Dad, Grief

I promise I end this on Teh Funny

I remember several years ago after one of my pregnancy losses, I found myself wandering around a few days AFTER I found out the fetus had died but BEFORE my D&C. It was a weird couple of days, as I knew I was still kinda pregnant, but kinda not. I didn’t get out much in that weird “between” time. I was too sad. But – at one point I went to Target for groceries and remember really wanting to tell everyone I passed, “Hey, I have a dead baby inside of me.” Now – I didn’t do that for VERY obvious reasons – but the urge was buried somewhere deep inside of me. Some very crass (and kinda disturbed) part of me that wanted everyone to truly understand what I was going through. That I wasn’t just some woman buying milk…I was a mother who was experiencing a loss. I was devastated and wanted to make sure everyone knew that.

I find myself thinking back to that trip to Target a lot lately. In the last 3 weeks since Dad made the decision to not continue his very short fight against cancer and kidney failure, I feel like my heart has been in so much agony. On the outside I’m going about my life, tending to my family and my career. I’ve been making the very frequent 220 mile drive home to see Dad, and then coming back to my “other” life. My normal life. It’s a very weird existence to try to do the daily chores while on the inside I just feel so broken. So sad. In so much pain. I constantly fight that same urge I had in Target, to tell everyone I pass, “Hey. My Dad’s dying right now. Just wanted you to know.”

However, I also find myself looking at other people I pass and wondering what their tragedy is. Are they dealing with anything like this? Have the recently? Did I pass them in the cracker aisle one day months ago when their heart was in this much pain? Did I offer them a smile?

It’s just a strange place to be. To be having to live my life and take care of my family but always having my Dad and his death in the forefront of my quiet mind. I do the laundry and think about how he used to read poetry in the basement waiting for a wash cycle to end. I load the dishwasher and think about how we had a broken dishwasher in our house for 30 years. I hold my kids and think about the years I spent being held by him. Both physically as I lay on his shoulder talking about my day, and metaphorically as I called him or wrote to him with every dark day I faced. He is on my mind and in my heart through every breath and across every step yet I continue to try to act like my life is no different than it was two months ago.

My point? I don’t know what it is. I guess I just want you to know that if your heart is hurting for whatever reason, know that there’s someone here on the other side of this blog who understands. Mine is hurting too.

Now – I have to end on a funny story because my Dad (who read my blog daily) would not want this place to become depressing on his account.

Yesterday evening I gave Nikki a bath, braided her hair, put a sundress on her, and went to family dinner. We ended up going by a Bar-B-Q place to pick up a pie. While there she decided she needed to go potty. We went to the bathroom and I pulled up her dress to put her on the potty and we both realized at that moment: I had forgotten to put panties on her. Her eyes got real big and I started laughing. I told her, “We’ll run back home and grab some panties before we go to Mimi and Dampaw’s.” She didn’t like the idea of delaying seeing her grandparents so she said, “Nah…that’s okay, Mom. We don’t have to wear panties under our sundresses.”

E spent the rest of the evening calling her Britney Spears.

(After – of course – we went home and got her some panties.)


My mom installed a baby door for us at her house since we’ve been staying there so much.

51 thoughts on “I promise I end this on Teh Funny”

  1. You expressed so perfectly that sense of walking around – your world crumbling – and just going about your life. And how you wonder how many other people are suffering as well. And whether anyone is kind to them.

    Thank you – this was a beautifully written post.

    And I am thinking and praying for you and your family.

  2. man, perfectly stated… i’m always thinking about you.

    i’m impressed that you all just forgot panties. under the circumstances, i would have forgotten the kids!


  3. I am really sorry to hear about your Dad. We went through the same thing almost a year ago with my mom. It felt like I was living there at the Hospice facility with her. When I did get out to tend to “normal” life, I remember walking around wanting to tell everyone that my mom was dying. So don’t feel alone with your feelings. I actually had a blog going at the time about my daily commute to work, but as soon as she got sick, it turned into a blog about my mom and served its purpose as a a place for friends and family to get updates on her condition, but more importantly a place for me to put down my feelings into written words. After she died, I could no longer post on it. I hope that isn’t the case with you as I would really miss you and your family.

    You are doing a great job of keeping it all together. But don’t forget to focus on you.

    Years from now you’ll all get a big laugh out of NikkiZ’s missing panties. Share that story with your dad next time you visit him. I don’t know if he is still talking and coherent, but I know in my mom’s last few days when she wasn’t communicating with us she heard every word we said. She would have smiled with a story like that!

    If you see me in Target, you can tell me about your dad and I’ll hug you.

