If my Dad were here today, I'm certain I wouldn't think a thing about it and I would take him for granted. Much like I did eleven years ago and one day before that. The absence of my father has been something so grand that I have struggled with it almost every single day since.
Initially after Dad died, nothing in the universe felt normal. I was in a fog and a haze and I remember at the end of every day being thankful that somehow I had managed to survive another one. It was inconceivable that I would make it to recognize a 'year' marker- let alone eleven of them. I never thought I would be able to have any kind of regular routine again. The mourning was huge, powerful and overwhelming.
And yet here I sit, eleven years later, able to focus and continue. I must admit I've been dreading this week. But still functioning. I no longer wake up multiple time in the night to cry. I laugh without being overwhelmed with guilt. I have children who never met my father on earth, and I can finally talk to them about him without instantly crying. Very rarely do I feel the incredible pressure in my chest that I used to experience several times a day. Not to say my eyes don't still frequently shed tears for the loss of that man, I suppose it's just getting 'easier'- if that's even the right term.
When dad first died, for several many years I would dream about him. Sometimes it seemed so real, like he had never died. After several years, even in my dreams, I knew he had died. But I would purposely try to stay asleep so that I could be with him longer. Because I knew when I woke up he would be gone again. It has been years since I have 'seen' him in my dreams, which is good and bad I suppose. Sometimes, seeing him while sleeping made me miss him even more.
Grief is a nasty little beast. Life will never be normal again- but I have settled into a new normal. One without my Dad. One where my mom is a widow and my children only have one grandpa that they know. One where my dad never answers the phone when I call and on his birthday in August I no longer have to struggle with what to buy for him. I so wish we still had the old normal- the one with him in it. But alas- we don't get to call the shots.
I rest my soul in knowing that there is a promise for reunion. And I am thankful that we serve a Lord that will hold us close until then. But I still miss my Dad.