My life doesn’t look the same as it did just two months ago.
I knew that once the worst had passed, I wouldn’t just pick up right where my “real life” left off. Yet, somehow, in my heart, I truly expected that one day I would just feel fine again. I truly convinced myself that one day I would feel like “me”, the before “me”when I had a living, present, amazing Dad I adored. Sure, pieces would be changed, missing, broken, but my “real life” would start again and this would all be just a bad dream.
Losing a parent to a sudden illness is like a tornado of confusion and grief that just drops out of sky on a clear blue day. When it sets its sites on where you live, you often don’t get much warning. You find a place to duck and cover and hope you live. It tears your roof off. It up-ends your trees. It scatters your memories across the lawn, even as far as blocks away. Then, suddenly, it’s still again.
If you’ve never experienced a tornado, you might expect that once it’s over, you’d run outside and into the sun, grateful it was over. Instead, storm survivors know that when the winds end, you hesitate in disbelief that it’s gone. You climb out from the rubble, slowly. You blink in the light of the sun you haven’t seen in what feels like forever. You look around, cautiously, to see what’s left. Only then do you dare take a heavy, grateful breath. You slowly realize you were pressed by the storm, but not crushed.
I wasn’t crushed. The storm raged and ravaged and threatened to destroy. Then, when enough was enough, even the wind obeyed Him.
The storm was terrible. All I could do was think about whether I’d make it through the sadness. I learned to pray like I never had before. I prayed for so many things I thought I never would. But I think what most surprised me is that I prayed that I would want to climb out when the storm passed.
When you go through so much, when it comes at you so quickly, you forget that life isn’t all chaos and damage. You get used to the sound of the wind pulling your house down, scattering your life across your lawn. It takes time to remember how to live in the calm.
Two months have passed and my roof is back on and the debris has been cleared. The heart is more resilient than I expected. And the mind is so much more reluctant to let go of replaying painful moments. It takes a lot of courage and strength and prayer to crawl out from the rubble, not just once, but every time I remember the storm.
I know loss that I didn’t know before. There are still times when I close my eyes that I can see the damage that littered my lawn in those moments after the wind stopped. I can still feel my heart race when I think about that day, the sound of the wind as it ripped precious pieces of my life away.
But, He commands the wind.
So, I’m learning how to enjoy a breeze without the fear that the winds will kick up again. And although it’s strange to go outside and plant gardens and plan picnics and live a normal, everyday life again…that’s what I’m doing.
I’ll never be the before “me” again, but that’s life – storms and sunshine. Without one, there is no appreciation for the other.