Grief Gab #2 - Different But Good
Me (in tears): Dad, I don’t want to lose her. I’m afraid of who I’ll become without her. She’s made such a huge difference in my life, she’s part of me and what has made me who I am. Dad: You probably will be different. Life will be different. But it could still be really good.
This is a portion of a conversation between my dad and me as Joni was approaching her final days. Today marks the 2-month anniversary of Joni’s passing and this phrase has been rolling around in my head and off of my tongue ever since this conversation.
Anyone who has experienced loss knows what it means that life will be different. The individual departs and leaves a gap. When it’s a spouse, all of the things they used to do fall to the surviving partner. Joni was my “database of lost items”. If I couldn’t find something, I knew I could ask her and she’d remember the last place she’d seen it. Joni took care of food prep, most of the cooking, finding new food to try, doing the taxes, and so much more. And therefore many of those tasks have fallen to me. I’m not going to be able to do those things exactly the same as Joni did. It will be different simply by the nature of another human being taking over. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be good.
It also doesn’t mean that I have to be the one to do all of it. For example: Joni was a great cook and picked lots of food we like. But there’s no way I can own that. Especially when I go back to work! So my children are learning how to make dinner and we’ve established a cooking schedule with someone being the head chef and someone else being their sous chef that rotates every day. We do a meal plan for the week and go shopping to make sure we have everything we need. It’s a mandatory change if the household is going to continue to enjoy home-cooked meals that we enjoy. It’s different, but it’s good. In a lot of ways.
And honestly, sometimes trying to make something Joni was so good at making puts me in a grief moment because I know that it wouldn’t take her as long as it’s taking me and it would still be amazing when she finished. So much of it came so naturally to her and she made the dishes often enough that she frequently didn’t even have to look at her recipe book. I want it to be the SAME when I do it. For my sake and for my kids’ sake. And probably because I just want life to be the same as it was (minus cancer). But it won’t be the same - it can’t be - but it can still be good.
That is going to hold true for everything from food prep to paying bills to grocery shopping (oh my gosh it takes me SO LONG). It will be true in maintaining existing relationships (notice, friends, and family of Joni, how infrequently I’m on Facebook compared to Joni) and it will be VERY true when new relationships form, especially romantic ones. And I think this holds true for any change we experience - what comes after will be different, but it could be really good.
In the book of Revelation, Christ is called the Alpha and the Omega - the beginning and the end. I always understood it to mean that he is, effectively, omni-everything: omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, etc. Then several years ago I saw a picture of two planets smashing into each other that bore that title, Alpha and Omega, and it suddenly occurred to me that it also means the end of one thing and the beginning of something new.
Given the depth of my faith, I believe that when we walk with Christ into the new thing, it can’t help but be good even if it’s different.
Thanks for reading.