The Struggle

The first day back home after Dad died was like opening a dam in my emotional river. (Heh. Emotional river. I sound like a total nutjob. But the metaphor works so I’ll stick with it.) Everything in my home reminded me of him. The furniture on my porch reminded me of last summer hanging out and eating popsicles. And we didn’t even have the nice furniture then. The bar stools in my kitchen flush my mind with pictures of him sitting there chatting while I cooked during his visits. Everywhere I turned I thought of him. And cried.

My brother and I have been discussing the things we’re doing to torture ourselves. I’ve been wearing Dad’s jacket and t-shirts. My brother has been reading blog entries and cruising flickr. We are intentionally doing things that upset us. Because in some weird way? It also makes us feel better.

Grieving is such a strange process and unique for different people. Since this is the most heartwrenching death I’ve ever experienced, this is the first time I’ve witnessed my own grieving. I’m pleased it doesn’t involve as much alcohol as I would have predicted, but it definitely has involved twice as much food. I also seem to be tired all the time and uninterested in socializing. Many of you have said, “It will take time,” and I’m fully recognizing that…but I’m worried that if it takes too long, CPS may come and take my children away due to Lack o’ Vacuuming.

Oddly, I also find myself laughing a lot. At stupid stuff. It’s like I’m drunk sometimes. I just get to giggling for no real reason and can’t stop. I wonder if that is partly because I tend to fall on humor for all dark times and also partly because I might be losing my mind. Sometimes I wonder if those two things are one and the same.

Either way…I still feel very deep in the grieving process. Between the dirty floors, giggle fits and too-big jackets – I’m still hurting. I miss my Dad constantly. So, I’d like to hear your stories. How long before you started to feel normal again? I know things will never be “the same” – but when do you think I might be closer to “the same” than I am “the krazee”?

47 thoughts on “The Struggle”

  1. My mother, brother and I don’t remember much of the first year after my father died. It reminds me a lot of right after you bring a newborn home – survival is the goal. I’m so sorry for your loss, it doesn’t get ‘easier’, it just gets less intense. I hope you find comfort in your beliefs.

  2. My loss was different, but even the idea of losing my dad takes my breath away.

    For me there is a hole in his shape, in me, now and always. It was so fresh and raw I could feel the wind through it and it amplified the world so that it got too loud and too much.

    The first year was brute survival but there is *nothing special* about day 366 either, you just keep going. It gets different, the whole fills with memories and the passage of time {which is relentless and still makes me angry sometimes}.

    Your dad was a handsome man, and I am sorry for your loss. I hold thoughts of you and your family in my heart.

  3. I know this is probably a no brainer, but I grew up in a family involved in the funeral business and the one great truth I learned from that is that everyone grieves differently. And when I say “differently”, I mean in great, pendulum-sweeping different ways. I think you have to give yourself permission to find what works for you (and remember that might vary day to day, hour to hour). Loss never gets easier… but it does get easier to live with if you allow yourself the time you need. As the first commenter said, “Survival is the goal.” Very wise.

    Sending many good thoughts of comfort your way…

  4. Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your Dad. I am 37 and lost my Dad when I was 22, he was 51. He died of pancreatic cancer and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I imagine your Daddy as a southern gentleman like mine was–from the great state of TN nonetheless. The first year was awfully hard. I lost him in July 1994 and was feeling much better until the holidays hit. The silver lining was what a productive year 1994 was! I still find evidence of that around the house and know that I was intentionally keeping very busy to deal with my grief. So hang in there. Your compass will slowly adjust back where it belongs. I think of my Dad every single day and now have 22 years of fantastic memories rather than thoughts of him being sick and “leaving” me. I wish you peace in your journey.

  5. Oh God. I lost my dad in November. It’s still hard, but sometimes now I can remember him without feeling horrible. Sometimes, she says, as she’s on the verge of tears. Like Elisette said, right now it’s about survival.

  6. i cried almost every night for a good year…but my dad killed himself, and i had a lot of guilt about it…so, maybe it won’t take as long for you? hopefully?

    either way, this stuff sucks.

