A Change of Heart
July 16th: Brayden and Sarah got engaged and we all went over to my parents to tell them and my parent’s were so excited! My dad was childlike and it was the day he had waited for so long! The last time I have pictures of my dad.
July 18th: Sunday dinner at my parent’s and a great visit, played games and all was great. Last time I talked to my dad.
August we got through everything with my mom, sister and dad being so sick and we lose my dad. The pain of losing my dad is excruciating. I battle so many childlike feelings, temper tantrums, screaming out for my dad and crying every single day. I was very shut down.
All I could say was that my dad left me. He left me. Then people trying to be helpful would say it was his time or he probably didn’t have a choice and Heavenly Father needed him. I know that should be comforting, but it wasn’t. It just made me mad at Heavenly Father and He abandoned me too. Healing from many years of abuse and abandonment tenderness and healing a little child that has been frozen in time and ignored and hated by me as an adult is hard and then losing my dad makes it so much harder and created a backward slide and so much pain.
I’ve been functioning. It’s taken me awhile, but I’m getting out there and starting to interact more with people, finding myself laughing more and striving to connect again and be more engaged.
As the wedding has gotten closer the pain has heightened again. The thought of my dad not being there - UGH, it’s almost like I can’t do it. He was supposed to be here - in PERSON. I know his spirit will be with us, but that’s just not the same and honestly hasn’t felt like enough. This was a day he’s looked forward to for 4 years. He wrote Sarah every week on her mission, served with Brayden during his service mission and asked all too often when they would get married. How could this be part of the plan? My dad is gone!
On Monday I went to counseling and I didn’t have anything really specific, besides how do I survive the next 10 days. How do I cope with all of the emotions? Not only all of the wedding planning and the things that needed to be done, but the abandonment tenderness that’s been close to the surface that distorts things and processing things of Brayden getting married. Him leaving. Then there’s the wedding stresses and decisions to still be finalized and all of the last minute things and praying things show up.
On top of the wedding emotions I have so many emotions tied to my dad over the years in November. November 2nd about 13-14 years ago he had a heart attack. About 12-13 years ago his chrones flared up so bad that he was in the hospital a lot of November and had to have an extensive surgery. 10 years ago November 7th he had his cardiac arrest. We got so many miracles through that and he came home November 30th. In August we all wanted those miracles again sooooo badly, but deep down I knew that wasn’t going to be the case and I believe we all knew it, felt it, but wanted to stay in denial as long as we could.
I’ve been working hard on not doing what if’s, trying to predict the future, write the program ahead of time, etc. I’ve tried to live in the moment, but just needed some great advice on surviving the next 10 days. How do I find joy in the journey with all of the emotions and stress that I was feeling and based on the past couple of months it seemed inevitable. Even up to Sunday evening I had cried and felt loss and tenderness so why wouldn’t it get worse over the next 10 days?
As I visited with my counselor he gave me 2 pieces of advice.
Remember to only take on and own what is mine. Let go of everything else.
Pray. Pray for peace. Pray for support. Pray for me to feel my dad. Paul said to me, “You’re dad is with you.”
Well, after 2 years of counseling, many tears and intensity and facing what I thought would be some of my most difficult times over the next 10 days this was my advice, my counsel. He told me that I’ve got the tools. I’m stronger. I’ve seen the changes and I’ve physically and emotionally felt the rewiring. It’s true. I do have the tools. I’ve changed. I’ve come to really understand love. Loving myself and those who do love me in my life. Not just by words, but for real, sincere love.
Monday I went home and I took to heart the 2 pieces of advice. I prayed. I sought the Lord’s hand and shared with Him the details of my life. My concerns, my worries, my sorrows, my losses, how my heart has hurt for the last few months not just from the loss of my dad, but other losses.
Tuesday I had an amazing day!!! I was blessed with all that I needed. I was blessed with friends, conversations, help, love that I needed. That I knew was directly from the Lord.
Wednesday had some rough patches, but I addressed the rough patches and found so much peace. In fact, addressing the rough patches helped me recognize who I really am. How strong I am and how much confidence I’ve gained. The difficult things were handled with love and I was able to let things go and move forward.
Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to have a friend of mine do my hair. She’s done my hair for YEARS. For several years my hair has quite growing. It was breaking off all over the place. It was super unhealthy. This time my hair had grown out really healthy, wasn’t breaking off and honestly was the healthiest it had been in a very long time. It was rewarding. It helped me recognize that truly I’m doing better in all ways.
Thursday morning I woke up super early and I felt a happiness and peace I’ve not felt for a long time. The feeling, words that I heard were, “Your dad is with you. I’m here. You’ve not been forgotten or left alone. I won’t miss this. Enjoy this time and have happiness.” It was like someone turned on a switch and the light was back in my life. A light that’s been missing since my dad got sick and died. It was like it was alright for me to laugh, to be excited, happy, to look forward to the wedding, all of the good happening in our lives. There is so much good!!!
I felt like a childlike excitement. My little girl felt excited. She was happy. She was healing. She knew that she was enough. She’s loved by those that matter most. I’ve giggled and allowed myself to be excited over the smallest things. When the pictures came in for the wedding dinner I just couldn’t wait for Sarah to see them and I called her and she came right over. We celebrated together.
When the Perry’s called and said they were coming a day earlier to stay with us and help with the wedding and I get to have Oliver here who brings out such a great love in my heart I squealed. It was all I could do to not tell the boys!!! I’ve been giddy all day about them coming tomorrow.
When Brayden and Sarah said come and see our apartment last night I said let’s go. We went over there and instead of my normal this looks great and let’s go I sat and enjoyed time in their apartment. We laughed and took pictures and just had a great time at their place. It was wonderful!!!
I’m sharing. I’m sharing my giddiness! I’m excited to share my childlike happiness. Until writing this post and having a little anxiety hit me tonight over a situation I’ve laughed, been light hearted and just found so much real joy. I’ve felt my dad with me. I know that he’s leading the way and taking care of things for me and my family so that these wonderful things coming this next week will happen in a wonderful way.
I’m so grateful for the wonderful advice I received on Monday, but also for all of the work I’ve done for myself over the last couple of years so that the rewiring is in place and I’m able to feel the spirit, feel of my dad’s love and sincerely enjoy these 10 days, actually 6 now. I’m grateful for the change of heart. . .for the light switch being turned on and for the love that surrounds me - real love!
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A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity