Thursday, May 24, 2012

Practicing what I preach

As most of you probably know, Aimee's death was preceded by almost exactly a year by her father's. Terry had been battling cancer, and on December 19 of 2010, he passed away. Aimee was devastated, although ever the caretaker, she put off her own grief for a long time to help others with theirs. But by last fall, that was starting to shift.
Aimee and her dad Terry in October 2010

During the fall of 2010, we had moved Aimee's parents out to Washington State from Indiana so we (she) could be closer and help them more through her father's illness. Those last few months of Terry's life were filled with Aimee taking care of him. A year later, as we moved into the fall of 2011, Aimee was flooded with memories of taking care of her dad and the time they'd spent together that previous fall, and she was filled with a deep sadness over his passing. She had been very close to her father, and his loss was hard for her to bear.

When she would get particularly sad, I used to try and do what I could to comfort her. Here is one of the things I used to say to her:
"The separation from your father seems so long now, in the context of the rest of your life. But also remember that in the context of eternity, this time away from him is more like the blink of an eye. When you're reunited in heaven, you'll never be apart again, and this brief time will seem so short, so insignificant compared to that. Remember any given day that was really bad when you were 5 years old? Probably not. That's how this will feel then. I know it doesn't take away the pain you feel, but I hope it offers some comfort that it's only temporary, and your time with him will be eternal."
I knew these words didn't offer much comfort at the time I said them, but I hoped that as time passed she would find some reassurance in them. Of course, I had no idea that her earthly separation from her father would last only a few short months more, and that her reunification with him was imminent.

Now comes the big question: can I practice what I preached?

I am now going through a similar situation as Aimee was - earthly separation from one I loved dearly (and still do). I 'know' that compared to seeing her in eternity, this separation now will seem like a blink of an eye, but can I really find any comfort in that when all I can really see or really know is the next 30 or so years I expect to live?

And here's the other really hard part for me to cope with. One of the great joys in having a spouse is having someone to share your life with. Someone who will be a support to you in times of trouble, and encourage you when things are rough. Sure, I will see Aimee again in heaven but that doesn't do me much good for the rest of THIS life, does it? And I think THAT'S the key point I missed when I was trying to console Aimee. It's not that she wouldn't ever see her father again, it's that when she needed him here in this life to encourage her or comfort her, he wouldn't be here. There is nothing anyone could do or say that would have changed that for her. And the same goes for me now (and Aimee's other loved ones).

So I think I will have a hard time practicing what I preach, because I understand better how the loss really impacts you.

(PS: I SINCERELY hope and pray that unlike Aimee with her father, I am not too soon reunited with her! As much as I miss Aimee, I have a beautiful little girl to raise, and I need to be there for her for a long time.)


  1. Pat, I've been reading the posts on your blog. I stumbled upon the link on a friend's facebook. Know that you have many praying for you across the globe and that we all share in this hardship with you. I think it's awesome that you are able to use this blog to communicate your feelings and share your story with others.

    Remember that now you have two angels smiling down upon you, encouraging you always to lift your head and smile. Don't hide your hurt, but allow Rowan to see the outpouring love you have for her and her mother.

    God Bless you Pat and may your life continue to shine upon others.


    1. Amanda,
      Thanks so much for reading my blog and commenting on this post. It really is comforting to know that many others are sharing this experience with me.