Oh, how time flies! In November this year will be 3 years since my dad passed away. He was the second person really close to my heart that I lost; the first was my older sister. Our first born. I had had a challenging year that time and couldn’t wait for it to be over but I sure did not want or expect it to end that way.
My sister and I had been home on a short break just 3 weeks before the tragedy occurred. The visit home itself was a miracle, we had planned with him that we would be going home that Christmas but by God’s grace we decided to surprise him and showed up end of that September. Only God could have allowed such to happen, we didn’t know what was waiting. The short visit was but our last goodbye. I remember those few weeks being the best weeks I had had in a really long time with my dad. When we left to go back to London, I felt happy to have spent time with my family as a whole but more so with my dad. There was just something different about him then, I had connected with him more on another level and was looking forward to our next break.
Three weeks later, I was on a train home when I got a phone call from my aunt & first thing she told me to do me was to sit down if I wasn’t already; I laughed a bit at her drama. Like ‘girl, just speak!’ But suddenly I was stricken by an unknown fear and that is when she told me that my dad was in a coma. It felt as if my heart was being squeezed & I was losing breathe. When I got home that evening, I knelt and prayed and really trusted that God would heal him.
I guess we always hope for the best, for healing especially for our loved ones.
3 days later at 04:00am my aunt, swung the door of our room open & switched on the light. You know those moments that make you want to scream at the person disrupting your sleep? Yeah, that was one of them. Anyway, she had a phone in her hand, stood there speechless and seemingly in shock. She needed not to utter any word, we knew what we had feared had nevertheless occurred. I didn’t cry, I lay back down, said a short prayer & slept. Next thing I knew, we were checking in at Heathrow airport & I was just listening to music, praising God. I was in great denial while my sister cried all the way to Kigali.
Was it denial or was it that I hoped I would pray and he would miraculously wake up? I only accepted it a few days later when we laid him to rest after my prayers had hopelessly failed. I can count how many times I cried through that period, I encouraged myself, I felt I had to be strong for my family, I felt that since I was a Christian & had a strong relationship with God, I wasn’t allowed to feel pain but just had to believe in him. I was sure He had a plan, I didn’t know it but I knew He had one.
My first true encounter with God was in that season and he sure comforted me this one specific night, when I felt him say it would be ‘okay’. What I realize now is that that didn’t mean that I wasn’t allowed to feel pain or grieve. I had such great religious thoughts that I just numbed the pain to show the people that knew what a “good Christian” I was that I was strong.
It wasn’t until this year that the turtle came out of its shell. I started seeing my dad everywhere, in everything, smelt his perfume on a certain gentleman at church a couple of times and the rest of the service I would be lost in thoughts of my dad.
About a month or two ago, I saw a man I was told had been my dad’s best friend from childhood, they were given same nicknames ‘Brown’ because they also looked alike. I had a plate of food in one hand and a fork in the other. When I saw him, I felt strength leave my body; I dropped the fork & burst out in tears, I cried more than I had cried in his funeral.
The numb shell was wearing off I suppose. I tried to figure out what was happening to me, and thanks to my counselor friend I found out I was actually now experiencing the grief I should have experienced when he passed on. I am also at a place in my walk with God where he is just revealing to me more about myself and it’s as if he is telling me ‘it’s okay to feel pain and hurt. Bring it to me, I will take care of you’ whereas before I had felt that I had to be strong to represent my God well.
I just want to tell you that being a Christian does not make you any less human or immune to pain and hurt but instead it makes you a human with a greater person living inside of you and that person helps you to process and deal with pain rather than just numbing it because otherwise, you walk around like a ticking bomb waiting to explode. God doesn’t want you to numb that hurt but instead wants to tenderly hold you in your pain in the fullness of his love and poor in you healing that only He can give.
Last Friday, I went to a meeting, one of the people in the meeting also looked exactly like my dad, my emotions went through the roof, and I lost focus the minute he opened his mouth to speak. Goodness, he also spoke like him, how was this even possible? I had to hold my tears long enough for the meeting to end. It really felt like I SAW HIM AGAIN.
I thank God for the grace He is giving me to walk through this season, I won’t lie that it’s an easy one. An old wound has been opened but the freedom I finally feel to grieve is wonderful. Putting on a mask of ‘strength’ trying to impress people or God himself is not what he requires of you. Being authentic and vulnerable with him is all he needs from you to bring you healing. Pretending takes much more energy than just being real.
He is reminding me that it’s in my weakness that his strength is revealed not in my pretense of strength. And so I invite you to join me as I embark on this journey of being real with myself and with God.
Open up and allow him to nurse your wounds dear beloved! He specializes in the business of healing souls and mending hearts.