A Journey Home, A Journey Back

On May 22, I signed off the blog to take an extended break. My private life was hopping, and honestly, I felt a little blocked in the inspiration department. It was puzzling to me that I would need months off – it’s not anything I’ve done before in my four year writing life. But God was calling me to rest, so I said goodbye and stepped into the quiet.

Well. That’s what I thought anyway.

In less than a month after starting the break, my beloved father died. He had been living with a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis for over a year and a half, so it wasn’t unexpected. But the surprising thing was that he didn’t die of the cancer. He experienced a medical complication on Tuesday, and died two days later on June 9th.

I am blessed with siblings who are loving, supportive, and dedicated to family. Every single one of my seven brothers and sisters dropped what was happening in their lives, and came to be at my dad’s bedside.

We prayed together and shared stories about the old days. We talked about our sorrow in saying goodbye, and our joy in knowing that dad wouldn’t be in pain much longer. And finally, we were all together when my father, Ralph G. Ryan, quietly finished his life on earth.

Losing my dad has been tough, harder than I ever expected. I think it’s been especially difficult because not only did I lose a father, I lost my last parent. (My mom died in 2010.) I’ve felt both sad and overwhelmed, but then again, I’ve experience the joy of knowing that dad doesn’t suffer anymore.

All these conflicting feelings needed time to be sorted out, embraced and accepted.

I know he’s closer to me now in Spirit than he ever was on earth. I know his death was a blessing, and that he’s finally home. But sometimes my friends, those thoughts don’t help all that much. I still get sad, although these days, the sadness isn’t as deep, and it doesn’t last as long.

Which brings me back to May 22nd. Now I know why God was calling me to put down my pen. He knew what was to come, and he knew I’d need time to spend with my dad and my family…and to have the time to grieve.

I have used that time over the last few months. I’ve read some really great books and spent time in prayer. I’ve visited both of my children and their families, attended a family wedding, and traveled to Colorado to visit my sister. But probably the biggest trip of all was the personal journey from the darkness of loss to the breaking dawn of acceptance and even joy. I’m beginning to experience the comfort that comes with knowing that my dad is reunited with my mom in heaven.

I’m so grateful that my heavenly Father nudged my hand, and asked me to let go for a while.

And now, three months later, I’m so glad to be back.

 

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98 thoughts on “A Journey Home, A Journey Back

  1. Oh, Ceil. I’m so sorry about the loss of your father. That is a difficult loss. Isn’t it wonderful how God gave you the gift of time before you even knew you needed it?

    ~Topaz

    • Thank you so much Topaz. I really am in amazement about the timing of the break…God was watching out for me all the time. How blessed we all are by his constant love and care. Yes! His gift of time was absolutely wonderful.

      Good to see you again!
      Ceil

  2. Dearest Ceil, First of all I am so thankful that you listened to the Lord about taking a break and that now you are back with us-those that love you and cherish your writing. Of course, I am so sad to hear of your dad’s passing-in fact, there are tears in my eyes. What really struck a chord was when you said you not only lost him, but lost your last parent. You see, I understand~my mom passed when I was 21 and my dad passed in ’91, when I was 39. I felt like an orphan-at least on earth, but was comforted know my Father is still there beside me. I miss my dad so much. I know just how your heart broke. So glad you had your brothers and sisters there with you during his last breaths. Sending you big hugs dear one. Grief will come at weird times, for me it was hearing a Bing Crosby song or seeing someone that looked like my dad. May His Spirit wrap you in His loving arms and comfort you! Sending love and huge hugs your way.
    Love, Noreen

    • Hi Noreen! Thank you so much for your understanding, and sharing your own loss with me. It does weirdly feel like I’m an orphan. But I have to say that I wasn’t prepared for the feelings of sadness to stay so long.

      I so appreciate your hugs and kind words! God bless your heart when you miss your dad too. I have a phone message on my machine from my dad that I’m not going to erase. It’s very lovely to hear him ‘talk’ sometimes.
      Blessings and a hug right back my friend,
      Ceil

  3. Hi Ceil – it’s good to see a post here again. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, but thankful that you know where he is, and that you’ll see him again. What a blessing to be able to look back and know that God had a plan, and was at work before you had a clue!

    • Hi Mari! You’re very right about knowing where my dad is. It really helps with the sadness of losing him.