  4. I am so sorry to hear about your dad. I understand wanting to tell people though. I’m going through a big thing right now too, husband having an affair and wants a divorce, and it feels like living a lie to not tell people. I’ve found myself thinking about what other people may be going through. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I really understand the first part of this post. I rode home from the doctor a few weeks ago wanting to tell the lady sitting next to me that I just found out my baby had died. Of course I didn’t say anything to her. I just quietly cried to myself.

    I thought of you a lot during those “in between” days and wondered how you’ve been so strong to have dealt with this same thing so many times. I wanted to write you and ask you. But I knew you have bigger fish to fry right now.

    Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you sharing your strength.

  6. I have been thinking and praying for your family.

    I love that Lil Z was calling her B.Spears. Must be nice to have that teenage humor around ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Very well put. It is hard to go through the day to day and not want to burst into tears when something like this happens. It happens with every kind of loss/tragedy. You and your family are still in my prayers and thoughts!

  8. I’ve been thinking about you lots – checking your site daily. I understand what you are going through. My grandmother died (of similar circumstances) in December. It’s so hard to walk that fine line between daily life and the sad life. You are a very strong person – and it seems like you have a good group of friends and family surrounding you. Please take care.

  9. Every so often I read your blog and a few others via a friend’s blog but most of the time I don’t comment.

    Today I felt drawn to comment because I’m living this right now and will be for probably the rest of my life.

    A little over a week ago my husband and I found out that the little girl I’m carrying is not projected to survive after birth. For the next five months I will be pregnant and will be that person in the store. The one the other customers look at and think “oh, look at that nice pregnant girl buying milk”. Little will they know I’m likely going to lose my child at birth.

    Anywho, you didn’t want to know all that but I felt I had to share because your post couldn’t be more true in my situation.

  10. Very well written.

    I empathize and am thinking of you and your family. I really cannot find words that are adequate.

  11. I appreciate the sentiments you expressed because there have been times in the hard parts of life I felt like the world should have stopped for my pain.


    and lil Z cracks me up.

  12. Someone once told me, “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I guess we never really think about what might be going on in others’ lives until we have to face something in our own.

    I’m thinking about you… and Britney Spears. Which just seems wrong.

  13. Zoot

    You have written this very well.

    When my mother collapsed at home in 2004 and my dad called to let me know that were heading for the trauma center. All I could think was I need to go now. I also rember as I was speeding past people on the highway wondering if they had ever been in this situation and how they handled it. Also, at the moment I just kept thinking I hope I do not get pulled over. Since the speed I was attaining technically would have put me in jail. It is weird all the thoughts that tumble through your head when your in what I call in crisis mode. After my mother passed and everything settled down I stared at every person wondering if they had their mom still and if they helped with their grandchildren. I actually asked a few of them and I’m not sure. My filter had fallen off and just wanted to know. I think I just wanted to make sure they were spending time with their family.

    All I can dear is all of these feeling are normal and do not be suprised what you say and do. I’m thinking of you and your family during this challenging time.

  14. I am delurking! I have been reading your blog for awhile and you never cease to crack me up. I wanted to let you know that a lot of us have days where we are experiencing that fine line of getting through each day, but feeling the heartache on the inside. You definitely aren’t alone.

    I am an oncology nurse at a hospital where a lot of experimental treatments are done on patients that have tried everything possible but have had no luck. I see family members and patients go through the agony of illness, then making the decision to move to hospice care. We do a good amount of hospice nursing on our unit; because we know our patients so well, they tend to stay with us until the end. The family members always appear strong, even though I know they must be hurting inside. I hate leaving my unit at the end of the day, wondering whether or not a particular patient will still be there tomorrow. The family members always wonder “Is today the day they are going to go?”, but the staff feels the same heartache too. So, just remember, you aren’t alone in how you are feeling. Hang in there.

  15. I am so sorry you’re going through this hard time, Zoot. I’ve always found that to be jarring, too, the between two worlds thing.

    We were planning our wedding as my grandfather was dying — he was sick of dialysis and I didn’t blame him, it was awful to go through, especially for an Arkansas boy who was used to ranching and being mobile. I was bawling all over him because I wanted him to be at our wedding and was devastated. He told me, honey, it’s still going to be a beautiful wedding. He was right, it was.

    I finally decided sometimes you’ve got to take the sweet along with the bitter.

  16. Does misery love company? I don’t know. My grandmother is dying today. Right now, in a hospital room, 10,000 miles away. And yes, she’s lived 97 years but that does not make it any less painful. But the loss of a parent? I can’t fathom. And I want to send you a big hug.

