Cassandra Moton – Children’s Programming Pastor
My dad died earlier this year. It was a shock to my system at the time. Completely unexpected. But after the services, after I flew home, I jumped right back into life. Full throttle.
I have three children; one was finishing school and figuring out what she wanted to do for college, one was in 6th grade about to finish elementary school and begin her first year of Jr. High, and my middle daughter was finishing up her junior year of high school. Busy, busy, busy. We had car issues and were figuring out how to juggle the cars and get everyone where they needed to be. Can I just say thank goodness for Uber! Yep, I became that parent. And if you know anything about our church, it truly was the busiest season I’ve had on staff that I can ever remember. Between the months of March and July it was completely nonstop in every way. I wasn’t just moving quickly from day to day, task to task, I was in a full-fledged sprint. During all of this, a few people would approach me and say, “Cassandra, I’m sorry about your dad, how are you doing?” I would smile and say “I’m fine. I miss my dad, but I’m fine, really.” Here is the thing. I thought I was fine. I thought all was fine. I truly believed this. But it was not fine.
Last week I found myself sitting in front of my new boss, crying. Seriously, crying!! Who in the world is this person I’ve become? I didn’t even recognize myself. I’m not one to cry just because I’m sad, or because things don’t go my way. I don’t cry over spilled milk. When I spill the milk, I clean up it up, find out how not to make the same mistake again, apologize to whomever I owe an apology too, and move on. I lean in to criticism and tough conversations. I truly want to hear the truth so I can get better and I tell others the truth so they can be better too. Soft is not a word that would roll off your tongue when describing me (just ask my children). But here I was, in a puddle of tears, without the faintest idea of why.
Grief comes in many forms. There is not a one size fits all. It is not even the same for me today as it was yesterday. But when you lose someone, grief will come.
That night, as I was trying to figure out what truly was going on with me, these words were impressed on my heart and soul:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4
Here is the truth. I haven’t been taking the time to mourn or to weep. Much less laugh or dance. I need more of all of it. All of it.
I friend of mine gave me some great advice. Breathe. Yep – that’s it. Simply breathe. I need to take the time and feel whatever I feel, and breathe in the moment. Sit there in the space and breathe. The feeling of loss can hit you out of nowhere – you can be fine one moment and the next you’re flat on your back and have no idea why. There are no warning signs, or lights flashing that you are headed down this road. It just happens. But I had been ignoring the feelings of missing my dad. Instead of living in the moment, instead of breathing in the loss, I moved on to the next task. I put a lid on it all.
I miss my dad.
If you are grieving, breathe. Give yourself permission to grieve, whatever that looks like for you. Give yourself time to weep and to mourn. And don’t forget to laugh and dance too.
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