Joy in the morning

Your memory's the sunshine every new day brings

I still find it difficult to put into words how the loss of my father has impacted me, but at the same time, I can’t write about this summer without speaking to that loss. I miss my dad, and yet a part of me still doesn’t really believe that he is gone. Shock and the suddenness of his death contribute to that disbelief. I feel guilty when I enjoy things these days, or when I feel happy. It’s part of why I haven’t posted much since he died at the end of June. It made me feel guilty when I thought about coming on here to post about all of the fun things we did this summer. I know that my dad would want me to keep doing these things and keep making memories for Coen instead of stagnating in my grief, but I still can’t help but feel guilty for moving on with my life.

Mom & Dad before dad’s high school reunion

Don’t get me wrong; there are days when all I can do is cry, even when I want to and need to hold myself together. Other days I feel guilty for not grieving enough or for feeling happy about good things that are happening.

In the days that followed my father’s death I started listening to the original Nickel Creek album on repeat. There is really no reason why other than the fact that the songs are soothing to my soul and bring me comfort. Coen got into it too, and now anytime I switch to something else he invariably asks for “the fox song” and we’ll go right back to listening to those sweet and soothing bluegrass melodies.

The song When You Come Back Down is not about death, but it always makes me think of my dad. The song is about letting someone spread their wings and follow their dreams even though you want to hold onto them and keep them with you. I know that does not describe every parent/child relationship, but it is indeed the way both of my parents were with me and my siblings.

The line, “Your memory’s the sunshine every new day brings” is a kicker for a whole other reason though.

Not long after my dad died, I read an article about a woman who documented her parents going through terminal cancer at the same time. Her dad told her to look for him in the rainbows. I would never wish terminal cancer or disease on my dad (my family has faced its fair share), but I do wish that I had been able to talk to him and say goodbye.

I may not have had the chance to hear him tell me where to look for him after he was gone, but I do have a trove of memories of my dad. One thing about him that never changed was that he was an early riser and a morning person.

Because of that I’ve decided that I will look for him in the dawning of every new day.

Unlike my dad, I am not a morning person. However, I choose now to make mornings about joy and spending time with my dad’s memory. Instead of grumbling when my early riser comes into my room demanding breakfast, I am determined to smile, get up and enjoy that time with him.

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” -Psalm 30:5

Or, as Cool Hand Luke puts it in their song, The Fires of Life:
“Weeping may last through the night–the longest night of your life–I can promise you that rejoicing comes in the morning.”

I’m holding onto that promise.

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4 thoughts on “Joy in the morning

  1. I think everything you’re going through is perfectly normal. It’s hard to lose someone we hold so dear to death – it’s so hard that life really does just go on … try not to beat yourself up for what you are feeling – good or bad … As so many people have reminded me, especially going through the bad days of cancer – feel the feelings and then move on, try not to get stuck down in the sad feelings. I lost both of my parents to cancer – they were each hard – Dad was the more recent and I hear echos of my feelings in your words and experiences. He never told me what to look for, but I suddenly started seeing white moths … I think whenever your morning person wakes you … it’s like your Dad checking in – letting you know that he’s ok & you will be, too. Hugs!
    Give yourself time – it really does help. So much about the 1st year really is so hard. You’ll always miss him, but time somehow softens things a little.

  2. Beautiful words from the heart! I can’t yet imagine the grief of losing a parent, but your post made me smile and think of my grandmother and now I will be searching for ways to “find” her throughout my day.

  3. What a great way to turn your mourning into joy. Oh, I just realized that could also be written as morning into joy. I’m not a morning person either, but my Dad also was a morning person. It amazed me to hear him talk about going in to work at 5 in the morning because he didn’t have to deal with traffic.

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