  17. Kim – I lurk almost daily to see how you guys are doing. I crack up at your NikkiZ stories. I love reading about how LilZ is the bestest big brother EVAH!! I wish P’s sister was 1/4 of the sibling LilZ is.

    Anyway, I wanted you to know that you and your family are in our thoughts!

    Britney Spears…..TOO FUNNY!!!!

  18. Very nicely written and I wanted to share a story of my own with you:

    My grandmother died about 7 years ago from ovarian cancer. I was her pride and joy as she often proclaimed. I will never forget the day we buried her. I was in the limo going from the funeral home to the graveyard behind the hurst. I peered through the tinted window with tear stained eyes at a world that just seemed to keep moving. I was almost offended. Did these people not know what had just happened? I had, no the world had just lost a really great person. I felt as a moment of silence was in order at the very slightest. It was then that I understood what it meant when I heard someone use the expression “The world keeps going.”.

    One more quick one…..

    At the local “Walmarts” in the pet department (where all my money goes!!!) the man who is assigned to working that particualr department is always there and he appears to be every bit of eighty years old. Once he engaged me in a conversation and I knew then this was a very lonely man. I stood there on the dogfood isle of Walmart listening to him recant days gone by. My boyfriend came up to us obviously finished with making his selections and looked at me as if to say “We can go now” I returned him with a look that said “You WILL stand here and listen to this man for as long as he feels the need to converse!”. I wonder often after seeing him if he lives alone, if he has lost the one he loves, if he has sons or daughters and whether or not they are active in his life. It pains my heart to see him neatly lining cat food cans in rows at 11:30 on a Saturday night, making what he needs to hopefully get by. I have struggled with wanting to envite him to dinner but never have because of the stalker vibe that might portray. And who knows he could be fine and Im the one who has it all wrong.

    The point is it is hard to realize teh hardships that we all face in our lives at different or even intersecting times but the truth is we all have to deal with them at some point. There is a lesson in here about compassion that your post portrayed today, thank you for letting me know I am not alone in my views of others around me.

    Still praying for you guys,


    (Sorry for the length of this comment!!!)

  19. I really don’t have words to say-I’m so sorry that your family is going through all this.

    I love that picture! It is one of my favorites!! Maxi is looking like that kid is going through my door!

  20. Very well written. I remember walking out of my Dad’s room last week, my heart breaking and looking over and seeing a man standing braced against a railing. We were both crying.

  21. Well since there has not been a ban on humor here, even in spite of the awfulness you are going through, I will share this:

    When I was 15, my grandmother, who I was extremely close to (she lived with us), was hospitalized with cancer. Now, I have to note, I have EXTREME anxiety issues around illness and death, and because of that I don’t go to the hospital EVER, unless I have to. It’s beyond me, and I simply can’t do it.

    So, one morning my mother comes in and tells me that I need to pull myself together, because I WILL be going to the hospital that day – she’s crying as she tells me that Gramma has lapsed into a semi-coma, is “unresponsive,” and the doctor says it could be “anytime now.” I am distraught – my favorite person is dying AND I have to figure out how not to have a nervous breakdown over a trip to the hospital – I’m a WRECK all morning.

    Mom goes to the hospital a bit later to check on Gramma, and I try to prepare myself for the visit I have to make in a couple of hours. My mom returns with an odd look on her face – I don’t know if it’s grief or anger. I ask, “How is she?” dreading the answer, and my mom says, “That woman! I swear she does this on purpose! I walk into her room and she’s sitting in bed EATING CORNFLAKES!” And then she laughed until she cried.

    Gramma lived another three years – and she drove us nuts the entire time.

    My thoughts are with you, Zoot.

  22. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I know exactly how it feels to be thinking about one thing and totally going on with your life as if nothing is wrong, doing the mundane things you do everyday. Last week I got angry at others who walked past me in the store, going on with their lives, while I was dealing with the loss of what would have been our 3rd child. I wondered how they could buy their groceries, oblivious to the pain I was going through. But then I thought about how they would feel if they knew, if I just blurted out, “I’m having a miscarriage”. It wouldn’t do any good to let them know. So instead I got through it, smiled at people, later helped another friend who was going through the same thing (very bad coincidence), slowly moved on. You’ll get through this, even if the ending is not something you’re wanting to deal with. Plus you have lots of people thinking of you and your family.

  23. mom’s are so thoughtful like that.

    Grief is so weird. I can totally emphasize with that wanting to tell everyone that you are broken inside so they really understand how crappy your day is and in the next second wondering, what about them? Are they okay?

    I told you this story before I think, but I remember before I had kids, when I ran halfs I would look at all the folks who were WALKING! or running then walking! or just ambling and be like what is the deal? This here is a freaking run! I’ve been training for months..move it!

