The Journey of Grief, How to love and support a grieving father after the loss of his wife.
KEEP BELIEVING DAD.... HEAVEN IS REAL!
I can't tell you how often I repeat these words to my father.
He longs to believe he will see my mom, the love of his life, again.
He is also scared and thinks "what if" we are wrong? “What if” it is all smoke and mirrors and just a nice way people have learned to cope with the end of life?
Having gone through the same thoughts and fears myself, I dig deep to find the words to reassure him. Once again I repeat to my sweet 86 year old father,
"Heaven IS real dad... I know it, and mom knew it."
I remind my dad of the many ways that God has showed up in our lives.
Times that could not be dismissed as coincidence or "luck".
As followers of Christ, our faith is reignited when we remember the answers to prayer and the past trials that only God could see us through. It is important at these times to remember answered prayer, and miraculous things that could only be God.
God's plan -- always perfect and always just in time.
Maybe it would have been different for us if my mom was miserable and sickly?
Maybe if she would have been ornery due to her illness, we would not be grieving so deeply?
Possibly, it would hurt less, however it wasn't the case.
My mom was the most loving and selfless person I have known. Mom was patient, kind, slow to anger, quick to forgive. Mom loved others before herself. Mom hugged and encouraged everyone. Mom loved unconditionally, even when she was hurt over and over again.
Mom was a help mate to her husband of 62 years. Mom was dad's first and last girlfriend, and the person he woke up to every day for 62 years. My mom and dad endured much together. Seven children and their various life trials, leukemia, lung cancer, hip surgeries, retirement....they did it by staying together and in unity. My parents modeled the true example of love, and loving one another unconditionally.
Mom was our biggest fan and cheerleader. She believed and often told us that God had big things in store for our future. No matter what, my mom always saw the best in each of us.
My mom was the easiest person to hurt when we were frustrated with life, because she always forgave us and never held a grudge.
As I write these words I realize I am describing all of the biblical truths I have learned about living a life for Christ, and not for this world.
I am sure that living this way was not at all easy for my mom. Rarely did we see her struggle to get past an offense. We never knew her to struggle with loving others. My mom loved the outcast, and had compassion and deep love for the elderly.
As I continue to reassure my dad that mom is as alive as ever, I also remind my dad that my mom was completely filled and overflowing with JOY the months before she died.
My mom was weary, the blood flow barely making it through her arteries, but she was happy and joyful.
She continuously talked about how blessed she was, and that she and my dad were so very happy, even when they sat in the house quietly together, not even speaking a word.
I remind my dad about how she could not get enough of the things of God.
My mom was soaking up bible teaching and hymns like a sponge. She played her favorite hymns on the piano continuously. My mom was in perfect peace, even though she was not in perfect health.
My mom was steadfast in her faith right up until the end of her life. As the nurses and medical staff rushed her through the hallway of the hospital on the way to an emergency cardiac catheterization, she grabbed my hand and said, “this is an answer to our prayers! I am not going to have quadruple bypass surgery!” Though nervous I smiled and said, “it is mom, it definitely is an answer to prayer.”
Even though I was nervous that she was being rushed into an emergency procedure, I had confidence that she was going to be alright, and despite the outcome...I still believe my mom is "alright".
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13
I still grieve my loss deeply -- the loss of my best friend, counselor, prayer warrior and my mother. I look to God's word for inspiration to forge ahead.
The questions remains, how do we help our father through the loss of the love of his life? We love him, we pray, we care for him, and reassure him of all of the wonderful ways God has revealed Himself to us throughout our lives.
For God so love the world that He sent His only begotten Son, whoever believes in him shall not die but have eternal life. John 3:16
Believe & receive eternity.... simple and the most important decision we will ever make.