I have been trying to put my finger on one of the bigget differences between losing Austin and losing my dad. After all, both were sudden and completely took us by surpise. Both will be missed immensely by all the people who's lives they touched. In fact, I had to chuckle as I realized just how much they were alike when it came to loving people.
The differences that jumped out, when I would thought about it quickly, were: one was my son and the other was my father.... one was in an "unnatural" order to lose someone, the other was the "natural" order.... Then one day it hit me....
"I can't imagine" vs "I know, I lost my dad (or mom) last year....."
When you lose a child the majority of people have never experienced that kind of loss, they cannot understand, and don't want to even try to imagine it. And, I don't want them to ever understand. Almost unanimously (with the exception of the few who have been there) each person's comment has been, 'I cannot even imagine...."
However, when you lose a parent, especially at my age, there are a large number of people who have treaded those waters before you. You are not alone.... There is comfort in knowing that, although you miss your dad (or mom) deeply, the memories keep you going. Just look at everyone around you who is living proof of of this.
Just the other day, I shared with a friend that ever since my father died (a little over a month ago) I have had peace. I think part of it is because I know he's in Heaven with Austin. As crazy as it sounds, there's a comfort to the thought of Austin being with his Grandpa. But now I think perhaps there is another reason - so many others have been where I am now (including my father himself) - so many others have mourned and continue enjoying life and savoring the memories they have of their father (or mother).
While driving back to NY after my dad died I told my boys - we have a very, very good life. We have been very blessed. Unfortunately, no matter how good it is, we all have to deal with this "crappy" part of life. And that is what it is..... "crappy"! Later I stated, "If only your Grandpa hadn't been such a loving man, darn him, then it wouldn't hurt saying good-bye." I turned to them and winked, because there is no way I would want it any other way. I have been blessed to have had a father who loved me unconditionally for the past 46 years! They have been fortunate to have had a grandpa who has loved them (and bragged about them) for as long as they have lived.... we have been blessed and I am so thankful for that. Because, even though I miss my Dad immensely, I wouldn't trade the 46-1/2 years he's been my dad for anything.
And I think those who have lost a parent would concur....
Thank you Dad for being the best Dad a girl could ask for (and the best Grandpa to my boys and best Father-in-Law to my husband). We have been blessed!