      It is amazing to look back and realize the plan in the extended blog break. How great our God is!
      It was nice to be at your blog today too my friend. And it’s good to be back here.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

    • Hi Dina! Oh thank you so much for commenting, for sharing your support, and welcoming me back to the blog. You are so right. I know that my dad is right with me, and I hope to be more and more joyful about that each day.

      I’m glad to be back too!
      Ceil

  4. And I am so glad to have you back. You will continue to be in my prayers as you travel your grief journey. I’m sure your mom and dad are enjoying the heavenly joys they so richly deserve.

    • Hi Jean! Thank you for taking the time to write here, I really appreciate your prayers and thoughts. I know you’re right about my parents, and that thought is really helping me to move from sadness to acceptance and joy.

      Thank you too for hanging in there during my blog break. That means a lot!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  5. so glad you are back too, yet sad with you re your loss. Strange, isn’t it – no matter what age you are when you lose both parents, you feel like an orphan. I too am recently going through an unexpected death and been surprised at the power of the emotion of grief. More like a roller coaster. Yet God is good and with us on this ride. We can learn from these lessons such as your obedience last spring to take the break and the blessings of being with him and your family during this time, then time for you to grieve too. beautifully written and welcome back. You were missed.

    • Hi Jean! Thank you for your kind words and empathy. It really was a surprise to experience the sadness so deeply…even though I knew my dad was living with a cancer diagnosis. I have to agree with you about the feeling of being alone too.

      I’m so sorry for your loss too. Thanks be to God that he is with us with his embrace and strength. I don’t know where we’d be without our faith.
      Thanks for your welcome back to blogging! It’s great to be back, and to reconnect with my blog friends…like you 🙂
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  6. I am so sorry to hear about the death of your father. Please accept our sincerest condolences and rest assured that we are praying for him as well as you and the whole of your family.

    Such sad events in our lives, shattering as they are, are often accompanied with the re-assurance that our loved ones are in Heaven with our Lord.

    Praying for you always.

    God bless you and yours.

    • Hi Victor! Thank you so much for your powerful prayers, I certainly know that I need them. Where would I be without prayer and faith, and the power of God’s grace?

      You’re right about the knowing that God is with my dad, and he can rejoice with him and all his deceased family and friends. It really helps to know that.
      God bless you too my friend,
      Ceil

  7. Ceil, I’m so glad you’re back! Losing a parent is hard even if it is expected. I lost my dad over 20 yrs. ago and my mom joined him back in April of this year. It’s up and down as you well know. I miss them, but I rejoice to know they are in a far better place and have no pain.

    May God bless you and comfort you as you continue on in your journey of life! And again, Welcome back!

    • Hi Gayl! Please accept my condolences on the death of your mother. You know exactly what I am feeling, losing the last parent. ‘Up and down’…yes that’s exactly what it’s like.

      Thank you for welcoming me back to the blogging world, it’s so good to be back. Especially when I am welcomed by such good blog friends, and you are definitely one of them. I look forward to renewing our blog relationship!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  8. Hi Ceil,

    I have gone through difficulties of my own, but mine was a severe depression that lasted several weeks (in February and March), and I had even stopped blogging for a while, so I have been out of sync. This photo is very beautiful, and I am so sorry for your loss. I lost both my parents back in the 80’s (my mother in 1983 when I was 26, and my father in 1984 when I was 27, and I am an only child), so I really feel your loss, believe me. Thank you so much for sharing this post, and please know that I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Even though we may be expecting a loved one to die, it doesn’t do anything to mask the grief we feel when they do die. Hugs and love to you. God be with you.

    • Oh Linda, I am so sorry about your bout with depression. Although I can never know what it was like for you, I know how it can color your whole day, and leave you feeling so tired and sad. I’m so happy that you are feeling better now.

      Boy, are you right about the knowledge that my dad was going to die. It didn’t stop me from feeling so much grief. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” That has really happened for us, hasn’t it?
      I look forward to getting to know you better,
      Ceil

    • Hi Freda! Thank you for welcoming me back to blogging, I really am happy to return.
      I don’t think I realized how important my memories are of my dad and our family life. I do think that they will help me realize all the love he had for me, and mine for him. I appreciate being reminded of that. Thank you again.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  9. Hi Ceil,

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your father but happy to know that you are healing and your life’s journey continues with a new “dawn and even joy.” Pray God fills your heart with words that find a way to your pen.

    God bless you today and on Wednesday.

