Friday, November 01, 2013

Feeling Defeated - Homeschooling Through Grief

      I will always remember December of 2012. I was flying on cloud nine. 27 years old, a loving husband, three beautiful little girls, and family and friends who loved us. We had just spent an incredible week with my dad. My dad, you see, lived quite a drive from us and he surprised us when he called to say he was on his way to spend a week with us. I remember hurrying around to make sure the house was clean and that everything would be in place for a nice relaxing week with him. It was just that, and just what I needed. We spent most nights cuddled around our fireplace talking and reminiscing about old times. The visit was great.
This was my FB status while my dad was visiting.

   The day my dad left was a Friday. I remember him waking up, not feeling very well, saying he felt a bit congested. I thought he was coming down with a cold. He packed up his belongings and we said our goodbyes. I embraced him with a long hug and told him that I loved him and to drive safe. I even said "Until the next time." I remember feeling down as if a part of me was leaving with him. After he left we tried to get back to normal mode. You know how it is, when company is staying. Things aren't normal, not that it is a bad thing, just not your norm. Anyhow, Sunday rolled around and it was just like any other day, except I was feeling a little blue. So much in fact, I told my husband I was going for a drive by myself. I drove around for about an hour just driving and thinking. I finally
convinced myself to drive on home. I remember calling my mother-in-law shortly before heading home and I was still on the phone with her as I pulled into my driveway. As I pulled in, my husband walked out the door and headed towards me with a look. Friends, this was not a pleasant look and I immediately knew something was wrong. His first words were "We've got to talk!" Scared, I replied "What?". I will never forget that words that came out of his mouth next, "Jennifer, your father has died!". I immediately told my mother-in-law I had to go. I then screamed, screamed as if it was going to somehow bring back what I had just lost. I removed myself from my vehicle and hit the ground bawling. Bawling so loudly, my neighbors came out of their home to check on me. I literally felt that all my strength was gone.  My father had passed away very suddenly from a heart attack. The next few days were a blur and I so many times tried to convince myself that it was all just a dream. I remembered back to how my dad told me he was congested. Why, didn't I see that as a symptom of heart failure? I could have gotten him to a hospital! I was beyond mad at myself.  How could someone 46 years of age die from a heart attack!? I was mad and sad, but most of all mad. I felt as if I was losing control, but most of all I felt so overwhelmed with madness and depression. What I once felt satisfaction in, no longer held my attention. I wondered to myself how I was suppose to homeschool. How I was even going to get through my days, let alone a school year. I'll tell you how I did it. Very slowly and very relaxed, with strength that only could come from God. I remember praying out to God to just give me the strength and the want to leave my bed in the morning. I prayed for comfort and peace. This year has been hard, but the lord is my strength.

When I'm feeling not so great, I'm learning to turn over my problems to God, and remembering he will sustain me.

    I'm doing better day by day. In fact, I learned a lot about myself through this. One thing, most of all, is that I tried so long to bottle up all my pain. Friends that is not a good thing. I found comfort in turning my problems over to God. To let go and let God. I have also found comfort in family and friends. I love them dearly and they have helped me tremendously. Sometimes just having someone listen has been so helpful. There is a lot to be said for a great listener. I'm thankful for the ones in my life and I know never to take them for granted.  Loss is a part of life and grief is a process that takes time, and nobody can or should ever tell you how much time. I miss my dad. I know that this will be a sadness I will feel until they day I one day pass. I also know that with God, it will not cripple me. 

   The month after my dad passed, was the beginning of 2013. We choose a family word for the year. This year we chose the word faith and it was very fitting. 


   I feel like homeschooling is back on track, and that things are returning to a new normal. New normal, because things will never be like they were, but adapted to accept the change. I now have a even more relaxed view to homeschool. I don't make myself feel guilty if we haven't gotten everything done. I know we will get to things when we get there. I'm not going to put pressure, where pressure doesn't need to be.  I'm happy that I get to spend my days at home with my children learning and playing. I thank God for them everyday. Some days we still have our weak moments, but we are working through them. We may work at a slower pace and we may be ultra relaxed, but it's helpful and nobody told me homeschooling was a race. If it was, I'd gladly come in whenever I get there. 

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.” 

― Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and John Kessler

*Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
   About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. 

If you or someone else is experiencing these
call 9-1-1 right away.

Visit the American Heart Association for more information on heart disease. 

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