“…and he’s looking down.”

In exactly 28 hours and 45 minutes we will have felt the absence left by of the loss of my father for an entire year.  It still seems like much of it happened in a haze and not a day passes that I don’t half expect to get a call from him and to hear his familiar voice on the other end saying, “Manda?” 

I was just reading the other day someone explaining what it feels like to lose a loved one.  And by “loved one” I mean a person who truly is a daily part of your life and one whose absence leaves a gaping hole.  I read this person say that in time the hurt goes away.  I’m not buying into that.  Today I sit, feeling just as sad and hurt about his absence as I did the day he left.  The only difference is that now, instead of having to face it everyday head on (impossible not to do through each conversation and moment I had with him), I simply refuse to let myself go there.  There’s not even 1% of me which feels ready to face that reality.  I’m smart enough to realize this probably isn’t the best coping skill to utilize in the year following a death, but for me- well, it just has to be right now.  I know my dad is gone and he’s not coming back.  I just need to mentally press pause and leave things where I can best cope with them.  In time I know I will have no choice other than to begin a slow and challenging unveiling of reality from the moment he left until my current circumstance.  It is said God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.  I’m trusting, but standing on that tightrope with one leg dangling out to the side searching desperately to find my balance.

Our closest friends are aware of the sweet meaning that snow has taken on for the Elder women.  I wrote my dad a poem about the snow while he was very ill.  The day he was taken to the funeral home and we would see him for the last time a beautiful, gentle, and unpredicted snow began to fall and my mom and I discussed the significance.  I reminded her that I had written about the snow for him and she said she knew.  She stated that the only difference is that this time we’re looking out and it and he’s looking down.  Those words were so powerful in that moment.

Last night the most beautiful snowfall began in our little town.  Messages from sweet friends began rolling in to remind me (us) that God was blanketing us in His love in preparation for the next few days.  I have no doubt that my sweet daddy up there, in that same earthly way he always wanted to see us happy, quietly pulled God aside and asked Him for this small favor.  It means the world to me.  I know it does to mom and Jess as well.

I loved that man.  I still love that man.  I know people are often spoken highly of after they pass, but each thing that I say of him is true.  I don’t have to sit and think and stretch the truth to make him sound fabulous.  He truly was.  The day after my dad died I went to the store.  I remember being almost angry that life was still going on all around us.  Surely the absence of such a huge, powerful soul would cause time and life to stop even if just for a moment. 

I’ll admit something and I had hoped not to have to go here- I’ve really let myself pull back from God this year in the middle of all these adjustments.  I’m not angry at Him and I don’t hate Him, but I guess deep down I do have lots of questions and I’ve not used a great deal of judgment in some areas of my life.  My earthly covering is gone now- no father, no husband.  I guess I have let myself flounder around a bit.  I’m sure if my dad were here he would want to have one of our infamous discussion over the kitchen table about life and decisions and consequences. 

This year my first order of business is to get right with my heavenly Father and to come to terms with the loss of my earthly one.  Both, frankly, are daunting tasks which I know I must do.  I want to make my father proud.  I want to be an example to my friends and the world of the hope and fulfillment we can find only in Christ.  I want to make both of them proud.  The snow is such a precious reminder to me that even during times they may feel far, they wish the best for us.  They are still looking down.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. carolynn elder
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 01:47:57

    Honey, this is almost unbearable to read, but it is so touching. Thank you. Love.



  2. June
    Jan 07, 2012 @ 22:47:51

    Amanda, this is beautiful. I love the way you write from your heart.



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