My Journey with God Through Grief: Bargaining
The day I heard my dad had cancer was the same day I completed my final presentation of my 3 year Textile Technology diploma. I remember coming out of the presentation feeling relieved and grateful that the journey was over and I was able to get back to a semi-normal life without working and studying 18hrs a day. I knew my dad was expecting his test results but after 2 years of a negative cancer result I wasn’t too worried. When I was told that it was cancer and the 2 years of back and forward doctor visits were just a delay in treatment I felt angry, then relieved we had a proper diagnosis and then just assumed any treatment would work. My dad was my superhero. Nothing could happen to him.
The next few years seem to go along with this belief. After an op and no further treatment needed, the cancer went into remission and all seemed good. Thank you Lord the crisis seemed over and life got back to a sort of normality. Looking back I know that it was always in the back of my mind, but my constant prayer of “Please God let everything be ok” seemed to be working.
Five years after the initial diagnosis and treatment however the cancer returned. My “Please God let everything be ok” changed to “If only we’d not wasted those two years with stupid doctors” and “why didn’t we treat it differently after the first op”.
The next two years were filled with doctor’s visits, operations, radiation, more operations and finally the last doctors appointment after the treatment to determine if anything had worked and what further treatment was needed.
I was visiting for the weekend. My dad was so excited I was there so that I could meet his doctor and be present in the appointment to hear the results. He believed that he would have his miracle. He believed fully the treatment would work. I had been bargaining and praying and hoping for that miracle along with my mom and bro and our friends. I had been throwing myself into work and friendships and relationships to avoid this moment of truth. Trying to speed my life up to be able to fulfil the dreams I had of having my dad dance at my wedding, sing at my 40th, hold my child…none of which was remotely in the future at the time…bargaining and fighting with God.
Well that didn’t work…
I sat and listened as the doctor told us that there was nothing more that they could do. The treatment hadn’t worked. There wouldn’t be a miracle. My dad was given a few months to do the things he needed to do. I watched his shoulders slump and wished I could be anywhere else at that moment.
The next three months was a constant prayer of “God just give us more time”. You’re never ready to lose someone you love.
When you realise all the bargaining in the world is not going to change this reality the cycle of depression kicks in followed by more denial and anger and more bargaining…God seemed silent on the matter. I’m still not sure I have dealt with the silence or the reasons or the why’s of losing my dad to this disease. I can’t see a purpose or plan in this. I may never. I have learnt that bargaining with God does not change the outcome and that trying do things on my own just makes a mess of my life and gives me more grief. So I continue to try and put my life in His hands trusting that one day I may have some answers…and I may not. Letting go of control is the foundation of a relationship with Jesus and the hardest thing in the world when you’re facing the death of a dream or a loved one.
I have a tattoo on my shoulder that was a verse given to me in 2007 by a good friend…
Acts 2 vs 26 “I’ve pitched my tent in the land of Hope” Message version or “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope” NIV version
The context of the verse is:
Acts 2 vs 25-27 David said about him: ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope. Because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay.”
During this period of grief I almost lost this hope. I believed I had. A year ago I almost covered up this tattoo with the new memorial one for my dad, instead I had it redone and incorporated into the new one.
The original was in remembrance of a hope for the dreams of my future, the new one is a renewed hope that life does not end here and that my father waits for me in heaven.
Posted on 12/11/2015, in Me...uncensored and tagged avoidance, bargaining, cancer, Feelings, God, grief, Guilt, Healing, Hope, loss, memorial, pain, Stages of Grief, tattoos. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.