compassion and comfort

Grieving is an exhausting business.

Apparently if you’re completely stuffed by day’s end, you’re travelling ok. Good to know. That Dad isn’t here is unfathomable. My mind doesn’t comprehend that reality. Does not compute. Not yet, anyway. Thanks to the natural sedative my body is producing that, for now, keeps me in a safe, foggy, bubble. How the body and mind respond to grief is fascinating and remarkable. At the moment I don’t feel particularly sad, or ache, although I expect that will come when the numbness wears off. In the week leading up to the final week with Dad, I howled morning and night. Now the tears are less frequent and have changed to hot, fat, salty, silent, rocking sobs, gone as quickly as they arrive. It’s weird. I can still function, still smile, talk, and even laugh. Still appreciate a beautiful, sunny day. I’m sleeping like a log and swinging between eating comfort carbs like a horse and nothing at all. Mostly I feel detached, as though I’m watching myself from the other side of the room. Watching and waiting. Yes, it’s an exhausting, strange, curious business.

The most comforting learnings so far are that: my grief experience will be unique – just as my relationship with Dad was unique; there’s no “right” way to grieve; it’s not a linear process through the “seven stages of grief” – I may go through all of them, skip over a couple, or re-visit a few; it’s important to be gentle with myself as I grieve – eat well, exercise, rest, keep warm, etc.; and finally, that it’s important to be open to, and even welcome, the grieving process. It’s a gift of healing, and I also think it’s a way to honour Dad, and glorify the Great Comforter.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5) [NIV]

5 Comments

  • jenny says:

    Thanks for sharing that Lesley. We are in for a hard day tomorrow, and that passage is very helpful.

    To be honest, the people that I love that have passed away, I still don’t comprehend that they aren’t here. And it’s 3, 6, and 12 years down the track.

    • lesley says:

      Glad you found those verses helpful. Praying for you.

      BTW I fully expect to mourn and miss Dad for the rest of my days, both significant calendar days and ordinary days. Adjust? Perhaps. Accept? Unsure.

  • Keith says:

    Thanks Lesley
    You have put it all so beautifully you take me to my own grief and so it seems also to Jennys grief as well as others I’m sure. As I read this I reflected on your by-line of (extra) ordinary which to me means that so much of our relationships are in fact ordinary. Exquisitely ordinary, unspeakably and indefinably ordinary, intimately and privately ordinary. So ordinary it doesn’t rate a comment. We try to capture it with honour and respectfulness but somehow we can’t quite succeed. Only you know the significance of that ordinariness and my guess is that you’ll struggle to communicate it to anyone else. You’re left with that unspeakable gift which is also in equal share a burden. Maybe that’s partly why we never quite heal. May God be with you and your Mum and family each with an (extra) ordinary story of your father.

  • gem says:

    Oh dear. I wish I knew what more to say. But thanks for sharing in blog world. I do go here a lot and really appreciate when people are a bit honest and stuff. But yeah this isn’t really about that. Dad’s are special and he’ll always be your dad. Shame they can’t stick around in the flesh forever. Because we need them and then they go and we no longer have what we need. No wonder there is exhaustion and all the other stuff that happens. Glad you’re being kind to yourself. So much love.

    • lesley says:

      Thanks Gem. You don’t need to say anything in particular. Knowing that good friends like you are thinking of me and my family is a great comfort. We’re going ok.