I started seeing my therapist again...about every 3 weeks. It makes me feel better knowing I have someone to check in with as I walk through the different stages of grief.
I have dealt with a mixture of emotions lately...including anger, disappointment, and frustration. Not just with my dad, but with other people in my life. Not understanding why things had to be the way they were. Not understanding why it didn't always feel like my dad could protect me. Feeling abandoned by the fact that he is gone now...forever.
I don't like feeling those emotions though. Especially when everything is done and over with. Maybe that's why some emotions are beginning to surface. Because he's gone. I can't just text or call him to get answers. I can't ask him why he did or didn't do certain things.
In fact, one day I spent 2 hours in tears feeling totally confused and forgotten by him. And it hurt. Especially since I spent so much time the week he passed away trying to really be there for him and plan everything for his visitation and funeral so that it was perfect. Perfect for him and perfect for everyone to remember my dad by.
So I let myself feel the anger and pain. It hurt to let myself go there in my heart. It felt wrong. But I trusted that it was another level of grief. And it was okay.
After crying for about any hour at my boyfriend's, I thought to get up out of bed and do some dishes.
When Jared got home, I was at the sink trying to hold back tears until I couldn't anymore. He pulled me away and just held me. I told him some things made me wonder if my dad ever loved me. Jared just kissed me and reminded me of how much he loves me. I let myself cry it out. But kept in mind how truly blessed I am. My dad may not have provided for me in all the ways that I had hoped. But God did. God provided a thousand times over. More than.
Remembering this helped my heart to soften--softening the pain I had been experiencing. I let myself feel the anger and disappointment. And thus learned to go to new levels of forgiveness with with my dad in my heart.
As I started to forgive my dad at an even deeper level than before, I began remembering the moments when he did come through.
I remember being in middle school (6th or 7th grade), and I was set on becoming an architect or interior designer. I bought a bunch of magazines with home plans in them and began doing my own home designs and layouts.
One day, my dad decided to take me out to buy my very own drafting board and stencils to trace in doors, appliances, and furniture. I also needed a specific kind of manila paper for my drafting class. We searched high and low until we found just the right paper. In that moment, my dad wanted to make sure I was taken care of and provided for.
I also remember back to about 4/5 years ago being a struggling college student trying to make her way through student teaching. Any teacher can relate to that time of paying for 12 credit hours to teach full time. Through student teaching, I faithfully worked every Saturday at Beaumont. But it wasn't enough to get by at the time. I shared my financial struggles with my dad. And though he was going through his own, he still offered to help me out with gas. So ever so often when I would see him at work, he would give me whatever money he could to make sure I had a full tank of gas when I needed it.
Remembering this honestly brings tears to my eyes.
Even though he couldn't always emotionally provide for me in the ways that I needed, I know he did his best. And through the grief, that brings me comfort.
So don't be afraid to experience all the different stages of grief. It just might help you to reach new levels of forgiveness and healing. And that will make it all worth it.
As an aside, today I had the courage to revisit Troy Beaumont again for the first time since the night my dad passed away. I was there visiting a relative who happened to be in the same unit my dad passed away in, who was also recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
But I did it. I had the courage to visit her. And the courage to walk by dad's hospital room.
Although it was hard being there today and not being able to visit him at work, I am continuing to trust that God's grace and love are sufficient. And maybe my dad was even there with me today.