“I think we should rename me Rocky Balboa.”
That’s what I texted my friend on Monday morning. With my eyes looking bruised and literally swollen shut, after a night – actually day and night – of endless crying.
She had Skyped me the night before, right in the middle of it. Poor thing.
I answered the Skype call and said, “When did I become so freaking high maintenance?!?!?”
People, I’m not a big crier. I sang to my best friend’s 11-year-old daughter while she laid in a hospice bed dying of cancer. I sang at her wake and her funeral and loved on her family.
And. I. Didn’t. Cry.
Now? Suddenly? I am a crier.
Here’s the thing. It’s been three months since my dad died. And it just hit me he’s not coming back.
I know, I’m quick like that.
I’ve known it in my head. And I’ve felt it in my heart. But never at the same time.
I had avoided living with it simultaneously.
When I would think about it, look at photos, talk about him and the circumstances of his death to people, I steeled myself. I willed my heart to stop beating for those moments so I could say what needed to be said without feeling the sting of the words.
And when my heart beat in rhythm with his that is now missing – when tears would begin to sting my eyes – my head would remind me that crying hurts this broken body. Nausea would taste bitter in my mouth and the migraine would creep up my neck and I would will myself to stop. My mind would steel up against the inevitable.
Until one day. Yesterday. When that Band-Aid of shock got ripped off.
Fast and painful.
My mind and my heart knew it simultaneously.
He’s not coming back.
That happy laugh and smile. Those big hands and soft hugs.
God, we miss that man.
So, why am I telling you this? Mainly because grief happens to all of us. And if this felt crazy when it happened to you, I want to let you know you weren’t. And if you experience grief someday in the future, I want you to know there are no rules or schedules wrapped up in a neat and tidy package.
Or maybe I’m just writing it to tell myself: Sometimes, it’s ok to be broken.
And if you feel broken today, we are here. Listening. Ready to pray for you.
By Sara Frankl, Gitzen Girl