A few weeks ago, I visited my daddy’s grave for the first time since he passed over three years ago. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long. And the truth is, I haven’t had a real desire to go there.

Each time I went back to my hometown to visit, I thought about it. But most often, the kids were in tow. And I didn’t want to bring them along.

I thought it best that I was alone when I visited. Because I somehow didn’t trust that I would be able to control whatever emotions I could possibly have.

But it’s been over three years.

So a few weeks ago I was headed to pick up my mom. And there it was again. That little feeling. A nudge of sorts. For me to stop by to visit Daddy’s grave.

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Ugh. I thought to myself because I really didn’t want to. But at this point, I just wanted to get it over with. There was no one pressuring me to do so, but I felt I needed to do it for me. For some type of closure.

As I drove down the road, I started getting so anxious. Why am I feeling this way? Maybe it was the unsettling feeling to know there are parts of me that are still healing from losing him.

But it’s been over three years.

I’m finding that time heals in some ways, and in some ways, it does not. That grief changes over time, but it does not fully go away.

And for me, there is still grief there from losing him. And it comes in waves and comes so unexpectedly that I cannot even prepare for it.

I love how my friend Anne described it. She said it was like a cat jumping into your lap unexpectedly.

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But I’m learning that grief has its place and that God is using this pain for good.

“Grief puts us into a position to trust God alone for our healing and restoration,” Zig Ziglar, Confessions of a Grieving Christian.

In deep thought, I ended up passing the narrow dirt path that led to the cemetery. Then as I turned around and turned in, memories started coming back. From the day we drove down that road when he was buried.

The cemetery was freshly cut and there were a couple of men there digging another grave. It reminded me that death is just a part of life.

And as I got out of the car and approached Daddy’s grave, I had no feelings. I looked at the memorial stone as it was my first time seeing it: Loving Husband, Father, and Grandfather. Such true words.

And as I saw the flowers and whatnots my sister had left for Daddy there. I just smiled.

And I kept on smiling.

They reminded me of the many visits she makes there. And it just filled me with a sense of happiness. I was happy and smiling. So I left, without saying a word.

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Back on the road, I was reminded that though his body was laid there, he is no longer there. He is in Heaven with Jesus.

And though it had been over three years since I’d been to my daddy’s grave, he wasn’t waiting for me to visit him there. But he is waiting for me to meet him there, in Heaven.

And what a glorious day that will be. Being reunited in heaven with our loved ones who have gone before us.

Previously published on the author’s blog

Natasha Smith

Natasha is a wife, mom, and an engineer turned homeschooler. An inspirational speaker and lifestyle content creator and a lover of Jesus, coffee, and Disney. Her mission is to inspire others to do life better.