So far, 2018 has been the best year and hardest year on record for me. As many of you know, I have been absent from Jacksonville since mid-January. Here is the story.
My father became ill in January. After four separate stints in the hospital and rehab, he was placed in Hospice care and died on April 29th. In the midst of this painful time, Russ and I were blessed with our first grandchild, Sebastian Elliot, born February 6th. I have put over 5000 miles on my car traveling from here to Shreveport to Houston and back and forth and back and forth. It is amazing how much you think about and things you discover when you are alone in a car for hours.
First, adding to your family brings immense joy and, in my case, intense pain. People have always said that grandchildren show you how much deeper love can be. When I saw our first born holding his first born, my heart was overfull. Knowing my father would probably not get to know him made my heart feel intensely empty.
Secondly, watching someone die is hard. I am sixty years old and had never been through the process. My father was always strong; never ill. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in November of 2016, we watched him slowly begin to leave. Once his physical health began failing, our “long goodbye” became short. I was privileged to be with him as he left this Earth. I have never felt such agony mixed with such awe at the peace that finally came for him.
Thirdly, GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL. Even though people you know seem to withdraw, God is there. When you feel you are alone in a room full of family, God is there. When you stand at your daddy’s grave, God is there. When you walk away from that grave, God is there.
A New Normal. That’s what I’ve been saying since April 29th. Truthfully, the only normal we will ever need is the knowledge that God will provide and carry us through the pains and joys of this life.