    Laura

    • Hi Laura! Thank you so much for commenting! It’s wonderful to hear from you.
      Thank you for your condolences and blessing too. It took me a minute to figure out what you meant by Wednesday. Duh! Maybe we can figure out a time to get together for lunch or something? That would be great 🙂

      God bless you always,
      Ceil

    • Hi Barbie! Right? It really was amazing to look back and see how God was with me all that time, leading and guiding. His love is so complete and tender.
      Thank you for welcoming me back to the blogging world! I look forward to renewing our blog friendship 🙂
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  10. Oh, Ceil, such a time you’ve been through! I’m so saddened to hear of your father’s loss, and I know that, though the grief will lessen in time, there will be those moments when memories come flooding back, suddenly, and sometimes, overwhelmingly. We know in our hearts that our loved ones are safe with Jesus, but we still miss them so. My father died over two years ago, and not a day goes by when I don’t think of him.
    On a happy note, I’m so, so glad you are blogging again. Know I sorely missed your presence here, and am glad to rekindle our blogging friendship.
    Peace and God’s blessings!

    • Hi Martha! I feel the same way, it’s so great to reconnect with you through blogging.

      I am sorry for the loss of your father too…I think you’re right about the memories. Sometimes I’m just fine, sometimes the tears come. I think it’s really wonderful that you think of your dad every day. I hope to do the same. Such a seesaw of emotions right? But I think it just shows how much we loved our fathers.

      May God continue to bless and care for us,
      Ceil

  11. It is good to have you back, Ceil, and God, in His infinite mercy and love, knew, as you, said, the reason for your break from writing. It is hard to say good-bye to our parents; both mine and my husband’s passed away these past few years. Your break from your blog and now sharing of the passing of your father, is something for us all to learn from. Listening to the Holy Spirit and being able to look back and see how He was and is caring for you is a blessing amidst the sadness and that He will always be with you. I delight in the day you will see your parents again.

    • Hi Laurie! Your comment really touched me my friend. Thank you so much for your tender words of understanding and of support.

      I don’t always listen to the Holy Spirit, but I’m really glad I did this time. What a beautiful plan the Lord had for me, making me free to be present to my own life.

      Losing a parent is truly a loss…a life event. Thank you for sharing your journey with your parents, and your husbands too. It’s the same for me, as my in-laws are both deceased. Looking toward the Lord, and knowing that our loved ones are with him makes it easier to bear, doesn’t it?

      Hugs to you my friend,
      Ceil

    • Hi Linda! Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. It’s been a tough road.

      Welcome to WordPress! I have liked it here, I moved from Blogger a few years ago. I’ll be over to visit you soon 🙂
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  12. Oh Ceil. I’m so sorry. My heart breaks for you. That explains why there were times this summer that I had to pray for you. I didn’t know about your loss, but sometimes I just felt achy for you, and I knew God knew what you needed. Losing the last of our parents can feel so final, and it’s so very hard. I know the feeling as I have lost both of mine. But I try to think of them dancing with Jesus, above all sin and suffering. I’m so grateful they both came to know Jesus personally. But there still is the grief, the missing void, the wishing I could talk to them at least one more time. It’s amazing how God was already preparing you when you decided to take a break. He knew you needed the time. I pray God will give you special strength and peace through this heavy trial! I hope your neck is doing better. And your husband’s pain has calmed down, too. Big Hugs to you!

    • Oh my gosh Trudy, thank you so much for being obedient to the call of the Spirit, and praying for me. I am so grateful!
      It is really a blessing to know now that God was preparing me for a roller coaster of emotion and events. How good he is!
      My neck is doing better, but I’m going back to PT this week, as my shoulder is still getting stiff. Prayers please! I know that I’ll be fine with time and treatment.

      God bless you my friend,
      Ceil

  13. Love your post. It is so much harder to listen than to communicate. I guess that is why God gave us two ears and one mouth. Hind sight is also 20/20. So glad you posted your story so you could share how important it is to listen, to stop once in a while and push the refresh button.
    Thanks

    • Thank you Terry. Thank you for commenting, and for your support.

      I’m not always a very good listener, but I am so glad I managed to ay yes and step away for a while. God is so good.
      Blessings to you and the family,
      Ceil

  14. Ceil I knew you were taking an extended break – which is what all writers need at some time – but I obviously didn’t know of the terrible sadness of your father’s death. It is such a blessing that yourself and all your siblings gained strength from each other and comfort from memories of happier times.

    I knew you would be away all summer, so I never checked your blog as I knew I’d be notified of a post when you returned. I have really needed your wise words though and yesterday I actually checked to see if you were back in case I just hadn’t got an email. Since then you have written so touchingly about your father.

