictures and videos you want with the people around you. I am thankful for this era of technology because those memories bring me smiles and tears but it helps me to remember the good times. People use to think I was crazy for “taking pictures of everything”. Well now, even more! I will forever be that person. I been this way since I was in HS. I always had a camera on me. I am grateful for that part of me.
That is all I have for now. I hope that this blog posts helps with our view of how to navigate loss. I am not an expert but I am speaking of MY experience. Remember that healing is not linear! It will be all over the place. Embrace that and have the right people around you to uplift you and be there for you.
I miss my dad. So so much! Every time I think of him I either cry like I am now. Or I just laugh because of how funny he was. Or I am encouraged by his legacy to keep going. All of this in rotation. I do what I need to do for me. Do what you need to do for you too!
Lastly, I want to share this last piece of me. Dancing is my form of expressing myself. I heard this song on someone’s story and I listen to it nonstop as I think of my dad. I told myself, this is my next concept video. So here it is. I actually had this video recorded in the middle of March and this is perfect timing to show you because of this blog. (This was not planned.) The CRAZY and WILD thing about this video is that the day that I recorded this video was the SAME day that my dad called me and left me this voicemail. March 20, 2020. THAT was also NOT planned! It made me feel like it was meant to be, that I was doing everything that I needed to be doing at the moment, and I held back to tears but man. I just know my dad is watching over me ALWAYS.
I miss so many things about my dad. It still feels unreal sometimes. I will miss him forever until I see Him in Heaven again. And because I want to go to Heaven, I wish to align my life to God’s will.
Thank you for reading and thanking you for watching.