Early this past weekend, my father-in-law passed away. It happened fast, and was completely unexpected. I guess you can never really prepare for death, but I can’t help but feel it would’ve been easier somehow if we’d known it was coming. And though I know life is not fair, that many good men die far too young, I can’t help but dwell on the seeming injustice of it all. Constantly in my mind is the thought that he should have had more time. More time for family nights, sitting on the deck drinking a cold beer; more time to watch his grandson play in the pool; more time to teach him how to fish, and catch crabs off the end of the dock; more time to hold the new grandchild due later this year; more time to watch them both grow, and enjoy what should have been the golden years of his life; more time…
Being pregnant, I worry how the stress and grief will affect the new life growing in me. At first I tried to stay calm, but I think holding back what I was feeling only served to make things worse. It certainly felt worse. The “experts” say you should try to stay relaxed, and let others take care of you. I think that’s an absurdly impossible request. You can’t make the pain, or the stress that comes with it go away. And how could I ask others to take care of me? They’re in pain, too. In many cases, those around me were far closer to this man than I was. My husband lost his father. Everything in me wants to take care of him right now, not sit back like a child and ask him in his grief to cater to me. So I say handle grief in pregnancy like you would in any other point in your life.
As a parent, I wonder what to say to my son. I don’t know if it’s a blessing or curse that he’s still too young to understand. It’s downright heartbreaking to think he won’t even remember his grandpa. The only thing I can think to do is to keep showing him pictures, and keep telling him stories about the man his grandpa was. Perhaps through our memories, my husband and I can keep his memories alive.
As a wife, I feel completely lost. I want to take care of and comfort my husband, and I don’t know how. I don’t know when to be present, and when to let him be alone. I don’t know what to say. I try to take my cues from him, but I don’t think he knows what he wants or needs from me either. I think a good deal of the grief I feel is for him. I grieve for his loss more than my own.
I can not think of what else to say, so I’ll close with a few quotes that have given me comfort.
Life is eternal and love is immortal; And death is only a horizon, And a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. Rossiter W. Raymond
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love. Washington Irving
While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.