Grief’s Treasures

It has been 9 months since my dad died. I still miss him. God did not come and heal his cancer. Nor did He give him just one more summer as I pleaded for. As a faith-professing woman I have been dealing with the deep disappointment that God did not see fit to spin the world in my direction. Greater than that is just the depth of loss in knowing that he gone from this earth, and I don’t get see his face or hear his voice. Apart from my own loss I think of my mom, sisters and all the grandchildren that love and miss him too. My heart aches for their loss as well. Then I think about death in general and it seems rather astounding to me that people all over the world have to deal with this same depth of pain every time a loved one dies. People die all the time, every day. That means new hearts are breaking every day as they begin their own journey of grief. And I am just one more person who understands their journey.

It is rather ironic that I landed a great job at a Hospice just one week before my dad passed away. I have spent the season of grieving the loss of my father literally, with death around me daily. I have met many patients that remind me of my father and have had to close my office door and endure an unsuspecting wave of grief until I could compose myself and get back to the task at hand.

I believe goodness can come from any situation if we have the posture of heart that will allow heaven access. So, when the world doesn’t seem to spin my direction, I eventually stop kicking and screaming and I try and roll with it to see what the Lord might teach me through the situation. I feel like I’ve grown a smidge deeper, a twinge more compassionate, maybe even a drop wiser in my latest journey. I figured perhaps it was time to share.

The week before my dad died, my parents had airline tickets purchased ready to come to Washington. Dad said he wanted to see my boys play baseball and my daughter ice skate. He wanted to see his other grandchildren in their element too. But mom called and told me that there was just no way he could fly. He could no longer stand up. He had declined rapidly. Reality set in. They were not going to be able to make the long flight from Florida to Washington. I wanted to see my dad again but we were not in a place that we could afford the expensive airline tickets on short notice and I had just started a new job that very week.

I drove to work that morning telling God that I could handle all the hard stuff in life that had come our way recently (and that’s another story) but if He could just please hear me on this one. I wept out loud in the car and told God “I want to see my dad, Lord… please, if you answer any prayer of mine let it be this one… make a way for me and my kids to see my dad one more time!” As I pulled into my office parking lot I fanned my face, dried my eyes, took a few deep breaths and reapplied my eye make up. Game face on. I passed my boss, the owner of the company in the hall and he asked me how I was. I told him I may need to take some time off to go see my dad (although I had no way of making it happen I wanted to keep my options open just in case there really was a God in heaven listening to me). At that he said, “hmmm… I just may have some frequent flyer miles, would you be interested?” “I can’t promise you anything, I’ve tried to use them and they never work.” I said, “Yes, that would be amazing.” Ten minutes later I sat in his office choking back another waterfall of tears because my kids and I were booked on a flight that would leave in two days. It was a gift. Every flight was completely full but somehow my kids and I sat in the front row of the airplane. When we arrived my dad’s eyes were no longer open and he was no longer talking. In fact, he didn’t look like the dad I knew. He was just hanging onto life and his once strong frame looked more like a skeleton. I was thankful he did not have to see the sadness in my eyes. I played a guitar and sang to him one last time. It was an important gift I needed to give. I got to tell him that I loved him. He died two days later.

Seeing God’s hand in the dark moments makes all the difference. Today, I could focus on the fact that dad died and that he did not get to enjoy one more summer. But the truth is, one more summer would not have been enough. I wanted him to live forever. Or, I can recognize that the Lord made a miraculous way for me to see him one more time. It’s all perspective.

The truth of the matter is that we will all die eventually. This earthly life was never meant to be where we store up our treasures. Life is so very precious; it ought to be lived with that awareness. And the depth of grief is only testimony to the greatness of the love shared. So, I count it an honor that that I am alive to feel each drop of grief, and I deem it a privilege that my dad loved so well that his absence leaves a gaping hole in my heart to this day.

