Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Father's Stroke and Other Thoughts On Grief

Today I emailed a friend this news about my father's stroke and more on Josh's passing, how the two events are melding together to change me.

"I visited my 87yo dad Monday in Roseburg, who had a stroke last week. He is paralyzed in his right arm, has garbled speech, difficulty swallowing, and now is in rehab. I remember my daughter's prayer the morning Josh drowned (before it happened): "Lord, bring it on. Whatever it takes, I surrender to Your will in my life." He is certainly bringing it on, squeezing the world out of me through grief and tears. I realized I had never really grieved before this, even through the death of all four grandparents with whom I was very close, (and my paternal grandmother killed by my grandfather who had gone temporarily insane) and the death of a friend my age a year ago. This death of a young 19yo with SO MUCH POTENTIAL and so much passion for life, who loved me like a friend even at my advanced years, has struck a chord. I'm sure some of my grief is vicarious for Josh's mother, and for my daughter, who was so very close to him that I and others thought romance might be around the corner, but no, he had this way of being close and deep with many, many people. 

SO my father's condition has not hit me, and I'm not nearly as affected by it as by Josh's passing. It's almost poetic justice in Dad's case, because he has been a hardened, difficult man all his life; and then I feel guilty even thinking that, because it would be just as right that it happen to me--I'm no better in my sin than he is, just forgiven.

Well, I hope you don't mind my blathering. You were the one with an email waiting for me to respond to, so just skip all this if it's too much. I have never understood how other people seemed to wallow in their grief before now, because I had not been through it myself. Now I understand, and am sorry I was ever so judgemental. I can't just put it behind me. I have to walk through it before I get over it. My dad has tried to ignore his hurts all his life, and put up a tough facade, and it really messed him up. I don't want to make the same mistake.

Josh was known to write voluminous, articulate emails to many people, of all ages, about things that really mattered. Those emails were quoted widely in the memorial and have become his legacy, along with his blog posts. Would that I leave such a legacy behind me."

While in Dad's rehab facility, I found myself unable to offer even a greeting to all the lonely people as we walked around. I was so burdened by my own grief, I was repulsed by theirs. How could I be so hard? I know Josh would have reached out to them, asking them all-important questions about their eternal destiny, just as he had on that fateful day when he was being carried off by the ambulance from our home two years ago. I failed the test! Oh, Lord, when will I ever learn???

See also Ariel Strom's post of her memorial of Josh at justanotherrebornhuman.blogspot.com. It has all the links to others' memories of him. It is endless how much impact he has had and will continue to have.

1 comment:

daugherofgrace said...

Praying for you Arden. Grief is such an interesting thing. And it does take time to overcome. I think just admitting that we are grieving is a big thing. It's one of the first steps to being able to overcome. Love you and praise God for the work He is doing in us all and so thankful for our church family.