  7. My dad died a year and a half ago. He was in ICU the week he died and was completely unconscious. I got to sit with him almost the entire time and talk to him and tell him all the things I didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t when he was awake. I don’t really remember the moment I felt more normal after he died. I still will start to cry if I’m in the car alone and a certain song comes on. My mother-in-law died the 8 months before my dad and I feel the same about her death. Still hits me like a ton of bricks that she is gone. She had pancreatic cancer and it was fast and furious.
    There is no proper way to grieve. I found myself laughing at weird things when my dad died too. It’s a coping mechanism. You need to give yourself permission to feel terrible for awhile.

  8. I don’t know what to tell you, Kim. I am also exhausted all the time altho I have to take Melatonin to fall asleep. I feel like I’m walking through life dazed most of the time. It’s also made my weight loss journey a crazy bunch of weekly up and down weigh ins. I’ve gained and lost the same 1.5 pounds for two months now. Plus I have to go through the house, Dad’s things, Mom’s things, toss, save, clean, sell the house and find a place for the dogs and me to live. Ah…I guess that’s just life, right.

  9. I lost a friend to cancer eight years ago. I found that the first year is the hardest because you’re going through the firsts without them — holidays, birthdays, etc.– and your grief surrounds you like a heavy wool blanket. After the first year, I was able to put down the wool blanket and trade it for something smaller as each year goes by. It will never be the same, but it will be easier to function and think back on the memories without the pain after a while.
    As others have said, everyone grieves in their own way, so it’s okay to do what you must to keep moving forward.
    I will keep you in my thoughts.

  10. Was going to email you this, but thought I should comment for others to see:

    My grandma was widowed in 1947 at the age of 24 with two kids under the age of 4. I was fascinated with this phantom grandpa growing up and once when I was pretty little, I asked her if she was still sad that he was gone. She said “Oh honey, you never forget. But you have to keep going on.” And indeed, she did. She also talked about my grandpa so often to us, that it is as if we knew him.

    Overall, from what I have seen in the grief process, is that the first year is the hardest as you hit all those important dates and events.

    Also, my family wholeheartedly subscribes to the “laughter through tears” method of grieving, so you are not alone.

    Hang in there. I’ve been thinking of you.

  11. The grief process is most definitely a different and every changing thing for each one of us. My dad’s been gone for over 6 years now and there are times I still get out his shirt or pictures just to remember and cry and remind myself of all the wonderful things about him. I know this is a hard time and I will be thinking about you and your family.

  12. The most heartwrenching death I’ve been through was my grandmother’s last year. She was my idol growing up, and we always had a super close bond. I was devastated after she passed, and I felt completely lost for weeks. She was the only person that was ALWAYS on my side regardless of the situation. I felt I lost my biggest advocate. I walked around in a fog for weeks. Sometimes I would go to Target and just wander around for hours… I don’t get cell service in there so it was like a little escape from the outside world and responsibilities. Sounds dumb but oh well. I’m just now starting to feel normal, when I think of her the sadness and tears don’t come over me… I think more now about the good times and the things I can do to make her memory live on.

    That said, my Dad had a stroke a couple years ago and the possibility of losing him shook me to the core. I can’t imagine losing someone even closer to me like my Dad. When he was sick and we didn’t know what was going on, I couldn’t function. I would go to work and stare at the cube wall… I have NO IDEA what I would have done if we had lost him. With my grandmother I had a distinct knowledge that I would get through, would perservere…. when he was sick I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me and had no idea which way was up.

    So yeah, it takes time. But at some point (and you won’t even know when!) the dark thoughts process into lighter ones and you start to realize that he’ll always be with you in many ways instead of despairing in loss. But you have to let yourself go through that first stage to get to the second one.

  13. I have no idea how long it takes. I just know I would totally give you a hug and vacuum your house if we were neighbors. xoxo

  14. I’ve not really commented lately, because I haven’t known what to say, at all. My father died when I was 3 (almost 4 years old) and while I have some memories of him, I don’t have a lot of memories of his death or of adjusting after. (Although I do remember the funeral.)

    I can tell you that all of my sisters and brothers, the next youngest of which was 7 at the time) took varied times to adjust to the change and, in their own ways, “get over it.” The grieving process is so different for everyone that there’s really no way to ever say, “I know how you feel,” because there’s no way you can.

    Later in life, when people die, I tend to resort to gallows humor and being a sort of “mascot” to distract people from the sadness – probably a throw back to still being a little kid when my dad died. I don’t know. Laughter is the only way I can make it through anything though.

