Saturday, November 23, 2019

ACE #455: The New Normal

My father passed away almost two months ago. Some days I wake up and I think it is all a dream. I often ask myself questions I know the answers to like, “Did this really happen?” or “Is he really gone forever?” The answer to both is obvious. Yes.

I’ll be honest, I am okay with his death because he was so sick. No one ever wants to see someone who he or she loves suffer. The reality of it, he was in pain all the time. Cancer was ravaging his body. And, most days, I think he handled it like a champ in my eyes. By the way, I hate cancer. I don’t fully understand why he had to go through what he went through. It leaves the age-old question, “Why do good people suffer?” I will never have an answer for that, no matter how much time passes. Spiritually, I was prepared for his passing. My faith has been firm. Physically, not so much...because my heart is still broken. One of my (and his) greatest joys was kissing his face when I entered or exited a room. Actually, it was one of the last things I did before he took his last breath.  

At the end of the day, my father, even in sickness, had a good life with my mother, their children, and their grandchildren. He left a legacy in our local community and beyond. Someone called him a hero. Another person referred to him as a legend. He was a role model and mentor to many young men because he specialized in body building and karate. They looked up to him. One man even said that it was because of my Daddy that his son toughened up and was able to go into the military. 

This year will be a year of “firsts”...our first holidays that we will celebrate without him being there. Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Christmas is right around the corner. And, I am finally starting to feel it…the anxiety that comes with facing and navigating through “the new normal”.

One of my dear friends lost her father a year ago around this time. She talked to me specifically about how difficult that year of “firsts” was for her family. She said this year would be different because she was going to be intentional about planning activities that brought life to them because the first year was so sad. I refuse to celebrate the holidays with the mindset or outward appearance of doom and gloom. I will celebrate with gratitude...and thanksgiving.

It was my and my husband’s absolute pleasure to honor and to serve my father. Even in the “new normal” we’ll still honor him – his memory, his legacy, and his life.

Happy Thanksgiving, Daddy...the first "new normal".

Isaiah 61:3
and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Psalm 30:5
...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

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