Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

I’m sorry, but no you don’t….you have absolutely no idea how I feel, or what I’m going through. I’m pissed off, I’m sad, I’m depressed, I’m scared, I’m fortunate and I’m grateful all at the same time, just in different proportions.

Five months ago my dad passed away. It was very sudden and very unexpected. There was no warning, no diagnosis, no time to say goodbye. He woke up, went to the gym just like every morning, and never came home. He lost consciousness in a whirlpool, slipped under the water and floated into Heaven that day.

Per protocol he was put into a medically induced coma so he could be cooled and the doctors could run the proper tests to see if there was any hope. That’s when I got the call that would change my life. I drove home from work, blinded with terror and tears, crawled into my bed and sobbed, “I love you, daddy,” over and over and over again. I knew he could hear me because I knew he was gone. I prepared myself mentally to make the five hour drive to Pennsylvania. (Read:  I completely compartmentalized my brain into denial. I was completely in shock.) 

When I got to the hospital, it was confirmed: there was no brain activity, no more pain, no more suffering. The machines were struggling to keep him alive so that I could whisper goodbye. He was the same ruddy color he always was, he smelled exactly like himself and there were tubes and machines everywhere. I started asking a million questions. I got so loud that they politely shuffled me into a private room. “Are you sure?”  “How do you know?” “There’s no chance?”  “Have you done everything?”

I kept willing myself to just wake up and find out it was all a horrible nightmare, so I could just call him and tell him I loved him and hear him say it back. It didn’t happen. This was real and this was it. “Goodbye, Daddy,” I whimpered. I’m so proud of you and who you made me to be.”

My dad and I butted heads a lot and had different views on almost everything. He was hard to please, didn’t think women were all that smart (except for me, because I was a part of him), and was not an open-minded thinker. But he loved the Lord and he loved his family. He was my protector, my advocate and my DADDY. 

So I did what I do when I’m over-feeling anything and I wrote about it. I wrote Facebook posts, texts and messages. I even wrote his obituary. (Talk about HARD WRITING….whew.)

And along came the condolences. Friends and acquaintances sent lots of prayers and sorrys and love. I expected these because I am truly blessed by the people in my life.

But what I didn’t expect to read was, “I know exactly how you feel.”  Now, I know this came from empathy – from someone who lost a parent, too. And I know it’s really hard to know what to say and do when a friend loses a loved one. But in my heightened state of grief, I felt defensive, even angry. “No you don’t!” I thought. “You have no f**king idea how I feel!”

You don’t know how devastated I am that I will never hear his voice again. That I’m so angry that he wasn’t paying attention to his body signals and just slipped under water! That I had to say goodbye to him when he was already gone! That I thought I would have at least ten more years with him! You don’t know how much I regret not spending more time with him when we were visiting and calling him more. And so, much, more…..

A friend of mine recently lost her dad, also very suddenly. I wrote, “Prayers, love and empathy for you, my friend.”  I immediately deleted it, remembering that even though I just went through it, I cannot truly empathize and I don’t want to try. We process grief differently; our relationships with our “losses” are as unique as our DNA.

Tell your people you love them. Show them how you really feel. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Today is a gift.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Juli Schafer

A native of Lancaster, PA, Juli has lived in the Fredericksburg, VA area for 11 years. She and her husband of 15 years own a restaurant and a cupcake shop. (How did that happen, she jokes all the time since she doesn’t bake or cook, so don’t ask for any recipes or tips.) Her true loves are writing, marketing and event planning, Jesus and her 14-year old daughter. She proudly accepts her crazy and invites you to join her....crazy is NOT a bad word: 'Crazy' –“Full of cracks or flaws. Unusual. Distracted with desire or excitement. Absurdly fond; passionately preoccupied.” She is working on building a stronger faith, finding her true path, and being a brighter light. You can find her at http://sincerelyjuli.com/

A Letter To My Mother in Heaven

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
Wide open sky at sunset

Dear Mom, I miss you. I wish you were here. I can tell you a mom is irreplaceable for a child. When a mom dies, her child is no longer whole. The loss makes it hard to breathe. That child flails in the wind like a cottonwood seed. A piece of fluff that gets knocked about the world by the wind. Sometimes I landed on solid ground, sometimes I landed in a pond and almost drowned. But I’m still here. I survived. RELATED: To Those Who Know the Bitter Hurt of Losing a Parent In the year after your death,...

Keep Reading

The Grey Sweater

In: Death of a Parent, Faith, Grief
The Grey Sweater www.herviewfromhome.com

Folding the laundry gets me down sometimes. It’s a mindless activity, really. My brain runs on autopilot as it remembers the old days when laundry only took up a small percentage of my time. Nowadays, I can spend up to four hours in one afternoon doing laundry for my tribe of six people. I drift into a mechanical rhythm as I go through my three step process: retrieve fold put away (Granted, this is an ideal scenario- I don’t typically make it through all three steps in one day!) While I was going through the motions this morning, my hands...

