Last night, as I started to head up the stairs of my sister's house to go to sleep, I heard myself yell "goodnight, get some sleep!" to the dog.
I told a dog to get some sleep.
He's a dog.
He sleeps on and off all day.
I started to wonder why I said that. I must need some sleep. I'm loopy.
It's the exact sentiment I used to say to my dad when I would stay at their house when he was in hospice. I would pray with him or give him his medicine or give him some yogurt, and then tiredly march up the stairs and say "get some sleep", knowing it would only be a few hours until one of us checked on him again.
It is the moments like that where the grief overcomes me. Where my heart begins to ache again. Where I remember that he is missing.
And those are the moments that I hate. But I have learned from my grief group that they are inevitable and that they are healing, as hurtful as they can be. So I soak up those moments. I use it as time to think about my dad, to be grateful for my dad, to talk to him. I know he’s listening to me and that he is here with me. In the craziness and busyness of life, it’s rare I get moments of silence to reflect. So perhaps these painful moments are actually little nudges.
Grief is similar to the cancer itself in that it is uncontrollable and unpredictable. There is no set path, checklist, or map. Grief is messy. It is surprising and it is lonely. It is an invisible load I carry with me daily. It is a balance beam. It comes at you fast and engulfs you, before you get a chance to catch your breath. Grief is giving me a thirst for faith, a longing for empathy, a cry for compassion. My grief wants to be seen and yet hidden. Grief is painful. But with all of these, comes gratitude. I know that the pain I feel is a representation of how deeply I loved my dad, and the very important role he played in our family. I am mighty lucky to have someone like him to miss.
Get some sleep, dad, for I am sure your duties in Heaven are exhausting. I love you and miss you so much.