    Something awful happened to our son when he started dialysis in June and many crisis’ later he is still in a neuro unit in London and things are not at all good.

    I’m so, so sorry about your father, but reading what you wrote – and the wise comments you received – perhaps they were all words I also needed to hear. Love and Blessings, Andrina X

    • Dear Andrina, I am so sorry to hear about your son’s problems with dialysis! I know that you were concerned about his health before I took the blog break…I can’t imagine how hard it’s been to see him struggle now. I will be coming by your blog in the next day or two, I promise you that.

      Thank you for checking in to see if I’ve written anything, that was so touching to hear. How wonderful that we are so connected through our writing, and can hold each other in prayer and concern. Please know that I am praying for all of you…for your son’s recovery, and for your mother’s aching heart.
      Bless you always,
      Ceil

  15. How good of God and what a testimony of how He goes before us! It also reminds me of the importance of being obedient to the nudges He gives us even when we don’t know why. As I was reading this warm post about your dad and the sweet time you and your siblings shared as well as the great loss this was, I rejoiced for you. So many siblings do not have that. I also understand how the second (last parent) to leave us seems to be a double punch somehow. I know I felt that way even though there was only three months between their deaths. It feels so “out of place” to not have a parent living. Many hugs and much love coming your way, sweet friend!

    • Hi Pam! You are so right that not everyone has a close family, and it truly was such a source of comfort to know that we could all be together at the end.

      I can’t imagine the shock and hardship of losing both of your parents within three months. That must have been so hard! Yes, it does feel out of place. Like there isn’t a generation above me anymore. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here, it really does help.

      I appreciate your warm hugs and love too. I look forward to reconnecting with you through the blog.
      Blessings to you always,
      Ceil

  16. It’s amazing how we can look back in hindsight and see how God had gone before us and prepared us for the journey ahead. Sorry for your loss Ceil and welcome back.

    • No kidding Wanda. It really was a revelation to look back and see how God was preparing me well by ‘clearing the decks’. If I ever think he is far from me, all I’ll have to do is remember this time, and know he is always near.

      Thank you for your kind words. It’s good to be back!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  17. How God has taken care of you! I call all of us who have lost both parents–no matter the age–orphans. I am praying your sweet memories comfort you today and in the days to come.

    I am glad you are back–I have missed your voice!

    Blessings!

    • Hi Lulu! How nice to see you again here 🙂 Thank you so much for your prayers for me, and that I will continue to heal. It’s really a process, as you well know.

      I’m glad I’m back too! It will be wonderful to reconnect through our blogs. Thank you for visiting today, and lifting my spirits.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  18. Sorry to hear of your loss Ceil. I lost my dad in March and my mother died 4 years ago, becoming an ‘orphan’ so to speak. God knew though what you needed and faithfully provided I see. May you continue to feel and know His goodness. Nice to read your words again!

    • Hi Lynn! Oh my goodness, we are so alike in losing our parents at much the same time. It’s really hard, isn’t it? I hope that the Lord continues to lead me to healing and wholeness. I know your prayers will help that to happen.

      Thank you for visiting and reading after so long a time. I appreciate our blog friendship, and look forward to rekindling it!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  19. Welcome back, Ceil. I extend my condolences about your loss of your father. I lost my dad in 2009. We have had a summer where God was teaching me to be more patient. When God tells us something, we had better listen. God will guide us as He intends for us to go,

    • Hi Cecelia! Thank you for your kind condolences. You have lost your dad too, so you know how it is. Yes, God tells us things for our good, and it’s a good idea to listen. It sure worked out for my benefit, that’s for sure. I pray that I’ll always listen.

      Good to see you here again 🙂
      Ceil

  20. It is good to see you back Ceil, and you have my complete sympathy over the loss of your father. I lost my lovely dad when I was eleven years of age, I was actually in the room when he died.
    The greatest comfort I have of my loss, and which I believe you have too, are the wonderful memories of a loving father and the knowledge of where he is now. One day we shall all be reunited in a beautiful place where there is no more sorrow, no more tears and no more death.
    God bless and comfort you and your family Ceil

    • Oh Brenda, you lost your father at such a young age. That must have been such a sadness. I realize that I was blessed with my dad’s presence for many, many years. That truly is a blessing.

