Recently, we celebrated the life of my uncle Joe who passed away last month. He was one of my dad’s brothers. He was the oldest brother, and last one to go home to be with the Lord. My dad was the youngest of the four brothers and the third one to pass away. It seems so strange that they are all gone now.
On the way to the memorial service, I had so many thoughts going through my mind. It was a sad occasion for sure for the family because he’ll be greatly missed. But I wasn’t expecting so many painful memories of the past to return. At least I wasn’t expecting them to hit my heart the way they did. I have been so strong for the last year or so and the Lord has completely healed my heart so I was really caught off guard. I completely lost it. I couldn’t help but think about all the years without my dad in my life. It always makes me sad when I go back to when he decided to leave. I try not to go back there, but this latest death brought it all back. I was reminded of all the times I spent with dad’s side of the family when I was a young adult. The only way I could be there comfortably was to drink. I just didn’t know how else to be comfortable around them—drinking made it doable. I remember how difficult it was to especially be around my uncles. Those painful memories certainly came back. I loved my uncles and I don’t think they realized back then how hard it was for me to see them and to hear their laughter when my dad was no longer around. They reminded me too much of dad and seeing how close they were to their kids made me sad all the time because I felt so abandoned by mine. The drinking made me feel happy…well, sort of. At least at the beginning it did. The happiness was short lived of course, but everybody drank so it wasn’t like I stood out too much. I’m sure it was noticed how much I could drink as I got older, but nobody said anything about it. I think they just thought I was a funny drunk. I remember being happy on the outside and dead on the inside. I got pretty good at hiding the pain at first, nobody needed to know how I felt deep inside. But as time went on, I think my emotions would come out more. I remember crying all the time in front of the family. They knew I was sad about things, but nobody asked and I didn’t share in words what I was feeling. I remember those horrible days so well. I remember how lost and alone I felt. (I am so grateful that the Lord has changed all of this and I am no longer lost, drunk and depressed!)
What a roller coaster of emotions…I was also thinking about what a blessing it was for each of my uncles to be surrounded by love and family while they were on their death beds. Someone was with each of them when they took their last breath on this earth. I am so glad to know that. All of my cousins were so blessed to have their fathers in their lives. My heart goes out to the families for their losses. Learning of my uncle’s recent passing and knowing that he had family there with him made me go through different emotions. I was grateful that my uncle was not alone, but I was incredibly sad at the same time—sad because out of all of them, my dad was the only one not surrounded by family when he died. His death was sudden and unexpected and he was quite a distance from everybody. It breaks my heart that nobody knew that he had died until several days later, when his neighbors noticed that they hadn’t seen him in a while. Suddenly I found myself on the phone with a complete stranger who had called to give me the worst news I had ever received over the phone.
That made all kinds of thoughts go through my mind like, was it instant? I can only hope it was. It’s horrible wondering if he could have been saved if help was there. It’s hard not to think like that but I’m learning to just give it all to the Lord and to keep thanking Him for reaching my dad’s heart at some point while he was out there so I know he’s in Heaven. I am also grateful for the forgiveness that the Lord helped me with so that everything was okay between me and dad right before he died. What a tremendous blessing that was and the healing and freedom that came with it!! God is so good.
As followers of Christ we believe that we have eternal life. I keep reminding myself that this is not our home, especially during the difficult times. Death is only sad for those left behind. As soon as I got word that my uncle died, all I could think about were the four brothers being reunited in Heaven. I swear I could hear their voices and the laughter that I used to hear when I was a little girl before everything fell apart. Those are the memories that I want to hold on to. And I heard them say to my uncle: “Welcome Home, Carnal, welcome home.” The thought of that sure brings peace and a smile to my heart.
As I’m coming to a close on this I started thinking…what’s the purpose of this post? You know what, friend? I honestly have no idea. This blog is all about things from my heart that I feel God puts there to write about. Every time I have published something, I have wondered whether or not I should have. So far, it always turns out that someone was helped by what they read. I am grateful that God is using me this way so I just continue to follow those promptings no matter how difficult it is to open my heart like this for strangers. Anyway, I figure at the very least, that writing and getting things out is good therapy for me. It can be very dangerous if I keep things inside and I certainly don’t want to go backwards on this journey! This really helps keep me on the right track with the Lord and it’s keeping me sober. Praise God!
I pray that something in here is a blessing to someone out there reading it. If not, I would just like to go ahead and say: “Thanks for listening, anyway.” God bless you. ♥