“I walked a mile with pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow;
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me.”
-Robert Browning Hamilton
There comes a time in everyone’s life, sometimes multiple, when they he experiences grief, and everyone faces it so differently.
I always remember the turning point-that moment when I knew nothing would remain the same. That night almost eleven years ago when my parents sat me down at our dining room table and told me they were getting a divorce. As a ten-year old girl I reacted the same way I do now, with numbness. An outward appearance of strength that’s hiding the turmoil underneath. I remember walking through the hallways of our house and stopping in front of every family picture we had, realizing there would be no more. All I had left were these pictures and my memories. So there I stood in front of every photograph, trying to take in every last detail as if they too would be taken away from me.
Two years later, things had settled down for the most part. We had established a routine. My sister and I spent every other weekend with my dad. We had moved to a new city, a new house and started a new school. I had just begun to adjust and find a little bit of stability with my new life, but life had different plans.
I came home one day after school and saw a message on my answering machine. I pressed play and went along unpacking my school stuff, as usual.
“Hey Natalie and Stephanie, this is your dad..”
“Where is he? There is so much background noise” I thought to myself.
“I’m at the airport right now about to board a flight. I called to say good-bye. You won’t be seeing me, maybe even hearing from me again.”
“I’m boarding now, but..”
“I love you.”
I vividly remember leaning against the counter and sliding down to the floor and just bawling. I kept telling myself that I should’ve made it home sooner; if I had taken that shortcut, I could’ve talked him out of it. I could’ve…said good bye. Everything inside of me was shaking, and everything around me was spinning. I grabbed the counter and unsteadily pulled myself off the floor only to fall right back down and continue crying.
That was nine years ago. I never did see him again. Even though he wasn’t taken away from me, the fact that he chose to leave didn’t make the grief any less real. Grief is grief.
“Moving on” wasn’t an easy process either. I had my fallbacks. I felt abandoned. I remember the day of my high school graduation. I looked around the room hoping to see him there. I sent invitations to his side of the family in hopes they would let him know about it. He never came. I held onto my phone all day, waiting for a call. He never called. I was definitely hurt, but as I looked into the crowd and saw those two rows of people that love and care for me; I felt that I was gonna be okay. There was people here who did care for me, and they mattered.
Everyone grieves, but we can’t stay there. We have to move forward. I heard that my father remarried and started a family. I am a chapter in his life, just as he’s a chapter in mine.
I faced some grievous news this week. Once again, I felt like my world was shaken. I’ve learned that God sometimes chooses to use times of sorrow and grief to remind us that only He can provide true stability and security.
“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help…Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” Psalm 146: 3 & 5