Remembering Doria

One Father's Journey after the Death of his Daughter

When the Scheming Stops

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I love to plan and scheme. I like setting goals and figuring out how to get there. I like to see why  it won’t work out and find a way to make it work. I like to pray through plans. I love to put a plan in place, carry it out, and see something good happen at the end. I love planning and I love results. I like to deal in definable and concrete objectives, knowing what success means and how to get there, ahead of time and throughout the process. It’s a fun and productive way to live. Things get done and goals are achieved. It also makes grieving over Doria a difficult proposition. 

Yesterday, I spent the day in my comfort zone. For the most part, I was on a roll. I had appointments scheduled with students all day long to talk about strategy and planning for their essay exam today. I got to share my love for planning and scheming with these young people. Almost certainly, they grabbed onto something there and put it into action.

I also worked out my graduation plan. I scheduled out the last courses that I’ll need to finish my PhD coursework. I got to talk to people about things that need to be included (although there are a couple of double-checks yet to make), put pieces together, and know that I can see an actual graduation in my future. That’s not a bad goal, and a whole lot of fun to plan.

I put a reading plan into place, and spent the night carrying out that strategy. It worked like a charm, and the plan set up some more success for the upcoming weeks and months. It was good. I was the kid in a candy shop. It was a blast! I love to plan and scheme. I love to see plans and schemes work out. Just love it. 

Grieving puts a flip side on that. My graduation plan has a completion date. This doesn’t. Assignments have a due date. This doesn’t. I know what successful papers look like. I know how to put together a good project, and I know what the end result should look like. I don’t know what the end result of this looks like. I’m honestly not sure that I know which direction the target is in. 

If this were a military convoy, there would be a map with the objective marked, and a movement table marking off checkpoints along the way. Not so much here. The journey seems a lot more uncertain. I know that God is good for it (see Romans 8:28-29), but I don’t know what “works all things for the good” looks like here. The guidelines aren’t nearly as clear as “15-20 page paper over topic of your choice” or something like that. The destination, route, and progress markers are all seemingly undefined. 

That goes against everything that I like to do. I like the certainty, but I’m walking around without knowing where I’m really headed.  When Becky was pregnant, I knew the end state of the operation. Something I read on Twitter from @bornsilently really made me think of this: “I wish I had my innocence back and believed that pregnancy=baby like it used to.”

Yeah, I miss that. That was defined. I really miss knowing where things were going. It was fun to map that out. It was exciting to plan out life with Doria, or even just to think about that. Life after Doria’s death is  very confusing. I’m sure I’m learning something, but it’s not always easy to tell. I wish that I could just put a schedule to it, establish some milestones, and know that I was heading exactly towards the right destination. That’s apparently very difficult, if not impossible. 

That’s something I learned today about this process. I like things that are much more clear. I was extremely excited to have a day filled with planning and scheming and defined goals. The rest of it is just not the same.


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