Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Letter

This is an assignment from the GriefShare support group that I am in. We are supposed to write this and give copies to friends. I choose to share it this way.
I realize some might find it awkward, so it's here if you want to read it.

To my friends,

This past year has been the hardest in my life. My Dad died suddenly and unexpectedly in March. We did not even get to say goodbye to him. Even though it has been almost eleven months, I (and my family) am still hurting. Some days are okay and others I don't want to get out of bed. It is going to take my family and I a long time to recover from our loss. Please don't rush us.

I want to say thank you to those who have supported me and grieved with me. Thank you for understanding when I have been aloof and angry and sad. Thank you for continuing to be there for me. To those who brought food, and sent cards and did other things to make our family's life easier - thanks so much.
Please understand if I have not been a good friend during this time. I simply have not had the energy to keep up with phone calls and visits. It is not because I don't care about you.

Right now, we (my whole family) need your prayers. And even if you don't know what to say, a hug or listening ear is great. Don't be scared by my tears. They are necessary.
And Please don't be afraid to mention my dad to any of us. Especially to my little sister and my children. They need to hear how wonderful he was. It hurts more when you pretend he didn't exist. He was a wonderful man and we need to talk about him. It hurts so much to know that my dad never got to meet my daughter. Having her this year was a wonderful thing - it gave us all some light at the end of the tunnel. But it was very difficult as well. The stress of grieving and having a newborn was more than I could handle somedays.

Slowly things are getting easier. But I realize there is no magic number.
I know that God has a plan. Even if it doesn't make sense to me. Like Rick said at my dad's funeral: God doesn't make mistakes - his timing is perfect - even if we don't get it. Dad trusted this. We need to as well. In his wallet he carried around a piece of paper with the verse Isaiah 41:10.

Please continue to check in. A simple note or phone call or visit lets me know you care. Things are never going to be the same again, especially for my mom and sister. We all need lots of time and patience.
And sometimes some practical help. If you want to help out with something, tell us. Don't expect us to ask for help. We won't.

Don't be afraid to mention this to me. I am putting it out there on purpose.
Thanks for reading and for continuing to pray for us.


  1. Dana, I have thought of you often this past year. Even though we don't know each other well, my heart aches for you and your family. I will pray that things will get easier and the memories will bring more joy than pain as time goes by.
    Sheri Kroeker

  2. Hi Dana, I don't think we know each other, but Denita sent me a link to your blog. I haven't read everything you've posted, but I'm glad she sent it to me. I am so sorry you lost your dad, but Denita was right, it is good for me to read... My dad just died on October 9... We've written a lot of the same things over the last few months. I hope you don't mind if I continue to pop in and read through your journey, and you're more than welcome to visit my blog and read some, or all (I've been blogging since before my dad was diagnosed with cancer) of my journey.

    Lots of hugs from a stranger who's no stranger to what you are going through.

    - Becky Willems

  3. You're right Dana, there is no magic number. I often think back to what Rick said at the funeral too. Please know that even if we don't talk often, you (and your family) are in our thoughts and prayers. There are still Sundays when I look for your dad, sitting in their 'spot', smiling, teasing Ellie.
    It's been two years since my dad passed away, and even though we knew it was coming, I still wasn't really ready, there were things I wanted to say, to ask and experiences to share. Even now, something will trigger a memory that brings tears, and then next memory brings smiles. Praying for you, Love Joanne Neufeldt

  4. Dana, have you read Tear Soup? I gave it to Delaney and your Mom at the funeral for them to read together some time. It's probably kicking around their home somewhere! But I think you would like it too. It deals with exactly this issue - how long we grieve and how it's different for every single one of us - both how long and how it shows. You might even be able to read it to Oliver and talk about it with him - or read it to Delaney and talk about it as sisters.
    Loving you - Sylvia