But for now, I’m mad.

Looking through posts from just a year ago and finding candid, typically beautiful moments with my dad scattered throughout has me grieving.

From one storyteller to another. #ourpapacal #rossluke #mybarber2016

From one storyteller to another. #ourpapacal #rossluke #mybarber2016

2016-07-27 18.11.31 1303964403812923673_mybarber2016

The Calvin Richards Scholars Club. Today’s field trip taught this long line of kids about Davis County history, outdoor safety, avoiding rattlesnakes (including a real live demonstration! ??????), how to identify plants and insects, and mostly how to keep going when you really want go quit. #ourpapacal #themanwhoneverquits #mybarber2016

2016-03-04 23.20.07 1199057440370294766_mybarber2016

My favorite picture I’ve been sent from the trip. It takes a lot to wear those girls out (especially the dramatic fake sleeper on the ground) but it doesn’t take much for my dad to break out a good book anytime. #laurelandava #spentlittleminnie #mybarber2016

Facing his liver failure head on is hard. Watching his body degress and his brilliant mind being taken from him is torturous. We knew it would be. We’re prepared, you could say. We’re tough, you know. We’re faithful, you better believe. But why?

I’ve written and shared how thankful we are for his life. For his organ donations allowing him 11 extra, priceless years. We are so grateful we got to celebrate his 60th birthday with him recently. I have shared about the many blessings we’ve received and the unity and love our family has gained from this trial. And that is all still true. But it does not make it easy.

A thought shared by many with the best of intentions about the heartbreak of a life ending prematurely is the notion that “They’re called to a higher purpose on the other side.” “Heavenly Father is sure filling callings with the very best right now.” I’m thankful this brings comfort to some. We all deal with trials and grief and pain differently.

To me, I see pain and sickness and death as a consequence of mortality. It’s what we signed up for. One thing you can count on in life is that it will be unfair and at times cruel. I do believe in a beautiful afterlife. I have a strong testimony of eternal families. I believe that my ancestors, my friends that have passed on, and my dad will all be doing important work in heaven. I believe they are still very involved in blessing our lives. I have some very personal experiences and faith in the resolution that will come after our time on this earth. And maybe when my heart softens past this stage I can open up about them.

But not right now.

I can’t think of a higher calling than being with your family on this earth. I see young parents taken early and wouldn’t dare devalue their work here by assuming there’s something better they need to get on to. Or when children die and babies are not allowed to join their family that desperately wants them. It’s heartbreaking and feels wrong. And I think my dad getting to stay with us longer and in good health to share his wisdom and knowledge, his genuine love, to teach and serve and read stories to his grandchildren yet to come would be a pretty important calling! The list of injustices goes on.

And somehow, in light of all that, the explanation I do resonate with is that we don’t get to choose. No one is exempt from the trials of this life. Ultimately and logically we all face the same destiny. It sucks and somehow the unfairness is comforting.

And maybe someday, years or eons from now, I’ll look back and realize the timing and the rightness in these things we don’t understand.

But for now, I’m mad.




One comment

  1. Hi, Michelle. I’ve thought about this post for a long time. I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through. You have every right to be mad. I’m sorry if I’ve clumsily said things that added to your hurt. I also hate the default platitude we say to acknowledge someone’s loss: “Heavenly Father must need him more than you.” I don’t get it. While meant to offer comfort it cheapens, practically dismisses, the pain and grief of those sorrowing, and almost sounds like, “Buck up!” Or this one, “He’s in a better place.” People who said this to me when my brother died had no idea how I was grappling with my faith. Was he there? His death at once made me question and fear what I believed; if heaven was real, did my brother qualify? Would I? I eventually found great peace in my newly polished personal conviction that to be in heaven with God is indeed the best place of all. I clung to the atonement like never before. I emerged with a stronger testimony of forever families. Yet I had to arrive at these spiritual truths on my own time, with help from Heavenly Father. Platitudes didn’t help.

    I also don’t like the “At least”s. “At least your brother didn’t leave behind a family.” Yes, I’m grateful he didn’t leave a grieving widow and children, but it smacked me that he didn’t get to have a family on this earth. One remark stung: a neighbor visited days afterward and said at least it wasn’t like so-and-so who worries about a wayward child. My brother was a wayward child! Now what? I learned from that to never compare when grieving with someone, never quantify their loss.

    I’ve learned something else, too. In the time since my brother’s passing I have had many more experiences with grief, some of my own, but mostly others’. I am grateful to that neighbor for visiting. I am grateful to him for reaching out, albeit with less-than-perfect words. He cared enough to show it. It was so much harder for me when people ignored me, perhaps out of their fear of not knowing what to say or do.

    Michelle, I pray for your family. I love and admire your parents very much. I pray that you can feel an outpouring of Heavenly Father’s love.


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