Dad passed on last October. October 5th, to be exact... I'm pretty sure I'll never forget that date, nor will the rest of my family. He was 79. It was his time.
Since then, the emotions have been, in a word, profound. I have come to learn that grieving is its own unique process, that really nothing else compares to it. You can reconcile things in your mind rather quickly if you try, but reconciling the emotions of your heart takes far longer. One day I will feel at peace, calm, accepting. The next day the emotions roll over me like waves, overcoming me both emotionally and physically, and I feel like every part of my being is weeping.
I know that's rather abstract, but I just don't know how else to describe it. Grieving seems to be, to me, not just an emotional process but a physical one as well.
I keep hearing the song 'Cowgirls Don't Cry' by Brooks & Dunn on the radio ALL the time, it's so popular right now. For the most part I shy away from any emotionally charged songs these days, lest I embark on yet another complete meltdown. However, this song I can handle. At first it made me shed a few tears -- this story of a daughter and her father, ending in his last words to her before dying -- but now when I hear it, I sort of feel at peace.
Dad and I very much had a relationship similar to the one in this song... He and I traveled all over the region to rodeos and horse sales as I was growing up. I was told, in not so many words, more than once to get back on the horse and buck up. At the same time, my Dad was in many ways one of the most understanding people I have ever known. He knew his share of hard times and mistakes and I believe that shaped his spirit of empathy for others. In him, as in most of us, existed the duality of sinner and saint.
Even though this song always gets me a bit, I always feel good at the end when the lyrics conclude...
Cowgirl, don't cry. Ride, baby, ride.
Lessons in life show us all in time, too soon God will let you know why.
If you fall get right back on. The good Lord calls everybody home.
Cowgirl, don't cry.
When I hear those words, "The good Lord calls everybody home," it warms my aching heart. I know that he indeed is home, and I ache a little less inside.