When Does It Get Easier?
Two days ago, April 22nd, marked 8 months since my dad passed away. I hadn’t thought about it until one of my siblings sent a message on our family thread and as I read it I cried. . .the feelings were right there, close to the surface, just like when I lost him. It didn’t take but a second for tears to come and then the reflection of how things have been over the last 8 months and how much I miss him.
Then yesterday, April 23rd, was the groundbreaking for the Lindon Temple. The church shared a link so we could watch and listen to the talks and see the groundbreaking. As we were getting it pulled up I started crying and honestly the tears didn’t stop for probably 2 hours. As I listened to the talks and prayers I thought about my dad. When the Lindon Temple was announced he was so excited. He had the opportunity to be involved with the Mt. Timpanogos Temple construction and the cornerstone and because of his involvement we as a family were super blessed with opportunities.
My dad has a great love of temples - a love that was unique. He inspired us to have a great love for the temple. Yesterday I shared this on my Facebook wall as tears streamed down my cheeks:
I'm sitting here watching the Lindon Temple Groundbreaking - listening to the talks. The spirit is so strong and my tears are flowing.
As I've been listening I'm finding myself thinking about my dad and his sincere, childlike excitement for the Lindon Temple. My dad always had such a great love for the temple - amazing, deep love.
My dad and mom served at the Bishop Storehouse for years. My dad ALWAYS had a list of things he wanted to do at the storehouse - he always accomplished what was on his list even when it seemed impossible. His faith and love was strong.
At my dad's funeral I visited with the manager of the Lindon Storehouse and I jokingly asked what projects my dad was in the middle of or what things he had on his list, that he didn't get done and the manager shared with me, "Your dad's list was complete. He didn't have anything left on his list. A few weeks ago he was really focused on getting a framed picture of the rendition of the Lindon Temple hung at the storehouse. It was really important to your dad and he accomplished that - its the last project he did before getting sick." This was the last thing on his list and he completed it before passing.
I can't help but think that my dad is here in spirit celebrating this groundbreaking. I wish he was here in person, but take comfort through the temples that Families are Forever.
That’s the end of my facebook post, but following that post I felt so many different emotions. Quite honestly whenever I think about him being gone I think no he’s not, he’s coming back. This isn’t real. It can’t be real. Why did he have to go? He was so careful and didn’t fear Covid. Things shouldn’t have gone this way. I find myself feeling anger - anger that I can’t really describe. It just doesn’t make sense. And then I think how strong is my testimony of eternal families and life after death and the resurrection and that I will see him again. I’ve always thought I had a strong testimony of these things, but dang, losing my dad has challenged me. I honestly don’t think there’s anything more that I want than to be with him again, to see him, to have those conversations that we didn’t get, to embrace, to hear his voice and laughter again. Why do we have to experience death? Why do we have to lose loved ones?
And then I think, it’s been 8 months, I should feel better about this. I should be able to accept that he’s gone by now. The tears shouldn’t be so close to the surface at this point. I’m being too sensitive and should just move on and things shouldn’t trigger me so easily and quickly. I look at others that have lost loved ones and they’ve got it together, seem to be managing so much better. They seem to be happy and understand a bigger picture and have found their peace with the loss. Why can’t I find peace with this? Why can’t I feel that this is the Lord’s plan? Why can’t I think to myself and know that my dad is happier and healthier?
He never feared death. I have always feared death. Why can’t I feel my dad’s peace? I’ve had the spiritual experiences. I’ve felt peace. I’ve felt my dad. In priesthood blessings I’ve heard very tender words and truth spoken about my dad and I know the things that have been spoken in blessings are truth - I’ve felt them in my heart. I’ve had prayers answered. My testimony has been strengthened. I’ve felt the understanding of what my dad went through and what took his life. I know that the veil is thin and he’s with us and watching over us. I know he’s aware of each of us and we’ve not been forgotten by him.
I know in time we will be with him again. . .but it’s just not fair! I know dad, life’s not fair. You’ve always told me that. I get it and in most things I can accept that life’s not fair, but this isn’t one that I was ready for. Well, you know, we’re not ready for most of what life throws at us. Dangit! Life! I wish I could learn quicker. This pain in my heart is so real and I miss you dad.
So, I go through all of this and then the tears stop and I get moving through life again. Living my life. Thinking how would dad have done things? What did dad teach me? I have to keep going. Doing good. Serving. Loving. Drawing closer to my Heavenly Father and Savior. Seeking to live a righteous life so that I can be with my dad again.
Then yesterday afternoon as I was pondering the groundbreaking of the Lindon Temple and my dad and knowing that he was there yesterday in spirit and I’m sure super excited to be a part of the work I thought my dad can do all he wants now. He doesn’t have his health ailments. He doesn’t have to hope that he’s in a position or given an opportunity to help with the temple. He doesn’t have any earthly restrictions. He’s ready! He has all of his construction knowledge and he can use all of that knowledge to help. We know that the veil is thin and the spirits on the other side help with the temples. They are just as important as those of us here on earth in the Lord’s work. As I felt these feelings yesterday I thought alright I know, I know this is a part of the plan. I picture my dad being sooooo happy and rejoicing and feeling so good and ready to go. Nothing holding him back. What a blessing. He lived his life loving the Lord. He wanted to serve even more, but his health was definitely a challenge.
Writing this blog I’ve cried through it. These are my feelings. My heart aches. I’ve never experienced so much of a broken heart. I miss him more than any word could explain. I long for him and his embrace and to hear the words “I love you sweetheart.” Even as I typed those words I could hear him saying these words to me - I know he’s whispering these words to me. Death is a very interesting thing. Losing a loved one brings so many different feelings and I’m learning that there is no right or wrong way to heal, to mourn, to process the feelings of losing a loved one. Grief is a powerful thing and it’s real. You never know when you’re going to laugh, cry, long for, ache, find peace, happiness, feel the spirit, be angry, think life is just unfair, want more answers, long for that conversation, to hear their voice again, feel their touch and the list goes on.
So, in answer to my blog title - When Does It Get Easier? Well, that is for each of us individually to answer and there is no right or wrong answer. What I do know is that the Lord is aware of us and relates to all of our different feelings and is there for us. We are never alone in this journey. We can be blessed with loved ones, friendships and the gospel to help us get through one minute by minute, step by step to get through life and make the most of it. Healing is a journey with no time frame.
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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