Grief is a strange thing
My dad’s birthday was yesterday, Oct. 18. He would have been 84. He died Oct. 1, 2012. After being relatively healthy and active, he had a mild stroke the beginning of August and many TIA’s after. I went to stay with them while my sister went on vacation. I had a day with him at their home, then after another “episode”, we took him to the hospital and he never got to come home again. He suffered an acute stroke that left him unable to talk, was airlifted to MUSC in Charleston, SC. He suffered a heart attack 5 days later, then passed away 4 days after that. I stayed with my mom and my sister at the hospital until I left the Friday before he died. I needed to get home to my husband and two teens. I feel like I was able to say goodbye – at that point we knew he would not recover. He died very peacefully in a hospice home with my sister and my mom by his side. Both of my brothers had been there on and off the past week, and he knew they had been there. The funeral services were last week – we had a memorial service in one city and a graveside service in another.
After the emotional roller coaster of the hospital stay and many, many tears there, I feel numb right now. I’ve cried a couple of times, but mostly just don’t want to think about it because I feel like if I give in to it, I won’t stop crying. I’m sleeping ok, but my decisions and thought processes are like they are in slow motion. It’s almost easy to believe it didn’t happen since I live 12 hours away; I can imagine that he’s still at home. I know it will hit when I visit the first time. Part of me just wants to curl up on the couch and watch movies – let myself be mindless and depressed. The other part of me struggles to do what needs to be done and I feel guilty when I “waste” time, kind of like now. My sweet husband is very supportive, but doesn’t really know what to do and I don’t know what to tell him. My kids seem relatively unaffected, though I know they have mourned. I do worry that they are also ignoring their feelings, and I don’t know how to help them cope or if I need to help them cope. I worry about my mom and my sister and her husband who live down the street from Mom. I don’t know how to support them from such a long distance.
Am I still in the “shocked stage” of grief? I’ve had friends cry when they hug me, and I feel somewhat guilty for not shedding tears, too. I just don’t want to believe he’s gone, that I’ll never hear him say “Hey, Dunc!” again, or jitterbug with him or hug him, that my kids won’t hear him sing “Happy Birthday” in harmony with my mom on their birthdays anymore. He was a very special daddy and granddaddy, and I’m so going to miss him.