It has been hard. So hard. I know. As much as I can know, I know.
But if my family's experience at the loss of my father-in-law is any indication, today will be the hardest day.
Today will be long. The visitation, while healing in its own right, is also grueling. Too many hours, too many people, too much standing, not enough water, need-to-pee grueling.
Too many tears, too many hugs, too many loved ones you won't remember tomorrow grueling.
I imagine you awoke early, making final preparations, rushing last minute items to the funeral home, spending a last few moments alone together as a family, getting ready, paying your own respects, before the public arrives.
It will be a long day. A very long day.
And at times it will feel like you can't take anymore, can't hug one more person, can't be there anymore.
And at other times it will feel numb, like your father isn't lying behind you in a casket. You will shake hands, and hug people while they are crying, and for a few moments you will feel nothing.
And then a glance to your dad, or catching eyes with someone across the room, or a brief clip of music catches your ear, and the tears will come again.
It will be a very long day.
But there is tomorrow.
Tomorrow you will have the funeral service. Tomorrow you will bury your dad.
It will be quieter. Fewer people. More private. There will be time for you to speak, to say your peace, to say your good-byes.
It will still be hard, but unlike the grueling nature of today, there is peace in the quiet of tomorrow's ceremony. There is a strange sort of peace at the finality of it.
And the next day... the next day, for the first time in a long time, you will be able to breathe.
Oh, don't get me wrong. It still hurts. I wish I could tell you it gets better, it gets easier. But it doesn't. You just become used to it and learn how to move on.
But the day after next, you will be able to breathe. Finally. You may not realize it at first, but it's there, the breath in space now unknown to you.
You will move on. You will get down to business. Helping your mom navigate life insurance policies, and joint accounts, and wills. It will hurt, badly at times, but you will begin moving on.
And months from now, maybe even years from now, there will still be times when you are overcome with emotion, when you miss your dad, when it hits you once again. There will still be days when you succumb to the tears.
But today, today is the hardest. I promise.
You can do this. You can get thru today. And then, you can find a bit of peace tomorrow, and then... then, you can breathe.
You are on my heart today, and I am praying God holds you tightly, that you feel His presence in your time of need.
God bless you.