I’m writing Sarah’s Style from a whole new place today, and I’m not talking about my new favorite beach or vacation destination. I’m talking about my heart. Just a lil warning, this post isn’t going to cover my new favorite business app or date night spot. It’s going to be about my dad and personal journey through grief. So, if that strikes a familiar place for you, I’m your gal. If not, maybe this post will help provide prospective for you down the road.
– Sarah Chancey
What’s on my heart: When Their World Stops
On Tuesday, September 5th, my dad passed from complications during treatment for leukemia. The 17th would have been his 59th birthday.
My dad always told me how much he loved me, how beautiful and smart he thought I was, how proud he was of me – to the point where we would tease him about it. Now I realize that perhaps he was just trying to get a lifetime of those moments and assurances in.
I’m certainly the woman, business owner and mom that I am today because of my dad. My mom and dad absolutely gave me wind beneath my wings.
My heart is absolutely broken / my world is forever changed. I’m sad and maybe even a little mad. I’m sad that my dad is gone, that he won’t walk into my home and scoop up my son again, or teach him to golf or take him to The Masters. We had lots of sweet plans for them.
I’m sad because no one can ever replace my dad. As my uncle Don said best, “His hug was better than gold.” My dad was a man of integrity, love and perseverance.
And, I’m only mad because I just wanted more of him. But, if I’m honest, I’m not sure it ever would have been enough. How can you ever have enough time with someone so wonderful?
Since my dad’s death, life has been an absolute whirlwind. Partially because of previous plans we’d been putting off waiting for my dad’s stem cell transplant and partially by choice. Because being still is hard right now.
I’ve been so encouraged by all the texts, emails and calls. And, while I’d love to assure everyone that I’m all a-okay over here, that would be a lie. My grief counselor has encouraged my family to embrace that.
Maybe you are navigating grief and beating yourself up daily – feeling like you just need to “pull it together”. I want to encourage you to give yourself grace in this season. Embrace the tears, the mess, the feelings and allow yourself to grieve if you still need to. There is no “right” amount of time to process trauma and loss, everyone is different.
Even though my faith means everything to me, I’ve got some MAJOR questions right now. I sat, spent the night, prayed, talked to and honest to goodness fought alongside my dad in the ICU, while he was on life support over Labor Day Weekend. Then I had to call my husband to come up to the hospital and do the unthinkable, to help us walk away from my dad, my hero. I believed every minute of that journey that my dad was going to be healed and he wasn’t. I didn’t expect God to let me down like that. Ouch.
I’m so glad I know a God who can handle my questions, anger and sadness. He can handle the wreck cancer has left. And, I thought I’d just be real here in the meantime. We all are faced with loss and trauma at some point in our lives. And, I’m hoping that this post encourages someone out there that they are not crazy OR alone. That God can and wants to handle their questions and anger – and love them through it.
I have been especially encouraged by this bit of advice a friend passed on from missionary Ben Mathis (a long time family friend):
“When our Dad dies, it creates an empty spot that was always filled by Dad – good ones, lousy ones, absent ones – like it or not – they created a presence that part of us figured would just always be there. And, in a lot of ways, he still is. You probably talk like him, maybe laugh, walk, smile, hug, cry, etc. like him. Dads live on in us – and that helps keep their memories right next to our hearts.”
Wow, spot on. I can count on ONE hand how many times my dad didn’t show up, let me down or allowed me to worry one minute about him. ONE HAND y’all. I’ve been incredibly blessed for 33 years by a dad who loved me unconditionally. For the first time, I’m feeling a “dad hole”. I’m determined to fill my dad hole with family, memories and most importantly my relationship with Christ. I know that this is the only path to healing. It hurts so very deeply right now. But, I know with time my hole will grow more shallow and filled with eternal hope. I yearn for that in this season.
My last thought, as I ask myself what is the one thing my dad would want me to share in his parting is this. A note from a past sermon he prepared that I found on his phone: “Our ultimate hope doesn’t rest in a Cure for Cancer, but on the Coming of Christ!” Christ was the most important thing to my dad, even in the midst of his battle with cancer. And, I’m comforted knowing that my dad is with him in heaven now. And that because of the faith my dad passed to me, every-single-day, I too will meet him again in heaven.
Love you daddy.