Today marks one month since my dad died.
It was Monday, February 10th. Today is Monday, March 10th. As I watched the hour approach, I found myself reliving that day, in eerie detail. What was he doing at 2 pm? Where was he at 3 pm? I even left work early, just like I did that Monday. I still can’t take the same route home. That’s what grief feels like.
Today I put on my running shoes and ran my dad’s very last route. I made sure to notice the people and to take in the things he would have enjoyed. The kids on the basketball court. The towering oak trees. I waved at every other runner and biker out enjoying the beautiful weather. And then I stood on the bridge for a long time, looking out at the lake. I have a feeling he took a few running breaks there. Finally I ran his final stretch. And the lyrics in my head were I am standing on holy ground and I know that there are angels all around; Let us praise Jesus now, for we are standing in His presence on holy ground. That’s what grief feels like.
I haven’t slept in my own house, in my own bed, since February 9th. That’s what grief feels like.
Grief feels like not eating and barely sleeping for a solid week, yet functioning on supernatural energy and strength.
Grief feels like making small talk with hundreds and hundreds of people when all you want to do is be alone to process your thoughts but you are afraid what will become of you if you are alone.
Grief feels like the weight of a thousand decisions in a short period of time.
Grief is an interesting thing. For me, time stopped. It literally stood still. Everything has now become life before February 10th and life after February 10th. There is no “new normal” — there is just a giant hole. That’s what grief feels like.
But grief also feels like tracing the rainbow through the rain. It’s finding a new shield penny that reminds me of my dad. It’s making decisions that I know he would be proud of. It’s drinking his Dunkin Donuts coffee. It’s proudly displaying the insignia that I am a firefighter’s daughter.
I started thinking about the way my dad died. It was instant, painless, and in the presence of friends. Jesus’s death was drawn-out, excruciatingly painful, and his friends deserted him. Jesus died His death so my dad could, quite frankly, have a wonderful death. My dad went straight into the arms of Jesus. Jesus conquered death so we do not have to be afraid of it. We don’t have to fear the future.
That’s the rainbow. That’s the promise.