Grief creeps up on you…

Over the last few months I’ve heard that many times. Because it’s true.

You’ll be swimming along, going about ‘normal’ life and suddenly WHAM! Something reminds you of what you’ve lost.

The thing is, in my experience, it’s normally a mixture of happiness and grief all rolled into one sucker punch. It might be that there’s something you think ‘I’ll tell x about that’ only, in the same instance that you tangibly feel the closeness of the relationship, you also remember that it’s been wrenched apart by death.

Or how about those moments you’re going through the rhythms of life – mealtimes, trips out, church, birthdays, celebrations… Each with its particular tie to that person. Each with its suitcase full of shared joys. Each with a gapping hole.

That happened today.

It’s my youngest’s birthday. So much joy to be shared! Opening presents, seeing the smiles of delighted shock. Dad would have loved that.

Present giving was a particular favourite of Dad’s. In fact, when he was really struggling to even get up from his chair in October he still decided he would take our kids out to ‘Smyths’ with all its pleasures of toys stacked floor to ceiling and give them the pick of the shop. He battled through pain to do that. But it brought him joy.

My biggest memories of birthdays growing up were Mum’s wonderful birthday cakes she’d pour heart and soul into, and Dad possibly taking more pleasure out of our presents than us! Two times particularly stand out – both from the house I first remember in Keele. One was a toy lawn mower and the second was a Muppet Babies drum kit. I remember him excitedly giving me a demonstration on it.

And so, the memories that bring me smiles also bring on the tears. Happiness at what we had. Sadness at what we won’t experience again (for now).

A few weeks ago I penned these lines for a song:

Each memory of love
A reminder of loss

Until the Lord comes or he calls us home…

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“I have called you by name…”
“He rules by the force of love…”