      Thank you for your supportive thoughts and prayers. I really do treasure them. It will be great to get back to writing again, and restarting our blog connection!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  21. Hi Ceil. I’ll first say “welcome back.” I’ll also say I’m sorry about the loss of your dad. My mom died of cancer in 2004 but was a follower of Jesus. My father sits in a nursing home with worsening dementia 9 hours away. I am now a family friend not a son. then again, I think he had trouble with that for awhile anyway. His life has been wrapped up in his second wife and her children while his 4 sons took a back burner. but that is life. What will it be like when he finally breathes his last breath? I don’t know. will it be the uncertainty of his eternal destination that will come to mind? Will it be the loss of father love that goes way back to my childhood? I guess only time will tell. But I pray God will continue healing your heart.

    • Hi Bill! Thank you for your greetings as I come back from my break, and your empathy over the death of my father.
      You have written about your dad in the past, but I don’t think I recognized the loss of his presence through his second marriage. And how hard it must be to see him, knowing that he doesn’t recognize you. It’s like losing him again I think.
      We don’t know or can’t possible anticipate what life will be like after our parents pass. I pray that it will be graced for you, and that your brothers will be a source of consolation for you too. In the end, we know that all ends well for those who believe in Christ. I do really hold on to that.
      Blessings my friend,
      Ceil

  22. Ceil, I’m so sorry to read about the loss of your father. I’m grateful to still have my 87 year old dad but my mom died in 2005. It is difficult to lose a parent and it takes time to grieve. I’m glad you listened to the Lord and took time off your blog. I’ve also taken time away and written only occasionally on Heart Choices this year. I’ve recently started writing again. I think we need those times of quiet in our lives.

    • Hi Debbie! You are so blessed to have your dad with you, and I know you realize that. My father lived to be 91 years old, and I had him in my life for a very long time.
      It’s not always easy to listen to the Holy Spirit, but I’m glad you did and took the time this year to unwind and regroup. I bet you don’t regret it one little bit.
      May God continue to bless you with his peace,
      Ceil

  23. I was going to sit down and write you an email this weekend, but didn’t make the time to do so. Finding your post in my reader just now brought me real joy … and then sadness at your loss. Your dad.

    I admire you for lots of reasons, Ceil … and one is that you simply KNOW when it’s time to pull away, to be with your family, to catch your breath. I love how you discerned God’s calling and were obedient.

    Sometimes, we just KNOW, don’t we.

    Love to you, friend. And welcome back. My heart grieves with yours. You are not alone …

    • Hi Linda! Oh my gosh, isn’t that something? I have thought about writing to you too, but didn’t want to burden you with my sadness.

      Thank you for your encouraging and comforting words. I am so blessed with your blog friendship. Yes, sometimes we know. This time, I really didn’t. But…in retrospect I realize what God was doing for me.
      I know that you are praying for me, and SO appreciate it. My dad’s death caused much more sadness than I ever thought.
      So good to be connected again.
      Ceil

  24. I’m sorry for your loss, Ceil. It amazes me how a memory out of nowhere will pop up for me and I’ll miss my parent. I see men who look like my dad and over the weekend, while baking cookies for a party I burnt some. I thought, too bad mom isn’t here – she always loved the cookies with the dark bottoms. I’m glad you are doing well and smart enough to draw away to the One who comforts like no other. Love the photo of you and your dad!

    Hugs,
    Mary

    • Dear Mary, I do know about burnt things and being reminded of parents. My mom loved burnt marshmallows and hot dogs. Isn’t that funny? Just the simplest things remind us of our loved ones.
      I am glad that I obeyed the call to step away, but I know that it’s because of grace. He does comfort, he does lead me in right paths.

      I am so glad to be connected with you through our blogs gain!
      Ceil

  25. Hi Ceil, I’m so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing, yet rejoice that he’s in heaven. I’m thankful that you listened to and obeyed the Lord’s leading in taking time off. You were right where you needed to be, with your dad and family. It’s good to have you back!

    Blessings!

    Kim

    • Hi Kim! Thank you for your supportive comments, I really appreciate your blog friendship and empathy. It’s been tough, but as you said, it’s good that I was where I needed to be.

      I’m glad to be back, and connected again. It feels right.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

    • Oh Sandi, I am so sorry for your loss. I understand how hard it is…you’re right, there are no words. But it’s wonderful to know that others understand, and will pray.

