I told myself all month that I would not write a post today. That I would let the 29th of November slip silently (and thankfully) by without mention of it on my blog.
I should have known better than that. Because when life weighs heavy upon me anymore, my favorite escape even in the midst of pain and struggles has become the act of writing.
For those of you who faithfully follow my blog, you may remember my posts about Panache that came a year ago as my beloved father-in-law lost his battle with small cell carcinoma. 2013 was a brutal year for us on an emotional level, watching helplessly as the monster we have come to call “cancer” slowly took from us one of the strongest members of our family.
I’d like to say that 2014 was infinitely emotionally better, but that would not be true.
I’d like to say the hurting went away in 2014, but that would not be true.
I’d like to say that our hearts have healed, that Terry isn’t in our thoughts daily, and that we have finally come to terms with his passing. But those statements also would not be true.
What is true is that we had countless souls come alongside our pain-riddled family before, during, and after that his passing. Loving, caring souls from near and fary (and some very, very far) who had either been through a similar traumatic experience or had seen a loved one or spouse go through something similar.
Similar, but not the same. If I’ve learned anything through all of this, it’s that everyone’s experiences differ, and we each deal with grief differently.
But even in the midst of pain, we have been able to see past the darkest clouds looming overhead to still catch glimpses of joy: favorite memories of family times gone by, scholastic and sports accomplishments of his living, loving, thriving children and grandchildren, the Buckeyes kicking a~~ under the helm of freshman QB J.T. Barrett (whom Terry would have loved to hate at the beginning of the season, and then loved to brag on leading up to today’s big game against TTUN—that team up north).
Terry was a fighter, a lover, and a friend to so many. He lived life to its fullest, did everything he could to provide for his family, and laughed and joked to lift up those around him. Don’t get me wrong—if he was frustrated with something, he let you know. But his joys far outweighed his sorrows, and as his numbered days grew shorter he turned to his faith for courage and strength. A faith that may have gone a bit untended for years, but was waiting patiently in the wings for him to call upon once more.
That’s how I envision Terry now, waiting in the wings up in the Great Beyond, having a heyday with the rest of his family that has also passed on, chuckling at our moments of stupidity, shaking his head when we make less-than-wise decisions, and asking God to send us a little more grace and mercy as we struggle to push on without him.
Whether that’s what he’s really doing up there or not, I won’t know until I see him again, hopefully many, many years from now. But what I am absolutely certain of is that I will see him again, and when I do he’ll pull me into the biggest hug, call me one of his many silly pet names, and welcome me home.
And that knowledge is what helps me—can help all who believe—find peace and joy even in the midst of our pain.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas season, everyone.
“You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.”
~~ Henry Drummond