The Notes with Andrew Nemr
The Notes with Andrew Nemr
Talking Notes – A Grief Observed Part 5

Talking Notes – A Grief Observed Part 5

A Grief Observed

Thanks to everyone here for your patience as I slowly get back to my regular rhythms here. You’ll notice a new format here with a brief description and full transcription below. Let me know what you think!

A Grief Observed Part 5 – and likely the last scheduled part – in a mutli-part series in which I’ve been sharing a realtime exploration of my personal journey in the wake of my dad’s unexpected passing on March 14, 2023.

Originally recorded on April 8, 2023.


Andrew here. This is gonna be the last, at least planned installment of the series. If you've been following along I've been attempting to share some of my experience in the wake of the unexpected passing of my father Joseph Nemr on March 14th. It's been a little more than two weeks now and there are two things that are coming to mind that I thought might be good to share, so we're just gonna dive in. And the first is just to brag on my mom. My mom and dad would have been married for 50 years this coming June, and so in the wake of my dad's passing I've had a front row seat to bearing witness to the way that their love is expressing itself through my mom in this really really hard time. I'm not gonna say much about it just because my mom's a very private person, but it has been amazing for me to witness how my mom's love for my dad has shaped her experience of the past two weeks. The things that that we've talked about – the way that we've kind of talked about things and through things. It's all been kind of colored with this deep softness and, I don't know, a kind of piece that is not – how can I how can I describe this? – it's not acceptance in that kind of disconnected kind of throw your hands up in the air and be like alright nothing I can do about it so I'll just accept it…but rather like a deep place that my mom knows where my dad is she knows she's gonna see him again and that combined with kind of, “How do I care for this person that I love deeply in this moment…” I've sat with her in awe many a moment…knowing that there’s no way to guarantee that that's how someone's going to respond to such a dramatic event…so in light of having kind of bragged about my friends a little bit and just stating how grateful I've been to them in a previous note I've figured it warranted the same for my mom.

OK and now for the harder one, the harder side of it and I don't know if that's why this is. I'm thinking that this is going to be the last note or not, but the harder side of this is that things have gotten hard, not worse, and that's an interesting delineation. I don't feel like anything's gotten worse, necessarily, just things have just gotten harder. It's harder to go to sleep, it's harder to wake up, it is harder to get moving. That clarity and kind of inspiration in the wake of dad's passing that allowed me to be present for my mom and for kind of all the questions that were needing to be answered at the time and I felt super energized to be there and to do that and kind of take on the responsibility that was left to me…and do that well…it seems that I'm experiencing a kind of turn…and resistance in a way and I don't I don't necessarily like resistance. I know that it can be good. It's a formative thing and as I'm feeling it, I'm trying to to figure out where it's coming from and part of me is I think in this space where every everyday has a moment of…well every day has a moment of emotional purging that's like this: the emotion just comes, and things are sad and it's hard. Just recently I had a day where I just ran errands and that's precisely what I was doing the afternoon just before my dad passed and so running these errands, I did not want to do that again. I didn't want to replicate and experience knowing what the next experience was. So, there I was, in the aisle of Costco just tearing up and trying not to let an ugly cry come out, but it was it was close. And so, I think some of the resistance is coming from just the knowledge that things are going to be reminders and those reminders are going to be hard…

And that hardness, I don't really want to go through every day and then there are sweet moments where somebody reminds me of something that my dad used to enjoy that I used to enjoy seeing my dad enjoy and that my dad and I kind of used to share or still do share in a way…and so the spectrum of emotions are like, oh it's a broad spectrum…but I wanted to share with this hardness because I wasn't necessarily expecting it and so in the wake of just noticing – oh man, I am staying up later than I ever really want to and then sleeping in – yeah I get through the day and I kind of get through a decent amount of stuff…it's not everything that I need but a decent amount and then have dinner and then I'm in that evening cycle of, “OK well how do you delay going to sleep…” and once I noticed it I called up some friends and who have already gone through the process. Oh maybe not already, well some have already and some are just a little bit ahead of me, and it's interesting how encouraging words shift in a time like this. There's no truth to, “oh don't worry about that it'll get better…” The honesty and the reality of the situation is that, and this is what my friends very kindly and gently told me, it was, “Yeah, you're right, you're in the spot. This is what happens. It gets harder before it gets better.”

And it's interesting, they didn't say it gets harder before it gets easier. They said it gets harder before it gets better. And I think that's also true. That things get better and maybe part of that is me getting used to the fact that I don't have my dad as a constant and consistent reference point anymore, and what that's going to mean for whatever comes next for me. There are some very specific things that my dad left me that I'm going to be turning my attention to and working them out as much as possible. I'm looking forward to that.

For right now, the hardness is real, and I figured as inspired as I was to share all the other stuff, it's important to share the harder things too with the hope that I trust that it will get better. So if you or someone you know are going through a hard time, maybe just maybe holding on as you go through it is the way. At least for me there's no way around this one and I wouldn't want to avoid it, and some days there's some inspiration behind all the things and I get this stuff done and it feels like it's a good day…and some days I binge watch NCIS and play solitaire and trying not to go to sleep and I guess so long as that doesn't become a norm I'm OK…hope you are too…OK that is…and I'll see you on the next one, so long.

The Notes with Andrew Nemr
The Notes with Andrew Nemr
Andrew Nemr, a critically acclaimed tap dance artist, explores the intersection of creativity and spiritual formation.
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