      I will be praying for you, and that God will be with us.
      Ceil

  26. Oh my sweet friend…I am SO sorry to hear about losing your dear father! You know that I have been there, although my dad went before my mother did, with both of us losing our mothers in 2010. Yes, I have no doubt that our dear Lord knew exactly that you needed to be taking that break from blogging. Isn’t that just like Him?? You have been given the gift of that precious time to spend with your father and then with family members as well. When I read your words….”I am blessed with siblings who are loving, supportive, and dedicated to family. Every single one of my seven brothers and sisters dropped what was happening in their lives, and came to be at my dad’s bedside.”…I could have written them myself about my own family.

    I pray that the Lord continues to be near to you in your grieving process. It’s good to have you back…HUGS

    • Dear Debby, I have thought about you many times this summer. It would have been so cool to have met you on my travels, if only we drove through No. Carolina!
      My heart goes out to you in the loss of both of your parents. I know how hard it can be, even as it surprised me how much it hurt. We are both blessed with wonderful siblings, another gift from our loving parents.
      Can’t wait to meet you someday 🙂
      Ceil

  27. God truly is in the details of our lives and knew you would be needing this time. You were in tune with Him enough to listen. So very sorry to hear about your father. You have come to mind off and on during your time off so prayers have been prayed. I will continue praying for you and your family as you walk this new path of loss and healing. So very happy to have you back in the blogging world. You were missed…

    • Oh Mindy, thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers over my blog break. I really needed them! It means so much that you would continue to pray for me.
      I have missed being in the blog world, but really wasn’t ready to dive back in until this week. It’s people like you that make blogging so rewarding and fun. So glad I met you in the first weeks of my blogging life!
      Love your new design!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  28. Dear friend, I have been praying for you. I know so well how it feels to lose both parents, and losing that last parent is near-unbearable. I still mourn for mine, and I don’t think we ever totally stop doing that. My heart goes out to you so much, and I am just so thankful God pulled you aside, as nothing ever catches Him by surprise. He knew you would NEED this. Praise His name for watching out for you, my friend. SO thankful to see a post from you today. Welcome back!!

    • Hi Cheryl! I have thought and prayed for you so much over these past months, and so appreciated your emails. We have been praying for each other, and that’s so beautiful.
      God did know that I needed to back off a bit on commitments, and I’m so grateful that I responded. I don’t always listen! But I thank him that I was able to obey.
      Thank you for your good wishes on my return to blogging. I have missed it, but I just couldn’t get back until this week. I look forward to renewing my relationships with blog friends…like you!
      God bless you always,
      Ceil

  29. I am glad you are back too Ceil…missed your wise words. My heart hears yours as I lost my Mom this past April and I still struggled with the grief, not often but there is never a day that goes by I don’t think of her. I put a picture of her and my daughter on my computer desk top so everytime I opened it up there she was. It made me so sad I had to take it off. Definitely not ready for that one. I am waiting to visit mother grave site when there is grass on it…it makes me sad to see only dirt on it now. Maybe I will visit when it snows , that will make it look better. I have buried myself in songs that speak loudly about heaven and the hope we have, it has helped too. I spent the last nine days of MOm’s life with her, never leaving her, and I could not contain the words from coming. I wrote and wrote in the wee hours of the morning as I watcher her slip away. It was felt so good to pour it all out. I look forward to reading more of what God has taught you during this time of losing your Dad and you taking that long break. I know it will be full of mercy and grace.

    • Oh my goodness Betty, my heart just goes out to you in the loss of your mother. It just doesn’t matter how old we are when we lose a parent, it still hurts.

      It must have seemed so difficult at the time, but I’m sure you feel so blessed to have been with your mom so much at the end. I know what you mean about waiting for grass at the gravesite. It seems to take so long to fill in… I have visited a couple of times though, it makes me feel better.
      Thank you for your kind words, and I hope I have learned from my break! If nothing else, I know that listening to the Spirit is always a rewarding experience.
      Have a wonderful Tuesday,
      Ceil

  30. How wonderful that you are back and physically and spiritually rested. It is a difficult concept to be “parentless” but a blessing to know that they are still guiding us from their heavenly home.

    • Hi Darlene! How kind of you to comment here, I really appreciate the time and your encouraging words.

      It is a blessing to know that my parents are together, and are so close to all of us. But as you know, it’s still hard sometimes. I’m really happy I took time off to be present and to relax. I think it really helped me to feel stronger again.
      Have a great Tuesday!
      Ceil

  31. Oh, Ceil, I’m so sorry. I know exactly how you feel. When I lost my Dad, going on 22 years now, it was the deepest grief I’d ever felt. The day I realized my joy was returning, I was standing in the middle of the grocery store….and realized God has a sense of humor because grocery shopping is a least favorite chore. Yes, God knows what’s in store and prepares us! He’s a good, good Father!

