C O U R A G E O U S

Updated: May 7, 2020

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Truth be told, it’s taken me almost 6 years to sit down and actually write about this. I’ve mentioned it briefly in blogs & posts but never delved deep enough because if I did that It would mean I have to relive it and I guess I haven’t been ready for that until now.

My 16 year old self had no idea what was coming. It was 5:15 a.m on the 27th of December, 2012. I woke up to the most horrendous scream I’ve ever heard in my life. At first I thought I was having a night mare, the words she was saying can’t be true. My body woke fully. This was happening, this was my reality and I didn’t know what to do.

“HE’S DEAD, HE’S DEAD” she screamed. I jumped out of bed and immediately ran to my mum and held her, I didn’t know what to do or how to act. I cuddled her. It wasn’t long before she was calling the ambulance, our family and our friends.

I slowly walked back to my room and sat on the end of my bed with my back against the wall cuddling my knees tight, I screamed and I cried hysterically. My throat was burning and my body was shaking. What was happening? How did this happen? He can’t be dead! My thoughts were running wild. I became numb. My whole day was just a blur of people coming into my room, loving me, trying to help me, trying to find the right words to say but there was nothing or no one that could fix this. I remember hearing people carry him out in the body bag. It really sunk in, My dad was gone.

My dad had suffered from kidney stones for 16 years (My whole life). The doctors medicated him and because of the high dosage and ongoing consumption it unfortunately resulted in end stage liver disease. He died because his stomach ruptured. A few years previous to his death we almost lost him from the same thing, he was in intensive care and pulled through. We were blessed to get a few extra years, whether we knew it at the time or not.

My Father was dying long before he actually passed. Our Family doctor had told him but dad didn’t tell us. I don’t know if he didn’t fully comprehend what was being said to him or he just didn’t want to hurt us.

Watching someone you love with your whole being literally deteriorate before your eyes is the most heart breaking thing I have ever experienced. I literally watched his life get sucked from his body.

God warned me this was going to happen. The night before my Father died I wasn’t going to say goodnight. I was about to walk into my room when I was stopped by a voice. So clearly I heard The Lord say: “Go and say goodnight, you don’t know when will be your last time”.

I gave my Dad a cuddle and a kiss, for the very last time here on this earth.

It broke my heart that what God told me the night before was true but I am forever thankful I got to say goodbye.

Romans 8:28 flooded my phone screen. It’s the one verse EVERYONE sent me when they found out.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”

Nothing was normal anymore. There were always so many people at my home. I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to think, I didn’t want to talk.

I remember for a solid month my beautiful forever friend Bridget would pick me up, we would go and get a bread roll or an ice cream because that’s about all I could stomach and she would take me to the beach. God blessed me with Bridget and she probably doesn’t even realise how much those small gestures meant. When my world was falling apart, she helped give me some normality. She took me to my happy place, where I was able to just be. I will be eternally thankful for her.

I remember my first day back after summer holidays after dad had passed. I walked into the school office with my mum and I had staff just stare at me with no idea what to say. It wasn’t in a sympathetic way either. It made me feel like something was wrong with me. Now that my Fathers dead you can’t hold a normal conversation with me? Teachers on the odd occasion would say things to me for crying, for feeling and for grieving. My grades were more important to them than my feelings. Assholes.

This was not healthy. I became anxious to grieve my dead father in public so I would try as best as I could to hold it all in throughout the day and everyday I would go home to sob and scream. My anxiety attacks came all the time. I didn’t really have control over them. I didn’t have control of myself. It took a few years to come out of heavy stages of grief but by the strength of God he pulled me through and only by his strength!!!

About 10 or more years ago my dad and I planted a camellia tree in our front yard. It had never bloomed when he was alive. I wrote this in 2015…

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“This morning I was praying to God and telling him how much I’ve been missing dad lately. I asked him to show me how dad is going and to tell him that I love him and miss him. I also asked that he would give me a sign that I guess in a way he told dad what I just prayed about. Tonight as I was walking out of my house I looked down to see the plant my dad and I had planted together. The only time this has bloomed was right after he passed away and tonight! I can’t even begin to stress how good our God is, he honestly cares for us so much that he would give me the peace of mind after something so small!”

Our special plant has also bloomed when I was leaving for America, when Gideon and I started dating, When we got engaged and It’s blooming now.

It’s bloomed in all different seasons for a short amount of time and as stupid as it sounds I honestly believe there is some connection that God is telling dad about my life, about where he is taking me and about my precious Gideon. I know dad would have loved Gideon.

For the last 5 years we have been holding on tightly to dad’s ashes. Overtime conversation came up about scattering them and every time I would shut it down quickly. “No, It’s not time.”

I couldn’t bare the thought of completely letting go. That was the last stage and I wasn’t ready.

Then, my beautiful mum fell in love and re-married. What an absolute blessing. Ian is incredible, I couldn’t have asked for a more loving and perfect step dad if I tried. God doesn’t miss a thing.

So, it was time. If not for me, for her.

26th of December 2017 – Our last goodbye. I’d love to sit and write about how beautiful it was to scatter his ashes with my family but I can’t because I couldn’t mentally or emotionally bring myself to do it. I spent the day weeping in my finance’s arms. I battled and battled!

“Would I regret this?”

“Would dad be angry?”

“Am I too weak?”.

The answer to all of the above is NO. Grief is a crazy thing and everyone does it differently. I couldn’t spread my dad’s ashes and I’m not ready to say my final goodbye, I don’t think I ever will be. My dad’s death shattered me in ways I can’t explain and my heart still breaks for him everyday.

I know everyone says it but I really did have THE BEST DAD EVER! He had the most beautiful heart for Jesus, he had the most adventurous spirit, he was so strong – Even when he was so sick he went above and beyond for us ALWAYS. He never complained, he was generous, he was kind and so loving. I am so proud to say that he was MY dad.

The only reason I have been able to get through the past 5 and half years without him is because of my sweet Saviour. It says in Psalm 68:5 That he is a Father to the Fatherless. I can’t tell you how true this verse is. Every time I needed a daddy cuddle, advice or love I literally felt my God wrap me in his arms, my heart would calm as he gave me comfort and he never, ever left me alone. “The Joy of the Lord is my strength” has never made more sense than in this season.

My God is so incredible. His promises reign true and I am who I am today because of him, because of his grace, his mercy and his everlasting love.

If you are facing grief, hurt, heartbreak or sadness please don’t be scared to turn to him. He wants you to fall into his arms and be completely overwhelmed with his perfect love. He is the only one that can turn the most broken situations for good. He can give you joy for mourning, He will lift your head, He will make a way when life seems hopeless! Trust him. My story is a testament to that.

Death is a part of life. I can sit here and ponder all the reasons why my dad should have lived longer or questioned why he got sick or think what if we found him earlier but at the end of the day it was his time. I am thankful to have spent 16 precious years with my beloved father, I am thankful that my dad is healed and finally out of pain, I am thankful that he is now in heaven living a full life, one that was robbed of him here on earth.

Isaiah 40:31 – But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

With love,

Bethany


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