    Also, I’m okay with the fact that my dad died in that I had a great mom and a huge family and I honestly don’t feel like I “missed out” on having a dad… now that I’m 31 and planning my wedding though I’ve hit a couple of patches of “THIS IS NOT FAIR!” It’s strange, I don’t think the process is ever “over” in the sense that you’re not going to have little pangs now and again, and that’s normal and good – it means you’re not letting the memory of them die.

  15. Ugh. Thankfully, I have not lost my parents yet but I have lost others and though it sounds trite, grieving really is different for everyone.

    I like you laugh a lot more it seems. Frankly, my family is never funnier than when going through with the whole funeral/burial process. We crack jokes and we get hysterical with laughter over silly things. Clearly, it’s the mind’s way of coping but I think it’s a great way to cope and probably how the deceased would prefer you to be – laughing as you remember them.

  16. I’m so sorry for your loss, Zoot. I lost my grandpa in 2005 – I know some aren’t close to their grandparents, but mine lived only a mile away throughout my childhood. He was a rock in my life, taken suddenly by a heart attack. It was, to use another cliche, just as though the bottom had dropped out of my life.

    It took me about a year before I could go to his house to visit without breaking down. Now, almost four years later, I smile thinking of him – but there are certain reminders that bring a lump to my throat or cause me to break down into tears (as you can tell from the “missing Grandpa” category on my blog).

    It does just take time… but you will always have your moments of crazy. I still do, and I think it’s normal, not crazy at all.

    Wish I could drop in and help you out – I know how immobilizing grief can be.

  17. I lost my boyfriend when I was 20 and he was 23. I wanted a guidebook for the whole process–literally. Someone please tell me how to do this and let me know how long it will last.

    As many people have already mentioned, it’s different for everybody. I found myself dreading the first anniversary of everything–his birthday, my birthday, every holiday. Once all those “firsts” passed and I survived, I felt more confident in my ability to make it.

    The main thing is to realize you’re not crazy. You may do some crazy things to get through the day, but as long as they are not destructive, go for it. You have to go through the grief–and get through it the best way you can. There’s no other way around it.

    Hang in there.

  18. I laughed at EVERYTHING too when my dad died! Oh my god I felt like everyone thought I was absolutely nuts. I laughed so hard I was crying when me and my brother were at the funeral home planning my dads funeral. My brother misspoke a word and I was doubled over from laughing for at least 10 minutes. But then I went into a coma like place in my head where I lust lay in bed and read old magazines and the only thing I could eat was chocolate pudding or deep fried shrimp rings. Then I would fall asleep (around 3pm) and I would wake up 12 hours later and sit by myself and cry my eyes out and feel like I would never be happy again. But then I would have the same weird elated laughing feelings a few hours later,and the comatose feeling… and the sad feeling would roll around at 3 am again. It was like clockwork for a few weeks.

    Then I went through the anger faze, and I was so MAD at everything for a few months. I’m so embarassed now over how much I lashed out sometimes, but I really couldn’t helpt it. I had to express the anger over my dads death somehow. And I know the people around me understand. It’s just now in the last couple months I’ve felt like I’ve become more myself… and my dad died January 29th 2008. I can barely remember the last year thats gone by. But I do know I had some good times inbetween the times I was brokenhearted, missing my father.

    But this week I have been very sad and snappy again, and I’m usually very happy and positive. My dads birthday is on Sunday. He would have been 56. And I’ll feel like the 20 year old going on 7 year old I was when he left me. I miss him terribly. I feel so cheated of the 25 more years he should have lived.

    I wrote a blog entry (on another blog) a while back about how I felt when he died, and a friend of mine who lost his mother said that it was spot on how he felt aswell. I’ll post it on my blog (that’s linked) when I go home in a few hours, incase you want to read it.

    One foot infront of the other…


  19. Grief sucks. It is so overwhelming, and you never do know how long feeling so awful is going to last. I lost my grandmother a year and a half ago, and it tore me in two. I was completely blindsided by how awful it was. For me, that huge feeling lasted a while at that level of intensity–a few months, say. Then it eased, but does come back every once in a while. Which makes sense, because it is awful that she died and it will always be awful that she will never be back again. But it does ease, I promise.

    I am so sorry, Zoot.

  20. I can’t tell you how long it took, because it’s been over 10 years for me and my memories of that time have faded. And it would be different for you. As it’s different for everyone. But I remember it being hard for at least a year.