    • Oh Deb, thank you so much for your sharing here. The sadness that I felt with my Dad passing was really a surprise to me. I didn’t realize how much it would affect me.

      I’m starting to come out of it now, and so I’ll start looking for my ‘grocery store moment’. I love how you saw a sense of humor in it all. That would be great!
      So nice to be connected again 🙂
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  32. I’m so glad you’re back, Ceil! We’ve missed you around here. But God’s timing was right for you. I’m so, so sorry about the loss of your dad. 🙁 It’s been 6 years since my mom and dad passed away (both in 2010), and it’s still hard for me to grasp. I miss them both. Blessings to you as you continue to live life without your dad here in the flesh….

    • Oh my gosh Lisa. I can’t imagine losing both parents in the same year! You must have been in a mighty fog for a while back then. I know I would have been.

      Thank you for your good wishes, I know that with each day I’ll get better and better. But I’m sure you’ll agree when I say that it will always hurt a little. But that’s just the love we have for our parents.
      Thank you for visiting today,
      Ceil

  33. Ceil, welcome back. I have missed you, and your words. You will know that I certainly understand the grief of losing a father. My dad wasn’t in good health, either. So his death wasn’t surprising, but it was still a shock. I pray for God’s comfort and peace during this time of grieving – as there are so many different thoughts and feelings to sort through. How precious that our heavenly Father prepared you for this time.

    GOD BLESS, friend.

    • Hi Sharon! How good to see you here again 🙂
      I know you understand the loss, and it sounds like we had some parallels with our dad’s health. It’s so hard sometimes, and at others, I am really happy for him. I’m sure you feel the same way.

      God certainly did get me to slow down and make room for this huge life event. I am so grateful for his gentle instruction, and so glad that his grace made me say ‘yes’.
      Blessings to you always,
      Ceil

  34. OH Ceil, my precious friend… I’m so very sorry for your profound loss. It’s amazing how God knew exactly what you needed to do to prepare for the road ahead- I’m so glad you had the space and time to dive into beloved family time, prayer time, and journey through your grief toward healing, with a new sense of acceptance and purpose.

    I have missed you, my friend. I am SO glad you’re back. <3

    • Hi Chris! Thank you so much for your kind comments about my return, and empathy over my dad’s death. It’s been a very busy, weird summer that’s for sure.

      I do think I am on the mend, although I know it will take time. It is good to be back in the blogging world, back to connecting with my blog friends. Like you! I appreciate your support very much.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  35. I’ve missed your writing, Ceil, but I’m so glad you took the break you needed. I’m sure that was what God wanted for you. Time to grieve, time to be with family. May the Lord bless you and surround you with His presence as you slip back into writing. May He comfort your grief!

    • Hi Betsy! Oh, you are so kind! Thank you for your support and saying that you missed being here. The time off was time very well spent, but I know it’s time to get back to writing.

      Thank you too for your prayers to be comforted. Please know how much I value your prayer. It’s exactly what I need.
      I look forward to reconnecting through our blogs!
      Ceil

  36. Now I know why you understand so well what it feels like to be living in the tension between the dark and the light. My heart is aching because I know how you feel. When you lose your other parent it leaves you in a place of uncertainty and the thought that you now make up the next generation. I am praying for you as you continue to grieve and understand your new normal. I am blessed that you are back writing and look forward to sitting with you here often.

    • Hi Mary! Yes, it’s an ‘in-between- time for sure. Your blog post was very timely for me. It’s true how you say it’s uncertain because of being the next generation. A sobering thought.

      Thank you for much for your prayers and thoughts about following me here. I am so grateful to you! I look forward to renewing our blog-friendship.
      God bless you,
      Ceil

  37. I’m so sorry to hear this Ceil. I didn’t know what struggles you were going through. I even sent you a copy of my new book so you could spend some of your holiday reading.
    When I didn’t hear from you i simply assumed you were still on break.
    I am truly sorry. Thank God all your siblings are closely knit that helps in going through this phase together.
    Blessings to you

    • Hi Ifeoma! I was certainly on a blog break, I just didn’t realize how busy and hard it would be. I thought I was stepping into peaceful waters. Yeah well…

      Thank you for sending me your book, I just couldn’t tackle anything during my time away, and I’m still moving at a snails pace. I hope you will understand. It takes time to come back from the death of a parent, and I hope I can be gentle with myself and my expectations in the meantime.
      Blessings right back to you my friend,
      Ceil

  38. Dear Ceil,
    I’m sorry about your loss and you had a good decision and spend more time with your dad before the time and then use more time to be in His presence and your beloved ones.
    Will be praying for you and family!

