Trilogy of Grief - Soapbox, Jr.
It seems like it was a million years ago; it seems like it was yesterday. Sometimes it still seems like I will eventually wake and the past three years were just and I don’t mean just the pandemic we went through or the current state of the world and our nation.
No, I'm talking about the looming third anniversary of July 6, 2020—the day my Dad went home to forever be with the Lord.
Memories and emotions flood my mind whenever this anniversary approaches. There's a mix of anticipation and unease as I prepare to relive that fateful day and the subsequent moments, as if they happened just yesterday, vividly replaying for the third consecutive year.
Grief is an intricate maze. It can feel like it's mostly behind you, and then suddenly, it resurfaces without warning.
You can go from feeling strong and composed one minute, to being struck by a wave of sorrow and longing when something reminds you of your loved one.
My mom has had her fair share of good and bad days, and sometimes those days switch back and forth within any given day.
Everyone copes with grief differently, some people cry all the time, some cry hardly at all, if ever. Some people are depressed, some press on and put on a brave face and soldier on. Some do a combination of all of the above.
Shortly after my Dad’s passing, I reluctantly joined a grief support group with my mom. Initially, I believed it would be a waste of time because I had more important things to do, I had to pick up the shattered pieces of our lives and figure out how to sustain Dad’s legacy without him, and I had more important things to than to worry about myself.
Back then, and even now, I never felt like I had the luxury of grieving. I had an overwhelming responsibility to uphold my dad's legacy—writing about his music, managing the CDB website and social media, and now hosting a podcast. For now, these endeavors have been my grief therapy.
Find what works for you.
But the reluctant grief group was not a complete waste of time, I did learn a couple of valuable lessons.
One is that the Kübler-Ross Model of grief isn’t necessarily accurate for everyone. The model - named for its creator, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – suggests that grief follows a linear progression through five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But in reality, grief is far more complex.
In the grief group, it was suggested that rather than stages of grief are more like a rubber band ball, where all the stages of grief are tightly intertwined. Any of these stages can resurface at any moment, catching us off guard. This seems to better capture the experiences of both my mother and me, rather than a rigid sequence of steps.
That seems more accurate to what Mom and I have experienced rather than step one, step two, etc,…
And the second thing I learned is that as agonizing as grief can be it is the price we pay for love. If we didn't grieve in some way, it would mean we didn't truly love. And living a life devoid of love is no life at all.
But one of the most profound insights about grief came from an unexpected source—a Disney+ Marvel TV show called WandaVision.
Now, I won't delve too deep into the complicated plot, but essentially, the show revolves around a character grappling with grief. This character, Wanda, possesses immense power and seemingly uses it to resurrect her love, an android named Vision, along with someone who may or may not be her brother. All of this takes place in a small town, where each episode pays homage to different decades of TV sitcoms.
I told you it was an unexpected source.
In one episode, as Wanda discusses her grief over her brother's death, Vision—a being made of wires and circuits—offers an astonishingly insightful response: "What is grief if not love persevering?" Indeed, it is.
Pretty deep stuff for a show based on comic book characters.
Grief is the lingering love that persists even when our beloved is no longer there to receive it. When the ones we hold dear are absent, our hearts and souls feel adrift, grappling with the hollowness of their absence.
Grief sucks, plain and simple.
As I mentioned before, we must each find what works for us. In my case, writing has been instrumental in navigating this tumultuous journey.
It’s been a while since I’ve delved into my feelings of losing Dad. Over the past year, I've focused more on writing about general memories of dad, some controversial moments in Dad's career, breakdowns of his albums, and the legendary Volunteer Jam concerts.
But with year three without “The Best There’s Ever Been” approaching like a freight train, I’m sure I will open my heart about losing dad again very soon.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d never want to deprive Dad of the unimaginable beauty and eternal love he’s experiencing now. That would be selfish of me. Instead, I'll yearn for the day when we're reunited, and together we'll rejoice in our reunion.
That being said, I’m also excited for several projects we have in the works, things that will ensure that we will keep Dad’s legacy alive for years to come.
What do you think?
Let’s all make the day count!
Pray for our troops, our police, the Peace of Jerusalem and our nation.
God Bless America!
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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Check Out The Charlie Daniels Podcast!
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