Grieving is not an illness that needs to be cured. Nor is it a race that needs to be rushed. It is a journey to be walked and there are treasures to be found along its path. Today, life is more precious, compassion is easy to give, eternity holds great hope, and God is revered as sovereign, not a Santa to grant my every wish. Though I’m still easily broken over the loss of my father, I am richer for the journey that grief has brought because it leaves me with something of eternal value to give to another very precious life.

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Comments
20 Responses to “Grief’s Treasures”
  1. Sarah P says:

    Thank you for sharing, Lori. I admire your transparency and am blessed by your wisdom.

  2. Mel A. Aldrich says:

    Lori,
    All I can say is amazing. That written piece was like walking inside of a small part of your heart and feeling a small touch of your inner struggle with the Lord, the realness shows through. That shot like an arrow straight through to my granite heart. I know that you and your sisters are great blessing to your Dad.

  3. Shari Pfeiffer says:

    Lori, thanks for sharing a piece of your heart in a beautifully written message. I’m writing this looking through my tears. There are so many quoteable statements you made, what a gift you have! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and emotions through the eyes of a Godly woman. Miss you!

  4. Couleedam (Nora) says:

    Lori, you are an amazing writer, it as if you were sitting here speaking with me, and to me. Yes, grief is a journey, and I’m working on year four of life without Ted. . .I can now remember more of the good times and less memories of the last few hard months. God is good, all the time! Love you!

  5. Jody Nardis says:

    Lori, that was beautiful. You have spoken into my life for years, giving me wisdom, encouragement, discernment, accountability, love…the list goes on. Since Dad passed on, I have not ben able to journal, something is locked.I miss him, and now I miss Mom more than ever. Today I think I can add ‘ courage’ to my list. Thank you, Sis.

    • Lori Bradeen says:

      Thanks Sis,

      I know what you mean about not being able to journal. I sat down many times to write over the last 9 months but I had no words. It’s kind of like getting the wind knocked out of you….it just takes time to get your breath back. When you do, I’d love to have your and Lynn’s perspective of the same journey as guest bloggers. And I agree, mom lives way too far away from us.

  6. Mary Ann Arnold says:

    Love you Lori, this is so beautiful…. Thank you for sharing

  7. Tonja says:

    Lori,
    You are amazing. I love you.
    Tonja

  8. Gloria says:

    Lori …. Your writings are a treasure. You have a very special talent. Thank you for sharing your love, and your pain. Hugs,

  9. Pastor Van says:

    Very nice honey, you are amazing and so was your dad. Just think; you will get to hang with him for ever.

  10. cara mirau says:

    Thank you for being who God made you. You are an amazing person. Thank you for sharing things that are so close to your heart, it is a blessing.

  11. Becka says:

    Lori

    Thank for sharing this storie…Thank you for being a Special person God made u

  12. Stacy Vargas says:

    Now I am trying to hold back a waterfall of tears. Thank you for sharing Lori. You are an amazing women and I love and admire you greatly!

  13. Sue says:

    Dear Lori,
    I saw that you had a blog on facebook and that you had written about your Dad’s passing. I lost my Mom last summer and your words rang true and brought tears to my eyes. The world isn’t the same, but she left me so many treasures to be thankful for. You are a very talented writer, and he must have been so blessed to have you as his daughter.

  14. Shanna Adams says:

    I read most of your posts and I find you to be an inspirational writer, writing about things that are near and dear to everyone at some point in our lives. I find this particular piece very powerful due to my own fathers passing last year and your written pain brought back my own pain, but in a good way… finally. Thank you. Although I am still crying, thank you.

  15. Steve Crofford says:

    My dad passed away last year Feb 24th 2010. I fully understand what you are going through. It’s very hard, and yet I know where he is. He knew Jesus. This post has helped.. Thank you for posting this. I didn’t really get to say goodbye to my dad. We thought he would recover. He didn’t and he died in his hospital room alone….well not alone…the Lord was there!

    It’s still very hard to think about and I miss him terribly. I wish he could have been around to see my daughter grow up. They were very close. Life is short and yes life on this earth isn’t what we were created for. We were created for eternity with God.

    This life isn’t easy, but God’s grace is awesome! Thanks again for this post!

    Steve

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