    I’m glad that you are back and also me 🙂 I’m sure everyone here is missing your encouraging post and so am I. Looking forward to see your next post and hopefully I constantly posting this.
    Blessing,
    Delvalina

    • Hi Delvalina! It’s so good to see you here again! I’m glad you’re posting again, we can start supporting each other through our blogs.

      Blessings on you and your marriage too. It’s been fun to see some of your photos on FB. Thank you for sharing them 🙂
      It was so good to be able to spend time with my Dad and my family. A true gift from the Lord. I will never forget how he led me to where I needed to be.

      Have a peaceful night,
      Ceil

  39. Your words bring comfort to others as well. I know how you feel regarding losing “Dad”. I dread the day when my mom passes. I am so happy that you experienced this journey with all of your siblings. It is a pretty powerful moment, isn’t it? And did your dad die a rich man! To have all of his children there. Beautiful 🙂 I’m so sorry for your loss. You have my deepest sympathy.

    • Thank you so much Patty. I did think to myself that this is the way I’d like to die. Surrounded by my family in prayer and in stories. He was a rich man.

      It was wonderful to have my brothers and sisters there for support. I know their presence blessed my dad…and it blessed me too.
      Thank you again for your sympathy and thoughts,
      Ceil

  40. So sorry to hear about your Dad, Ceil. I’ll be praying for you and your family. I can only imagine what you might be going through these past months. (My Mom passed away in 2010, but Dad’s still with us.) Sending love and hugs your way. xo

    I sent you an email – you won Jeanette’s book on my blog. Congratulations! Just send me your mailing address when you have a moment. No hurry, but I just thought you might like to know in case my email landed in your spam box.

    Have a blessed weekend! 🙂

    • Hi Karen! Thank you for your words and wishes for me in this sad time. You know what it’s like losing a parent…no matter what age, it’s still hard.

      Thank you for letting me know about winning Jeanette’s book! I’ll email you right away with my address. What a lovely surprise!

      Blessings,
      Ceil

  41. Oh dear Ceil! I have missed you, and I was myself on a blogging break of sorts this past summer too. Your writing about the nudging from the Lord to take a break really touched my heart. Isn’t it wonderful that if we are listening, the Lord is able to prepare us for the days ahead. I am blessed to still have both my parents alive, but my heart goes out to you, because I cannot even imagine my life without my parents. How wonderful that all your siblings were able to be there with him and to have those precious memories in your heart. Indeed, I don’t think we ever stop grieving (I lost my grandmother who I was very close to when I was a teenager). I still think of her so much, she had such an influence on my life. Just let the tears come and the memories roll over your heart, and rejoice in the moment that even as you sorrow, your dad is rejoicing. I think that is the greatest thing as a Christian, is that we can rejoice knowing they are in perfect peace and joy finally. I will keep you in my prayers dear friend, and pray for the peace of the Lord to continue to comfort and keep you! Hugs!!!

    • Hi MM! Oh my, thank you so much for your words of comfort. It’s been harder than I ever expected, but as you mentioned, it’s been great to have such supportive siblings. And blog friends too…like you!

      I do know that my dad is happier now, and is with my mom. I know as the days go by, I’ll appreciate it more and more.
      Hugs right back my friend,
      Ceil

  42. Dear Ceil: I am truly sorry you had to say goodbye to your dad. It’s very painful and hard to walk through. I’m glad the Lord led you to take a break, and that you had the obedience to listen! I know he’s proud of you, and all your siblings, for the love you showed your dad.
    BTW, I love that photo of you and him! I bet you have it framed somewhere. He looks like a sterling gentleman.
    Love you, Jen

    • Hi Jen! Yes, it has been painful. More than I ever thought. But I do like to think that he knew we were all with him at the end, and he is at peace.

      I do have that photo! It was taken at a family wedding. He was a sterling gentleman my friend. A wonderful doctor that brought thousands of little lives into the world. We were all blessed with his life.

      Congrats on your new book! Can’t wait to read it 🙂
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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