Grief is a strange thing

by Laura
(Collierville, TN)

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.

Comments for Grief is a strange thing

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Oct 20, 2012
Making it through
by: Anonymous

I totally understand your grief. My birthday was also october 18 and I recently lost my husband, four months later I lost my sister-in-law, four months after that my mother. This will be the first Thanksgiving without them.It has been hard for me since I literally had no support. My children are adults and don't Know how to help but I feel that keeping busy doing as many new things as possible helps. No one can tell you when it's time to move on, only you know that. Talking about your dad to people is good. It may be uncomfortable for some but keep his memory alive by doing and saying tings related to him that make you smile or laugh even.It will get easier not only for you but for them as well. By the way, I'm also a hospice nurse. What irony! Keep your chin up...:)

Oct 19, 2012
Grief is a strange thing
by: Doreen U.K.

Laura you are trying so hard to look after everyone. YOU CAN'T. If you don't have boundaries and carry another's pain you will suffer a boundary injury. It will be hard to recover from. Be as supportive to your family as you can by enquiring how they are doing. Just listening is important. You don't have to find answers for everyone in Grief. LISTENING IS THE KEY. CRY! CRY! CRY! don't postpone this otherwise it will be compounded and feel twice as painfull. Crying is where your HEALING COMES FROM. Your husband will feel concerned about how he can help you as Men TRY to fix the problem and he may feel frustrated and helpless to help you. Make sure that this doesn't happen by putting the pressure elsewhere, perhaps with a grief counsellor who can support everyone. Don't compare yourself to others and expect to grieve the same way as they do. Everyone grieves differently and at different times. You don't have to measure up to anyone. Take one day at a time and if anyone is not copeing well. See a grief counsellor. they are there to assist in the grief process when one is struggling. Your mom has lost her husband. It will be worse for her. I have lost my husband of 44yrs. marriage 5 months ago to cancer. The loss of a spouse is a different Pain and Loss from that of a Father. You are married so will understand what I mean. There is a special bond between husband and wife that is different from the bond between a daughter and her father. Still significant but different. Your Mom needs support. If she is not coping encourage her to see a grief counsellor. I felt upset because my Adult Children did not grieve the loss of their father with me. they did it with their spouses. If felt left out and ALONE This may happen to your mom or any one of you. If your mom has siblings they may be a good support structure for her at this moment. A strong supportive family make a difference when grieving. You will get through this. It HURTS SO BAD. GRIEF is very Painfull. I know that in time you will all come together and be in a stronger place. It is early days for most of us.

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