    At first, I’d cry all the time. Then I’d be fine for a bit and then suddenly find myself crying on the floor for hours. Then came the first time I woke up and forgot to feel bad that my father was dead. Then came the first year I didn’t remember the anniversary of his death. (The guilt. Oh! The guilt!)

    You will heal. But it is a gradual healing, so gradual that you won’t even notice it happening. And there’s those backsliding days where it all feels raw again. Forget trying to figure out what you are supposed to feel or how you are supposed to feel it. Keep living your life and one day you will suddenly realize that it doesn’t hurt so bad. And you’ll feel bad about that, but it’s okay. It’s how it’s supposed to be.

  21. I always said our grieving when my mother died was sponsored by the Potato Council. Potato salad as far as the eye could see.

    At any rate, fwiw, I spent a lot of time dreading the “firsts”, but when they actually happened, they weren’t as bad as I had anticipated.

    It definitely comes and goes and will crop up when you least expect it. (Just ask the poor lady at the Dillard’s counter when I got surprised by a wave of grief.)

    Whatever you feel, whenever you feel it is the right thing. And, I promise you WILL feel like yourself again.

  22. girl, i’m here to tell you that CPS will not take your children away for not vacuuming… you’re totally astounded that I would know such a thing, aren’t you?????

    i love you so much, and i’m sending my sympathies to the entire blogosphere during maddie’s loss. haven’t been able to go to her site yet, but i will. i’m guessing it must have lots of traffic right now…

  23. You and your brother are probably doing those things that are painful because in a way, you are afraid that your going to forget about him. I remember doing things like that. I saved all of these things of my Dad’s for years under my bed. I felt like I needed to keep them with me so that I would remember who he was and what he smelled like. I know that it sounds strange and kind of childish. It really might help you though to write stuff down. Write down all of the memories that you can think of. It was sort of a release for me. That way you know they will be there, just in case you ever forget something.

  24. Okay, I’m entering the land of bloggers-something I’ve never done-to say “What are you thinking?” Kim, it’s been one week. Actually, you haven’t even made it a week past the funeral yet. I think it’s completely normal that you’re not feeling normal. It would be weird if you’d already picked up and moved on. You’ve just lost one of the most important people in your life. You get to be “krazee” for a while longer. Give yourself some space.

    Having said that, I totally get your drunk laughing fits. I do that when I’m really upset about something, too. I also do the humor-to-cope bit, and I also think it’s just a release for all the pent-up emotions.

    I’ve thought about you and your dad so much over this past week. It has affected how I interact with my dad, especially through this whole staph infection fiasco. I feel like I knew your dad better than I probably really did, but I think that’s a complement to him and his welcoming nature all through high school. He was a great man. He will continue to influence how you live your life, raise your kids, etc. You’ll find your balance again. I’m sorry you’re hurting. The whole situation is just heart-wrenching and awful.

    And as far as the lack of cleaning goes, who cares about the floors? Just make sure there’s not debris that the baby can choke on. Anything cleaner than that is really just bonus!

  25. I have heard that laughter is how a lot of people deal with stress. I know I have insane giggle attacks when I’m stressed.

    Hang in there. Remember how much we all adore you!

  26. Oh, this is a tough question to answer. It can take a while. Some things will likely get back to normal rather soon — maybe, for you, it will be work or your daily routines. Other things may drag on, like your diet or your energy level. Just know that it can be normal to grieve for quite some time.

    The steps of the “grieving process” don’t always take place in order — you may be mad one day and accepting the next. Years down the road, some random thought may send you to your knees with hot, fresh, weepy tears.

    But that stupid old cliche is true, time does ease the pain. How much time? That’s not something anyone can answer for you. But, you will get through it and experience joy again. You will, one day, even go 24 hours without feeling the pain.

    Like others, I’m sill thinking of you. I know it’s hard. Take care of yourself and your fam.

  27. You’re not “the krazee” at all. It’s totally normal for the floodgate to open up after the funeral and all of that stuff is over with – when you have a task to do it’s easier to keep it together and put your head down and get it done. But it’s just as you said – everyone grieves in a different way and you need to just let yourself do that. And I don’t know that you ever “stop” grieving. Things will come up that will make you sad through the years – but the pain will probably not be as intense as it is now. For me, when my mom died, I found that it was the first year that was the hardest – getting through all the holidays without her the first time and then the anniversary of her death. Someone mentioned getting back into your routine will probably help – and it probably will. But yeah, it takes time. Give yourself that time and know that those of us who have lost a parent get it. And everything you’re feeling? Totally normal for an emotionally driven human being type person. It will get better. I promise. *hugs*

  28. I’m the same way with grief. I prefer to just submerse myself in it, subject myself to it, I guess. I think doing so helps feel it, which is eventually what you need to do.

