Losing Dad: A Family Caregivers Journey Through Grief, Loss, and Finding Purpose Again
Hello again. Is anybody there? I know. It's my fault. I stopped communicating. I lost my purpose. My Dad died.
Ya, it's been a long time since I blogged last. Some would argue too long. I wouldn't disagree. Considering the tagline of our Caregiver Cards blog is "continuing the communication", I could see your point. I didn't continue. I stopped communicating. I took a break.
My Dad died.
For those who don't know, my Dad passed away in November after bravely facing brain cancer for the 3rd time in his life. He fought valiently; he was tired; he went home.
I was Dad's caregiver.
Being a family caregiver is not new to me. It's been my 3rd time as well. All 3 family members (grandparents and Dad) lived with Alzheimer's or related dementia during their final years. All 3 have since "gone home".
Why, this time, did I feel the pain of grief so hard?
The loss of a parent is never easy! It feels as if 1/2 of you is ripped away for a moment.
Yes, I am grateful to have had Dad in my life longer then his original expectancy. His first battle with brain cancer, during 1987, was a massive stage 4 glioblastoma that left him with a 0.7% chance of surving. However more years we were gifted with him in our lives, still doesn't lesson the actual pain of loss.
Loss of a telephone call. Loss of running errands. Loss of family days and holidays. Loss of a smile. Just loss.
I also lost my sense of purpose. Afterall, being a caregiver is so consuming. It requires a lot of our body, mind, time and spirit. My life, business, family life was still running; I just lost a desire to stretch and make personal connections.
My dad needed me. Now he was gone.
I felt guilt. I felt lost. I felt less valued.
The entire caregiving journey (beginning and end) is purposeful. I lost focus of that.
Thankfully others didn't. My family didn't. My friends didn't. My colleagues didn't. My church didn't.
My Lord didn't.
I have been thankfully reminded that their is purpose after loss. My soul is stirred. My passion is invigorated.
This simple reminder found in the Holy Bible. Psalm 90:14-17. God was speaking to me to get back and work.
Whatever kind of work we are called to, it will probably occupy a large proportion of our life. Work is an important part of God’s ‘economy’. It is part of what we were created to do, and will be part of what we do in Heaven. (Even if you do not believe in the Lord, I hope the words of this Bible verse do offer you comfort in understanding you have a role and purpose in life.)
Have you ever thought, "What I'm doing will outlive me?!"
That's what Psalm 90, and, I hope, my words are conveying to you. However short and fleeting life is (and it is), it is possible for your work to outlive you. Verse 17 emphasizes "May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us: establish the work ouf our hands for us--yes, establish the work of our hands." Whatever role your hands fill, as a spouse, sibling, parent, friend, worker bee, professional, caregiver (you get the idea) may you always see your importance, your intrinsic value in this world, your purpose as God has planned.
Losing Dad has reminded me although life is fleeting, our work can have lasting value.
May the Lord's favor rest upon you. May your work outlive you, creating a lasting impression and impact for good.
Pain can provide a purposeful pathway.
If you feel comfortable, please take a moment to share your journey through grief and loss, and how/if you found a purpose through it.