If you know my story, scroll down to the photo of me and my dad to begin reading this blog post.
If you don’t know my story, here’s the cliff-notes version:
My dad had a heart attack (on the couch, in our living room) on December 13th, 2015. He had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, but otherwise, he was a healthy 52-year-old. I called 911 immediately and performed CPR until an ambulance arrived less 5 minutes later. He was in the ICU in a coma for 6 days before we decided as a family to terminate life support on December 19th, 2015. He died that day. Life sucks sometimes.
Grief is a fire.
When you lose someone close to you, that fire consumes your life. It blazes all around you and you cannot see through it. It is inescapable and from it you receive 3rd degree burns that no one can see. Its fuel is the memory of your loved one, so sharp and so clear.
And then, sometime later, you realize that the fire that was once so big is much smaller. Maybe is it the size of a bonfire, easily contained. Maybe it has reduced to embers. Maybe some days it’s bigger and some days it’s smaller. There is much less of that fuel that was keeping it blazing because the memories of your loved one have faded over time. Maybe you can’t imagine what their voice sounds like quite as easily. Maybe it takes a little longer to remember all of the details in their face or in their hands.
No matter how small that fire has become, it can still burn you from time to time. It’s flames can still lash out when you’re least expecting it. And it will feel as fresh as that first day without them. But you can also find comfort in the fire’s warmth. You’ve gotten used to the familiar heat and you know how close you can stand to it.
When I woke up this morning, I realized that my fire was much smaller. Today, I will warm myself in front of it and find solace in its glow.