  29. We lost our mom Dec 30 2007. Her birthday, Mother’s Day, they were hard, but the truly unbearable day was the first anniversary. Surround yourself with good, no great, friends. It’s only been 15 months, I’ll let ya know how anniversary number 2 goes.

  30. My sister died almost 6 years ago from uterine cancer. Reading this post makes me cry, yet again, when I think of losing her. I suppose we never really “get over” losing a loved one, but the mind-numbing grief does subside. It was long enough ago that I don’t really remember how long it took for things to get back to “normal” for me. I can recall getting through my workday OK and then standing on the Metro platform and crying whilst waiting for the evening train.

    I think having something the person was close to, like your Dad’s jacket, is important. My sister was a fan of Lance Armstrong. There were his foundation’s “LiveStrong” yellow wristbands at her memorial. I still wear mine every day. It helps me remember her, and it’s nice to talk about her when someone asks about the wristband.

    One normal symptom of grieving is forgetfulness, so is being clumsy (funny, isn’t it?). I begged forgiveness in advance from my colleagues and friends. Everyone was great about it, which is helpful when you dump your umpteenth cup of coffee in the break room.

    The hospice sent monthly newsletters, with lots of very helpful suggestions. Does the one your Dad was in have something like that? I encourage you to take advantage, if they do.

    Sorry to ramble. There’s no getting around how hard this is. You *will* survive.

  31. Lots of ((HUGS))) for you.
    My Grandmother passed away 2 years ago. I was very close to her. We had a lot in common and I spent a lot of time with her when my Grandfather was dieing. It still hits me hard sometimes. I was given all her quilting fabric because I also quilt. Sometimes Iwill open the bins to look for something and it smells like her house. It makes me sad. I will come across a picture of her or something that was hers and I get teary. As time has gone on there are days that I don’t think of her but still there are days that I pick up the phone to call and tell her something. Yes, time heals but it still hurts sometimes.

  32. My mom died in November, and her funeral was on Election Day. To try and keep things as light as possible, my dad, also trying to be strong, joked with me about running to the polls to vote Republican. I told him that wouldn’t be fair, since I was not in the state where I was registered and could not vote for Obama. We laughed a lot that day, including at the actual funeral.

    Now, a few months later, I torture myself by sleeping with a quilt my mom made for me out of my old No Fear T-shirts. I hide it under my regular comforter, so visitors won’t think I’m a freak. It’s comforting, but it does force me to think of my mom right before I fall asleep. I now have terrible dreams that make my mom out to be a bad person, which is so far from the truth. I should stop sleeping with the quilt, but I’m not ready.

  33. I am not even go into the amount of people that have been taken from my life in the past 8 months. It sucks and it is hard. Granted although it hasn’t been anyone close like my parents, (grandfather) it is still amazingly hard. My cousin had scheduled a baby shower before my grandfather passed, his funeral was the day before, they decided to have it anyway and my grandma even went. They said they were happy because my mom and I got to go to the shower as well. We all drank a lot that night, and I got some interesting stories out of grandma…..We won’t talk about the all out bawling I did while trying to read something at his wake…..

  34. I’m sorry about your dad, Kim. My dad died at Christmas. He went in for a routine surgery and died totally unexpectedly.

    Much of what you describe is so familiar to me. For the first few weeks, I felt like I was walking through quicksand. Every thing I did was so exhausting that I couldn’t accomplish anything at work, at home, etc. The house was a mess. Even little tasks wore me out physically and mentally.

    I also was extremely scatterbrained and distracted, which is very unlike me. Things like leaving the front door wide open at night while I was home alone showering, for example, leaving my debit card on a counter at the post office, or making silly mistakes when I returned to work. I had a lot of trouble concentrating.

    I also didn’t want to talk to anyone I didn’t have to. My husband had to take all the phone calls for me.

