Dad and Grandma in 10 days

by Susie

I had a pretty bad childhood. My mom was gone all the time and my dad was an abusive alcoholic. I didn't see my father after the age of 12 (I am 34 now). Throughout everything my grandma (my dad's mom) was my rock. She loved me unconditionally and without her I would not be here today. She was like my mom and dad rolled into one person. The best person anyone can imagine.

Over the past 2 years I had started to forge a relationship with my father. He never said sorry but he was clearly trying to make small steps to earn forgiveness. We talked online and I had always hoped to hear an "I'm sorry" one day. I had hoped to have a father one day.

I was in New Orleans in March 2013 on a work trip and was hanging out in the French Quarter after a successful presentation on Saturday March 16th. I left my cell phone in the hotel to avoid any mugging issues. When I returned to the room my phone had dozens of missed calls and text messages from my Aunt and Cousin. My father had a fatal and unexpected heart attack earlier that evening. He was 56. I didn't know how to feel or what to do. My ability to "make things right or make things okay" was gone. I could never tell him that I wanted to have a relationship and I wanted him to say he was sorry. I would never know if he loved me or if he cared about me at all.

I packed up my things from New Orleans and rented a car to drive the 8 hours to my hometown to be there. That same evening (the 16th) my grandmother was told of my father's death. She became short of breath and complained of chest pains. My cousin took her to the ER where it was determined she had a stress-induced heart attack (she was 76).

I spent the next week at my grandma's bedside in the hospital. In the early days we laughed and joked. After 2-3 days she began to not be as responsive. She cried and sobbed periodically (thinking of my father, I am sure). The doctors couldn't do much to help her. She stayed on morphine for the duration of her hospital stay. In the early hours of March 26th my grandma passed away. The stress and broken heart was too much for her.

Since March, things have been so hard that I often feel like I can't breath. I go between being angry, sad, and hopeless. I am not sure my life will ever be okay again. I feel totally alone.

Comments for Dad and Grandma in 10 days

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Dec 07, 2013
Dad and Grandma in 10 days
by: Doreen UK

Susie I am sorry for your loss of your Dad and grandma in such a short space of time almost together. The way you feel now is normal and you may benefit from grief counselling since these were two significant people in your life and you have been left confused and alone not able to process how you go on in life. Grief makes one feel as if they will be this way forever. But as healing from grief takes place so does our circumstances and the way we handle life. Healing is such a slow process.
I am sure your father loved you otherwise he would not have emailed you and been in contact with you. You both drifted apart. Often it is so hard to tell the people we love that we love them. Often we show this in different ways. I think in general we know whether a person loves us or not. They will show this in the way they talk to us and the way in which they relate to us. We all have expectations in life of our parents as they are the people who are supposed to nurture us and when this duty is not executed it leaves one feeling much the way you do now. It is possible to resolve such feelings in counselling. I DID. I have resolved my depression of 40yrs. and this has never returned. I have a healthier mind set and I think positively. I feel much better emotionally despite losing my husband to cancer 19 months ago. You will recover from your grief in time. Don't rush grief and nurture yourself back from grief. It does help. I hope you have better days ahead.

Dec 07, 2013
I'm sorry for the loss of your father and grandmother
by: Candace

Leaving your phone in your room while in New Orleans was not a bad thing to do. It well could've been stolen. My neighbor's purse was stolen there only five minutes after she sat down with her friends. If that had happened to you, you wouldn’t have even gotten those messages. New Orleans has some of the worst crime statistics in the nation. It sounds like your father was pretty much already gone. I'm glad you spent those last days with your wonderful grandma. She sounded like a wonderful human being. I think what killed my dad (he was wonderful too) was the death of my brother only 4 months earlier. You're probably right about her dying of a broken heart. I'm just glad she had you with her at the end. At least she had you. Both of my grandmother's were dead at 58 and 60. I'm 57, and I take a lot after them, so I'm getting a little worried, but there are just some things we cannot control. My dad always said to me when I would get upset about things I had no control over, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." I still believe he "checks in" on me sometimes when I am in a state where I am almost awake, but not quite. Pay attention to your dreams -- you may yet have chances to still communicate with your deceased loved ones. We just don't really know, but it does seem very real to me when it happens. Good luck and try not to focus so much on the "what ifs." I'm sure you did the best you could at the time and it sounds like you were a wonderful granddaughter who brought much happiness to your grandmother. I'm sorry for your loss.

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