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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