    And then I had a baby. And I ran a half 10wks later (because I was very naive, be you not so dumb!!) I ended up walking most of it…I may have run for the photographers (not a pretty site). And all those folks in the short shorts were flying past me and I had this awaking. This Aha moment. That this is life. Sometimes you train and your run, and sometimes you crawl on your tongue because you just had a baby, or you just had chemo, or because you just wanted to get out of the house.

    And it’s not about whether you place first or last. It’s about the fact that you got out there and you did something. You got off the couch and you went for a walk, or a run. Or a drive to sit with your dad.

    And the more I think about grief and running and life. I realize there is no rhyme or reason. It is not about how fast we were, or we looked fly in matching jerseys. It’s about the journey. The bumps and the dumps and the crappy parts and the beautiful parts that sometimes we don’t realize were beautiful until we look back and see them from where we are now.

    Hang on my friend…..

  24. I am so sorry for all the pain you and your family are going through. I have definitely been in that weird place you speak of, though definitely not for anything as serious as a miscarriage or your dad. I guess I just don’t deal well with things, even the small things.

    So funny about ‘Britney Spears’ and the baby door!

  25. I remember the day my mom died. I could hear the kids arriving at the school across the street, the cars whizzing by – life just going on – and inside our house it felt like the whole world had stopped. I wanted to run outside and yell at them and tell them that hey, my mom just died, why do you sound like everything is normal? Nothing is normal and it doesn’t feel like anything will ever be normal again.

    So I totally get what you mean. And I guess – nothing will ever be the same again. And it won’t be normal like it has been, but there will be a new normal at some point. *hugs* I wish there was some way to make it easier.

  26. I know exactly what your talking about. When my dad died it was really hard to grasp how everyone around me could just be normal, when we were all so not normal. It gets easier I guess… but sometimes I still feel sad that I’m “alone” in my loss. It does make you want to stop people and say… Hey I’m SAD, you shouldn’t be happy, buying, doing, being —–, don’t you GET IT?

    Your not alone. I’m thinking of you all.

  27. I’ve been there–in Target with a broken heart and feeling weird because everything and everyone around me seems so normal and unaware. You wrote it so perfectly.

    My heart goes out to you and your family right now.

  28. Wow, you completely nailed it on the Target thing.

    I felt the exact same way when my mom died. Even now, almost 1.5 years later, I always think – “Do people know? Do they know how I’m grieving?”

    Praying for peace for your whole family in this difficult time.

  29. (((Hugs))) I don’t know what else to say, except that was an awesome NikkiZ story. And I think everyone who reads your blog gets how much your dad means to you.

  30. This must be such a difficult time for you and yours. I think you’re handling it with extreme grace.

    It wasn’t that long ago when family and loved ones passed, the family wore a black band on their sleeves for up to a year (or at least men did, I guess woman might have worn all black). I wish, as a society, we still did that. People in mourning and going through a loss should be handled with care. They should be able to be in society and outside of society at the same time as they cope with their loss. The bands were the perfect way to tell the world you were dealing with a loss, without getting them involved in your personal business.

    Now it seems we just go about our business without ever knowing or thinking about what those around us may be dealing with. That’s sort of a shame, in my opinion. I personally, want to know if someone needs some special consideration.

    My prayers and thoughts continue to be with you.

  31. I haven’t left a comment on your blog in a long time.
    I too have felt like that out at Target or wherever I may be. Feb 9, 2007 is a day I will NEVER forget! Not only was I at UT hospital having a D&C because the precious baby we had been wanting for so long didn’t develop and had to be taken from us but an hour after I was discharged we were at Target having my pain meds filled and my Great Grandmother passed away. That day I lost two people I loved very much! I was in a fog as I walked through Target and I remember thinking “Can these people tell I’m in pain?”
    In June of that same year I had a miscarriage and spent a majority of the day in the ER but that evening it was already planned that we were going out to eat for my brother’s birthday and as we are sitting at Red Lobster I remember feeling as if I was sticking out like a sore thumb as if people knew something tramatic had happened just a few hours earlier.
    I am praying for you and your family! I hope you know how much you are loved by the blogging community!

  32. I have a friend who says everybody has a story that would break your heart. I think we become more aware of that when our own heart is breaking. So so sorry, Zoot.

    When Quakers are praying for someone they say, “we are holding you in the light”. Know that I’m holding you, and your whole family in the light.

  33. GIANT hug for you right now. Thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

    Thanks for making me think, by the way- we never DO know what’s going on in the lives we simply pass by…

    Also- the NikkiZ story and the baby door picture= priceless. Thanks for sharing smiles in the midst of your pain- I think you are an extremely strong woman.

