Dear Dad: Grief Is A Journey
We are in Bolivia for another 1.5 weeks and today Caleb and I are stuck at home because of the blockades all around the city. Keith had to walk to work; it’s an insane, long, uphill walk, poor guy! The blockades have been making me think about my grief journey, though. While everyone grieves differently, I feel like my road of grief isn’t even parallel to anyone else.
I expected my grief journey to be like a highway: one constant flowing stage of life on the way towards healing. I knew there would be detours, road work, and rubber necking, but I didn’t anticipate how it has actually turned out. My journey seems more like a drive out into the campo here in Bolivia: I’m having to stop the car, get out and walk around blockades, hoping someone else will pick me up, always finding I have to take another detour, and always a bumpy ride.
Since we live 3,000 miles away, I often forget that you’re not actually at home, riding the tractor with your cigar or keeping the Town of East Lyme running. Then it hits me like an express train to the face, that I won’t see you again this side of heaven. It makes me sad that I saw you for the last time in August and that our last conversations were all over the phone or on Skype. I get a little angry that I don’t have my engineer dad to help us buy our first house, but I am grateful for your brothers and how they can step in.
Knowing that you and Caleb never met (in heaven or here), doesn’t make me as angry as it used to. It was definitely more of a “pass the torch” situation. I see a lot of you in him and have this deep down feeling that he’ll have a huge impact on his world, just as you did in yours.
As I’m stuck in the house today, I think about how I’ve been stuck in my grief as well. Every night for the last three weeks I’ve dreamed about us doing normal, every day things together. When I wake up, it’s as if there’s a huge weight on my shoulders and have to remind myself that it was just a dream. If you’re going to keeping showing up, will you at least give me one of those awesome bear hugs?!
It’s taking a lot of courage for me to keep going on my grief journey in spite of the blockades and detours. I just want to stay in my land of denial forever. And in those moments of darkness and sadness I remember the last words you spoke to me as we were about to welcome Caleb into the world: “You are so brave for doing all of this.”
Trying to be brave, Dad, and continue to heal while raising this crazy little boy. Wish you could be here, but I’m glad you’re already experiencing healing.
Love you always,
P.S. Do you have hair again?