Car Rides & Grief
No matter where you're at in life right now, I want you to know that you're okay...and everything will be okay...one way or another.
I've been struggling lately to find inspiration for my blog. I find myself in the midst of the grief process where the shock has passed, and I feel sad a lot. Some days I don't really feel like doing much or talking to anyone. Sometimes I even find myself feeling slightly guilty about smiling or laughing about things when inside all I can think about is my dad and how our days together ended before they really even got started. But when joy comes in the moments of sadness, I let it come. It's what my dad would want. He would want me to keep busy, keep smiling, and continue moving on, in a healthy way.
Life is hard sometimes. I know I constantly speak of hope and the hope of our Savior, which is all true...but life just downright sucks sometimes. And it's okay to be and feel sad. It's okay to feel the grief you may be experiencing. You will never be able to let it go if you don't let it wash over you. Feel the pain. Cry when you need to. Listen to that song a little longer that makes you feel close to that loved one...
It's the strangest thing, but I find myself getting the most emotional when I am in my car driving somewhere. Sometimes it is a song. Usually one from the mid-late 90s that would be playing on the radio during the drive to my dad's house when he would pick me up for the weekends.
I can't tell you the relief I felt as a little girl to be with my dad again after not seeing him for days. Our first moments of reconnecting would be in the car. With the radio on.
Growing up with divorced parents came with it's fair share of struggles. Some I didn't even realize until my adult years, along with years of introspection that came in the form of books, church, mentorship, and therapy.
But one thing that has never been far from my thoughts about my dad is how eagerly I would wait for him to come pick me up as a little girl. I would sit in the window of the living room of my old house in Sterling Heights...and wait. Wait for his car to come down the street. And wait for him to pull up the driveway.
I was always so afraid that if I didn't run outside the second he got to my mom's house that he would leave.
After years of therapy though, I realized in my early 20s, that inside, I was still that little girl in the window waiting for her dad to pick her up on the weekends. I spent my whole life waiting for him to come through and really pursue me.
I think that goes back to one of God's very beautiful and unique designs for men--to be the leaders, protectors, and providers. Not just within the marriage relationship, but within the relationship between fathers and daughters. It can be such a blessing for a girl to have a dad who leads, pursues, and protects...someone who exudes strength, and with that, the peace that everything is taken care of. On the flip side, it can also be damaging to have a father who struggles with those things.
I looked up to my dad very much. And the closest and most pursued I felt by him were within those moments following him picking me up from school, my house, or dance class. The moments when he came through. The moments that regardless of how our time would be spent on the weekends, that in those moments, he was intentional about spending time with me.
I would sit in the passenger seat of his car and feel loved.
And then as an adult, I would spend quite a bit of time in the car on my way to see him. Usually at work, to bring him food for dinner when he worked his midnight shifts at the hospital. I wanted him to feel loved and taken care of by me.
I think about the time spent in the car on the way to the hospital during his last days, not knowing when would be our last. I kept having dreams about him dying during those few days. If I wasn't with him, I would be constantly checking my phone in a panic...not knowing.
I know I refer a lot to the time I spent at his bedside in the hospital. That time was so profound for our relationship. Up until that moment, I was still that little girl waiting in the window for her dad to show up.
And then he did. He showed up in the form of an honest and sincere apology. And I eagerly got into the car for the very last time. I forgave.
That little girl who was so broken and torn is still a part of me, but she has been healed in so many ways.
Through the grief, God continues to show up and remind me of how deeply loved I am. So I let the grief in and let it wash over me like a cool rain. I feel the pain when it comes...and when the joy comes, I feel that too.
"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1Peter 1:6-7
My name is Christina. I am 29. This is my journey of faith and healing.