  34. I just wanted to stop by and say that since Shane passed away in December I can’t go anywhere and see father’s with their children and just not be angry. I want to tell them to cherish every moment and enjoy their children because you just never know when it is going to be your turn to leave this earth. AND I also want to tell everyone I see that he is gone, especially when I get looked at oddly with my 3 children and no wedding ring on my hand. People can be so judgmental at times but when I wear my ring I just feel so much worse than I do without it. It is like a reminder to me every second of every day that he is gone. So anyway, not to try to compare situations but having friends that truly care about me is just about the only thing that has kept me going… AND knowing that there are other people out there that can relate helps me to get through my day… Even if I tell the lady at target to back off because I am doing the job of both a mom and dad and just stop looking at me weird… ๐Ÿ™‚ We can all only do the best we can…

    LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!

  35. OH and BTW – totally your dad to still be getting mad at your for getting down and sad… and totally like your mom to install a baby door… LOL!! Both of those things make me giggle…

  36. Excellent post. Kudos to you for being able to keep a bit of a sense of humor when things are not so great, to say the least. That’s pretty damn awesome.

    I hope that you and your family, can find the peace and comfort you need and deserve in such an amazingly hard time. *hugs*

  37. I was thinking about this very thing today at work. My Mum fell over yesterday, nothing serious but it gave me a fright, she sprained her groin. And today I had a snotty customer, for no reason, and I was thinking “Would you be like that if something serious had happened in my family, and you knew it? So why be like that for no reason?” I don’t know if that makes much sense, but you know, we kinda treat each other at face value and I always try and remind myself that anyone could be going through anything. (Hey, maybe that’s why the customer was rude to start with.)

    Love as always

  38. You touched my heart this morning. I was literally in tears reading your e-mail. I am sorry to hear about your Dad and what all of your family is going through. I hope God can give you strenght to pass through all of this.

    I myself am going through depression and your e-mail really touched me.

    Thanks for sharing.

  39. I find myself doing the same thing for far less traumatic events. Like, I had this urge to tell the people behind me in the grocery store “I was just in a car accident yesterday.” I think it must be a universal desire, and we never do know what the people around us are going through, do we?

    My thoughts are with you guys.

  40. I really am thinking about you. I can’t imagine how hard this is for you and your family.

    Knowing that others are walking around carrying unbelievable pain and grief is one reason I love the quote, “Be kind, for everyone around you is fighting a great battle.” It’s so easy to assume they’re idiots or not really think about the fact that other people have a life, just like you do! I hope you’re encountering kindness along this very hard way.

  41. Your so kind Zoot. Thinking of others while your heart is breaking yes I think most of us bear sorrow of some sort. I’m so sorry your going through this. Nothing I can say can make it any better but I’m sending you my love.

  42. It always amazes me that when I’m at my most devastated, the world keeps going around. And then you’re given the gift of now knowing that it’s okay not to wear undies with a sun dress and for that moment, you can breathe again.

  43. Wow. I want to be you when I grow up. You are so selfless…and kind…and just everything I wish I could be all the time…even when my own heart is breaking. I admire you and feel for you and wish I could send your Dad great health to make all the pain go away…

    ~~~ sniff ~~~~

    thanks for ending this on “teh funny”…


  44. I have lurked and read all of your stories for what seems like forever. You can stop me in Target anytime to tell me your story and I’ll tell you about my dad. He Beat lung cander 4 years ago, but now is battleing colon, kidney, and lung (in his one remaining lung). I know we are headed down this road very soon and dread having my kids and I be with out the best man I’ve ever known. Much love and many hugs. My daughter did the Britney thing one day when she was in Kindergarten, full-day. Yikes.

  45. Hey Zoot. Haven’t been here forever, but saw your post and wanted to say Im sorry to hear about your dad.

    I’m sure he appreciated your closing story and making everyone smile. I know I did.

    Best of luck!

  46. While I haven’t lost a parent, I’ve lost my grandparents and I remember last year when my grandfather was in hospital and hooked up on machines, I found myself wanting to tell everyone what I was going through, even the cashiers in stores when they would ask “hi, how are you?” as required by their job, and I’d answer “I’m good, thank you.” When all I wanted to do was to tell them that my heart hurt, and that I was confused. There was the odd time, when someone would ask me, and I’d start crying right there and then. But I think that desire to tell people what is going on, is a universal one.

    My heart goes out to you and your family in this tough time and your family are in my prayers, I might not comment your entries much, but I do read all of them, and I in a way feel your hurt this time.

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