I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot recently. I think about him all the time anyway, but lately it has been more than normal. My mom is selling her house. In fact, she closed on her new one just yesterday. I’m so happy for her, but, as it turns out, seeing her move out of the house she shared with my dad is harder than I thought it would be. On the day that she closed, she texted us the good news and we all celebrated with her. But I caught my breath just for a second and thought, “I wish my dad was sitting there with her.”
That’s been a recurring thought these days. “I wish my dad were here.” My kids are getting into so many different activities and having so many new experiences, and after each one, I think about my dad and how much he would have loved to be part of all of this.
Bean had his Blue and Gold Ceremony this weekend for Cub Scouts. It’s the ceremony where each den of boys “graduates” up to the next den. He went from being a Tiger to being a Wolf.
Chris and I are so proud of him. And as I stood there cheering for him this weekend, my heart was with my dad.
My dad had two daughters, and he loved every minute of it. He practiced ballet with me in the kitchen, volunteered at Ginny’s sorority house in college, and gave me and Gin each our first sets of diamonds and pearls. He was an awesome dad to daughters. But I think he was looking forward to having grandsons because of all the new adventures boys would bring to the family.
Cub Scouts would have been right up my dad’s alley. And he would have been just as proud of me for being part of Cub Scouts as he would have been of Bean. In fact, I can feel him squeezing my shoulder now and saying, “Good job, Katie Girl.”
I’m leading a Bible study at my church right now that has called on me to speak about my dad’s passing in such open, honest ways. And while it has been a true joy to learn with and from this group, it has been emotionally draining and exhausting to talk and teach so openly about dealing with grief and loss, anger and forgiveness, and hopelessness and faith.
After each Bible study class, after everyone has left, I go down to the chapel in our church and sit in prayer for a while. Well, I intend to sit in prayer. Really, I am so drained I have nothing left to offer and so I usually just sing hymns or sit in silence. And as I sit there, I think of my dad. And I can feel him squeezing my shoulder and saying, “Good job, Katie Girl.”
Grief is tough, y’all. And I have just about accepted that it isn’t a stage of life, either. It’s a part of your life that you will always carry with you. And it rears its head at unpredictable moments of happiness and just takes the breath right out of you. Even years later.
Like when you’re standing at a Cub Scout ceremony, beaming with pride at your son, and suddenly you feel the heaviness of grief settle on your shoulders.
Or when your mom calls to tell you she’s moving into a new house, and you’re celebrating and so happy for her new beginning, and suddenly you feel the heaviness of grief settle on your heart.
Or when you are teaching a Bible study class and you’re learning and growing in your faith, and suddenly you feel the heaviness of grief settle into your soul.
But, then I remember that my dad would never have tolerated wallowing in sadness, and so I pick myself up and move ahead. And I can feel him squeezing my should and saying, “Good job, Katie Girl.”