As my friends and family members know, my Dad went home to be with the Lord on March 22, 2019. He told me that he had accepted Jesus in his heart, prior to passing, which took a great load off my mind. Just knowing that he is with the Lord and no longer suffering and in pain gives me a great sense of peace. Still, I miss him and sometimes forget he’ s not here anymore, like today when I was thinking about making a garden pea salad and I thought “I wonder if Dad would like some.” Mom used to make garden pea salad when I was a kid (of course I didn’t like it at first, but I acquired a taste for it over time) and Dad and I liked it a lot. Dad used to tell me if I didn’t like something I had to at least try it. This back-fired on him when he kept making me try fried green tomatoes, because I grew to love them and he said I “ate them all up from him,” (lol). When Mom was working as a live-in CNA caregiver, I would sometimes make garden pea salad and share some with Dad. She made it with garden peas, boiled eggs, onion, mayonnaise and salt and pepper. I added macaroni to it and then later some spam and Dad took it to the next level by frying the spam. I come from a family of good cooks and this is something we all enjoyed doing.
The First Stage of Grief is Denial
There are five stages of grief. The first one is denial (or shock). I guess that’s kind of where I am. I wake up sometimes and forget that Dad is not here anymore and when I think back about everything we went through with him and the fact that he’s gone, it almost doesn’t seem real. It’s like, yes we went through all of that, it really happened, and now it’s over and he’s gone. I prayed the first couple of mornings, after his passing, for the Lord to tell him that I said good morning and that I love him. I woke up the next day dreaming that I heard him laughing. I think this was the Lord’s way of letting me know that he’s okay and he’s having a wonderful time in heaven.
God is Merciful I know that not everyone has this type of assurance and that is what can make the grieving process much harder to go through. When people pass suddenly, without warning, there often is no time to prepare yourself for it and then if you don’t know if they went to heaven or not, it’s that much worse. I just want to say that God is very merciful. I have heard of many near death experiences and instances where a person died, who was not prepared to meet the Lord, but they had an encounter with Him, which changed them and they were allowed to come back and tell about it. One man was a professor and an atheist, when he encountered Christ (after his spirit left his body), he was totally changed and was sent back to tell about it (he became a preacher of the Gospel after that). Another man said he didn’t really know how to pray, but as he was lying in the ambulance dying, the words of the Lord’s prayer came up before him and he prayed that prayer and the Lord saved him. He went to heaven, but he told the Lord, I need to go back so my mother (who prayed for him) will know I made it, so he was allowed to return.
Going Through The Grieving Process While They’re Still Alive
Something I have also learned, by watching others go through it, but also by going through it myself, (when our 7 year old grandson passed away from a cancerous brain tumor (7 years ago) and then my Dad, who had multiple health problems and then was on kidney dialysis for the last 5+ years of his life), is that when it’s a long, debilitating illness, you start gong through the grieving process while the person is still alive, because you’re watching them gradually decline (it’s like you’re losing them a little at a time), and when they finally do pass and are no longer suffering, it’s a relief. So, while I miss my Dad, I’m thankful to know he’s not suffering anymore.
We Do Not Grieve Like Those Who Have No Hope I Thessalonians 4:13 says: “…we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep (in death), that you may not grieve (for them) as the rest do who have no hope (beyond the grave)”, The Amplified Bible. For Christians, this life is not the end. We have a Savior who conquered death, hell, sin and the grave and I am encouraged by the fact that I know I will see him and the rest of my loved ones again one day.
I went by “Aunt Martha’s Produce Stand” today and bought some green tomatoes. Guess what we’re having for dinner? I’m thinking of you Dad. God bless you all.