I’m honored to share this piece from my friend Evelyne at Nemcsok Farms:
The Hole Was Bigger than I Thought — Finding Strength in Grief
Around a year ago, we wrapped up what we knew as my Dad’s life, and tried to celebrate his time on this earth and in our presence, with the internment of his ashes.
I had the honor of placing his ashes into the grave.
The hole was a lot deeper than I expected,
and the weather was nicer than I expected,
and I felt a lot sadder than I expected.
He died in April, just after his birthday. At the time, I was going through the motions of our bed time routine, reading stories, and tucking in and all that great stuff…while I was also preparing for what was to be my last visit with my Dad on this earth.
I made the drive at night, about 70 km south of where we live, to spend some time with my Dad, to say goodbye before he left to go to that wondrous place called Heaven.
He was resting, he was comfortable, and he had a couple of great friends, his daughters and his sister by his side. He was as peaceful as you would expect, finally sleeping well after a hard illness.
He passed away early the next following morning, and even though I knew it was coming, I was still shocked.
The grief was bigger than I expected.
I have an image on my phone, of a small stack of wood, a chopping block and an axe. A 6 lb axe. This image represents my sense of independence, my strength.
And it also represents my loss.
I once told my Dad that I couldn’t split wood. That I know it “is all technique” not strength, but still I tried and I can’t do it. He said “bulls*%t”.
At the time I shrugged it off. I had no need to actually split wood myself. We have a wood splitter and my husband is amazing with an axe.
But still, I wanted to be able to do it. Much like I want to be able to everything myself. It is my way.
One day last fall, while being outside with the kids, I saw the pile of wood, I saw the axe. I had time, I could try. I didn’t get it on the first swing. But I got it.
My strength is bigger than I expected.
I can split wood with a 6 lb axe. And my Dad knew I could do it.
See, when I lost my Dad, I also lost my biggest fan. I admired everything about my Dad growing up. He was the strongest, funniest, bravest, and most uncondemning person in my world.
And he thought I was unstoppable. He wanted me to know it too.
I don’t have my Dad anymore. I have my memories and I hope a lot of his finer qualities. I know undoubtedly that I have a lot of his not so fabulous qualities as well, but my friends and family love me anyway.
My Dad lived his life on his own terms. I try to remember the things he taught me, and I hope to do his memory justice.
I never knew that he was my biggest fan, until the day I realized I could do something I had previously believed I couldn’t. On that day I realized the there are ways of finding strength in grief.
And then I knew.
I knew what my Dad had been trying to show me all my life. That he believed in me, and that he knew what I could do. His support was bigger than I expected.
I miss him so much. Today has been hard. I am eternally grateful for the friends I have today, for the people who care for me. I know I could get by on my own, but it sure is nice when you don’t have to.
The hole was deeper than I expected.