Keep Reading

Even Though You’re In Heaven, Your Grandchildren Will Know You

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
Mother and little boy looking down road

The well-loved picture frame sits on the shelf in your grandkids’ room; just high enough to be out of reach from curious toddler hands, but low enough for me to pull it down each time they ask about you. That photo of you— it has always been my favorite. You look so happy, so healthy, so whole . . . just the way that I want these sweet grandbabies of yours—the ones you never got to meet—to know you. Because although you may be in Heaven, they will know you. You’ll never bounce them on your knee, or sneak extra...

Keep Reading

He Died Getting Sober For His Granddaughter: What My Father’s Death Taught Me About Grief

In: Death of a Parent, Grief
He Died Getting Sober For His Granddaughter: What My Father's Death Taught Me About Grief www.herviewfromhome.com

Years had been spent trying to tell my father that he needed help. He and his wife had separated, gotten back together, and separated again. His alcoholism was controlling every facet of his life and he was in complete denial about it. That had been the way for years. When I finally became pregnant, my husband and I decided to drop the bomb on Dad with humor. He had what we called a “thriving” waistline (due to excessive drinking and poor diet) and so I pointed out his gut and said “give me a few months and I’ll catch up....

Keep Reading

Moving Through Grief With My Sensitive Son

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Kids
Moving Through Grief With My Sensitive Son www.herviewfromhome.com

My middle child, Austin, is not the extrovert like his older sister and younger brother. Though he doesn’t hide from a crowd, he’s most happy at home, reading books, riding his bike in the alley, and cuddling in our big chair with me. He’s always been this way. My husband, Shawn, and I spent a painful year watching Austin scream and cry every single day when we’d leave him at the preschool doors. The next year was less dramatic, but he still shed many tears. Finally in kindergarten he could walk into the classroom without crying, but he would still...

Keep Reading

My Mom Died and It’s Not Fair

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
My Mom Died and It's Not Fair www.herviewfromhome.com

“I think we should leave,” I whispered to my husband through clenched teeth as my two-year old daughter, Hailey, wailed in my arms. We were at my cousin Ryan’s house for his daughter’s birthday party and Hailey was having a typical overtired toddler meltdown. Tears started to well up in my eyes, but not because of my daughter’s less than ideal behavior. As I surveyed the room, I could see my aunt smiling and laughing with her granddaughter and Ryan’s wife’s mom right beside them, doting on the little girl, too. Witnessing this made me think about my own mother...

Keep Reading

A Love Letter From Mamas in Heaven to Their Beautiful Daughters on Earth

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Journal, Loss
motherless, motherless daughter, grief, loss, heaven, faith, grieving, mom www.herviewfromhome.com

“We know days don’t come easy for you and so we chose to band together and compose a love letter in your honor. Funny thing when it comes to mamas in Heaven: we find each other and form a tribe like a sisterhood on earth. We comfort one another when you’re hurting and we brag up the wazoo when you accomplish anything. Actually, we brag from morning till night. Yesterday Kim’s mama made us gather around and listen for over an hour how her daughter graduated college with honors although she had mononucleosis for two semesters. Right now, Sara’s mama...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Know the Importance of a Dad, Because I Lost Mine Too Soon

In: Death of a Parent, Journal
Dear Husband, I Know the Importance of a Dad, Because I Lost Mine Too Soon www.herviewfromhome.com

Dad was enlightened. He knew that every small moment mattered. He was silly, too. He made funny faces at me in every situation. He told stories of sailing to China on container ships, and he practiced Tai Chi every morning. He knew how to engage my creativity, spreading butcher paper all over the living room floor so I could draw on and on and on. His collection of string instruments and the bright, whimsical canvases he painted in oil decorated our home. We danced and sang to Ry Cooder and David Lindley and ate slices of juicy red watermelon on...

Keep Reading

To Those Who Know the Bitter Hurt of Losing a Parent

In: Death of a Parent, Grief
Sad woman head in her hands sitting against a wall

To the young adults out there who have lost parents, this one is for you. You experienced a great loss and you’re still so young with so much life ahead of you. You often wonder how you can make it through the rest of your life without the parent who is no longer here. I see you struggling. On the outside, you hold it together. You keep a smile and hold your head up high; you want to take on the world and embrace life. You meet new people and want to tell them your story because maybe they understand....

Keep Reading

Mother’s Day Magnifies the Loss of My Own Mom, and It’s Still Hard

In: Death of a Parent, Grief, Motherhood
Mother's Day Magnifies the Loss of My Own Mom, and It's Still Hard www.herviewfromhome.com

“Your mother’s gone,” my dad said as he walked into our apartment. Those words still haunt me, even 19 years later. My mother’s death wasn’t a surprise—she had been battling lung cancer for sixteen months—I just wasn’t ready to hear it. The finality of it all. My mother was gone. Those few days, weeks and months remain somewhat of a blur. I was very angry and bitter. I had recently started dating a wonderful man (my now-husband, Brian) and our lives revolved around parties and other social events.  But I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to be happy. While out...

Keep Reading