Today is the day! The dreaded day we commit my father in law to his resting place. This is a hard day. This day is the culmination of mixed emotions over the past few months. The snowball of Dad just being sick quickly turned into the avalanche also known as cancer. It wiped me out!
I have experienced loss before. My grandmother, our family giant passed away a few years ago after living with dementia for 10 years. It was heartbreaking but expected for many years. With Dad, as I affectionately call him, it was different. It was six months from him not feeling well to not recovering to diagnosis to departure. Devastation. I cried because life will never be the same. I cried because of the piercing wail of his wife of 49 years as they took his body away. I cried because my husband no longer has his hero with him. I cried because I love him so and will miss him dearly. I’m crying still as I write this blog. He was a great man. He stood 6’2” tall. He was the McElroy family giant. He was our patriarch. He was a real man. He was Dad.
As I struggle with this reality I turn to scripture for comfort. “How did Jesus handle grief?”, I asked myself. The Lord led me to Mark 3:1-6 where His enemies were criticizing Him for healing on the Sabbath. “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath,…” Jesus asked his enemies. He also took me to John 2:13-20 where Jesus forcefully clears the merchants and dealers who were defiling the temple. I meditated on these scriptures. Read them then read them again. I read before and after to make sure my understanding of the context was clear. I searched for applicable meaning and then it hit me.
Grief like anger is challenging. It’s a difficult emotion to control which is why we think of it so negatively. However, grief is good. It’s not only good because it is a healthy release of emotion, a natural way to express your love for someone, or it’s what everyone does. Grief is good because of what we do afterwards. Grief is good by what follows it. If Jesus would have stopped healing due to criticism from the Pharisees and if Jesus would have given up on us because of the poor behavior of the merchants and dealers we would never have seen the good deeds, good actions, and good results of his anger. As a result of this passage, today I choose to continue the legacy of ‘Dad’. Today I choose to focus on the gift of Dad. He blessed us with so many joyful memories, words of wisdom and examples of leadership. He equipped us to carry on the baton of life with integrity, strength, and most importantly faith in God almighty. For these and many other reasons, I will trust in the Lord with all my might. I will press toward the mark of the High Calling. I will cherish Dad forever and fight to carry on the McElroy legacy that he began. Good grief!