I did not expect to lose it in the shower. I was fine before I got in. But as my hands gently scrubbed my scalp and my mind began to wander, I considered all the tasks I needed to get done on this day. And that is when it came to me: this is…hard. It was then that my salty tears mingled with the cascade of hot water pouring down from the showerhead and put simply: I lost it.
Crying unexpectedly; this is what people mean when they say grief comes in waves.
My brother and I are cleaning out my father’s house. Because my mother passed away earlier this year and because Dad no longer lives there, we are going to rent his home (Dad doesn’t want to sell it). And so we are cleaning and sorting and selling. We are going through old clothes and old photos and old memories. We are deciding what to keep, and what to let go.
Letting go, both physically and emotionally is tough.
And so on this day I am grieving my loss of what was and what is no more. It has hit me hard, but I am searching for the good. I am looking for the silver lining.
As a Christian, I know I can count on silver linings. I know there is good behind what I sometimes perceive as bad or sad or difficult. There is purpose in things I do not understand. There are countless verses in the Bible to remind me of these truths. In Proverbs 3:5-6, I read that we are to have faith, even when we do not understand. In Jeremiah 29:11, God tells me he has plans for me and his plans are prosperous plans, plans to give me hope and a future. All things, God tells me, work together for my good, the good of all those who love him (Romans 8:28).
As a Christian, I am asked to have faith: I am asked to love and trust God regardless of my circumstances. And so, I will.
So what is my silver lining in this year of change and grief? It takes a minute, or thirty, but eventually it comes to me. My silver lining is…My father.
My father, who lost his wife, who spent his own time in the hospital dealing with issues related to Parkinson’s, who had the rug pulled out from under him when he suddenly had to move into assisted living…My father, is doing well.
He is coping with his grief.
He is making a new life for himself in his new home. He smiles, he laughs, and he accepts the changes that have come his way.
He is doing new things. In fact, the truth is, my father’s social calendar is much more exciting than mine.
While I’ve been worrying that my dad would sit around his apartment all alone, I’ve discovered he’s never in his room when I call.
While I’ve worried he might lose interest in his hobbies, I’ve discovered he’s still excited to go to every Colts game, every tail gate, every soccer game and cross country meet of my daughters (how did I ever think he’d lose interest in sports?).
While I worried he’d become bored, my dad has been filling his time doing things he’s never done before.
In August, he went to the fair. He stuffed himself with fair food and rode the giant slides.
In September, he went fishing on a local lake. Two pontoon boats filled with senior citizens catching largemouth bass. #prettycool.
In October, he called to tell me he went zip lining. ZIP LINING. He even made the local newspaper with that one.
And this month, I found a picture of him on Twitter. TWITTER. He was posing at the resident Luau party.
In a matter of weeks, my dad will accompany my family to Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday. Due to mom’s illness, he hasn’t flown in a number of years; it will be good to see him put his toes in the sand.
It has been a rough year for my family for sure. Things are now different, they will never be what they once were. But if my dad can cope, then so can I.
Cleaning out my dad’s house? Not particularly fun. But I will remember it as a house that was well lived in, a house once filled to the brim with laughter and love. I can be grateful for that.
And besides, my dad may be giving up his house, but he isn’t giving up on living. It’s exactly what my mother would have wanted for him. It is my silver lining, and it’s a good one.
[Photo credit to Tracy Line]
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