While reading a book last night, I fell apart...again. The story was about three children who are facing their father's impending death due to cancer. Perhaps it was because the writer was talented. Perhaps its because I'm a few weeks short of the birthday that will indicate that I've lived longer than my dad ever did. More likely though, its because after all this time, I still grieve.
I grieve the Grandfather I know he would have been. I mourn the loss of his influence in my life. I sorrow for the moments with my kids and my family that I know we can't share with him. I should be over it by now. I should be able to let go of the pain and just bask in the memories. After all, he's been gone far longer than he lived in my life. I've fought with this concept for years, until my grandmother died.
She was 96 years old, was in a care facility and had over 121 kids, grand-kids, great grand kids and even great, great grand-kids. She was loved, admired and celebrated for being the amazing woman she truly was. Yet, I stood beside her casket, held her cold, empty hand and cried.
My uncle Kendall was there with his wife and I apologized for falling apart. "I know she's better off with her husband, kids and her family in heaven. Its selfish for me to feel so much pain when I know she is happy and has been welcomed home with love and honor."
My uncle quoted a scripture to me from Doctrine and Covenants section 49 in which he told me that tears are supposed to be shed for those we love. Its a measure of how much we loved them. I've pondered this idea for some time as my mother-in-law passed away, a good friend who was like a father to me passed and even as I have shed many a tear for neighbors and friends who grieve the loss of their loved ones. Shouldn't it be easier when they are old? Shouldn't we be happy for our little ones who've gone home to live in love and peace with God? Shouldn't our belief in eternity and forever heal our sorrows?
The answer is no.
While its true that grief is not a measure of love, its also true that love lasts forever. Its the only thing that does. If you loved someone then it never ends. It doesn't diminish with the appropriate amount of time. It doesn't lessen as you live longer and their life span was but a mere moment. The breadth and depth of your love cannot be measured in time, so why would your sorrow?
Hope, laughter, memories and other loves will find places in your broken heart, but it will remain broken. Healing, scarred, battered, wounded but broken.
Hearts aren't like concrete or glass. Once broken they become weaker and more fragile. While you're healing and hurting your heart will shrivel, ache, and feel like it may kill you...healing hurts. Your heart will knit itself back together. It will be stronger in the long run and bigger for the space it has made for your love.
Feel it, embrace it and welcome the eternal love that will never end. The tears will come. Often and painful because your love is immeasurable. Until you and the ones you love are back together again, your love will be constant and distant with out a physical presence to assure you that the pain and sorrow will not last forever. I never expect to 'get over' my father's death. I will never 'get over' how much I love him. It has become a bitter sweet reminder of what I miss and what awaits me in a beautiful future. If I can just be patient and believe that my love is not lost on nothingness. Its a collection of everything I'll give to my Dad, my kids, my family and friends. I'll take the grief and sorrow...he was worth loving!