    It has been almost 4 months now and things are pretty normal on a day-to-day basis. However, at times I will cry at something that triggers a deep feeling of missing my dad. I’ll read something in the paper, for example, and think for a split second, “I need to tell Dad about this” and then remember that I can’t.

    Be gentle with yourself during this time.

  35. My dad died suddenly in November of 2002, when I was 22. It was at least 6 months of intense grief, and I can’t honestly say I felt really good until about 2 years later. It’s been 6 and a half years now, and I have only smiles when I think of him.
    I hear you on the hysterical laughter. My mom, sister, brother and I were at a Christmas Eve church service 6 weeks after my dad died. Something made my mom laugh, and she couldn’t stop. My siblings and I joined in and soon we were literally on our knees, doubled over in a fit of giggles. Tears were streaming down our faces. I am quite sure people thought we were crazy, and maybe we were. Now it’s just kind of funny to look back on…

  36. Instead of sharing, I feel the need to tell you…honey, it’s only been a week. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re allowing yourself to grieve and that’s so important. Your family and friends understand. Give yourself a break. Your dad would want that too. *big hugs*

  37. I am so sorry for your loss. I’d say it takes some time to get over, but frankly I’m not over it yet. We were as prepared as is possible, but it still catches me when I have a question that I’d direct to Dad. I still grieve. I still wonder if there was anything I could have done to make his passing easier. Most days, most times I’m all right. And then I think of him and even though I miss him and come to tears, it’s okay. These tears are rooted in honoring feelings and respect and love. There are moments of raw grief and although it hurts, it still feels good to visit those thoughts and songs and memories. Dads are special for a reason, and it’s a tribute to our relationships that we hurt when they’re gone.

  38. Man, these comments made me cry. My mother died from breast cancer on March 7th 2007 and I felt like I was drowning in sadness. I couldn’t be in my parents house for long periods without needing to get out, and I was so angry! I felt robbed and cheated out of years with her and I had zero patience with people around me who spoke poorly of their mothers. Simple comments like “my mother drives me crazy” would result in hot rage that they had a mother to whine about. I don’t think I actually started mourning her death until after that first year, and I still get teary almost everyday. Hang in there Kim- I was quite sarcastic and bitter and made uncomfortable (for others) jokes about losing her… I wish I could’ve expressed my pain less caustically. May time bring you peace honey. Be gentle with yourself and those around you, everyone is feeling tender right now. Love.

  39. I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my father in January of this year. This was the third significant loss I’ve had in the last six years. (mom 6 years ago, brother 1 1/2 years ago) I’ve realized this time around that I never really grieved for mom or my brother, I was too worried about other people to let myself feel the pain. This time around, I’m trying to just let it be, when I’m sad and crying, I’m sad and crying. When I’m not, I’m not. It’s hard and I’m confused most of the time. I just cannot reconcile my reality with what I think it should be. I write all this just to encourage you to go through the grieving process. I believe it’s important, but hard. If you don’t, then part of you cannot move on. Hang in there and take each day as it comes. (such a cliche, I know, but it’s true)


  40. Daddy died 3 1/2 years ago November 2005. The whole first year was “This time a week ago, 6 months ago, a year ago, Dad was still alive and we were doing ____”. It was the hardest death I’ve every had to overcome. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever been through and the simple fact that he was no longer in this world was the hardest thing to understand.

    It becomes easier to accept the more time passes but I still cry at the drop of the hat at certain moments…when I hear “The Dance”, when I see a truck like his going down the road or someone with his hair color and beard. The “silliest” come apart I feel I’ve had was just last week. The country station I listen to played “Amanda” from like the late 70’s by Don Williams. I instantly remembered riding around in my Dad’s van on Saturdays helping him run errands. I could plainly see him drinking coffee and putting the cup down to shift gears on the steering column. Goofy details but so fresh in my mind and I always feel like a little girl when I cry.

    Hang in there, girl…just know that he’s wrapped his arms around you through all your tears.

  41. Oh, Zoot. I sobbed when I read that your dad died. I lost my dad almost 4 years ago when he died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack two weeks before my wedding. We had to go forward with our plans, and we did, and our wedding was amazing and wonderful and nearly perfect, but when I think about it, there is always this dark feeling behind the happiness that something was terribly wrong, and then I remember that my dad wasn’t there, not in the way I wanted him to be. This part is so very hard. You will always, always miss him. But he will always be there, too. Not in the way that you want, not anymore, but in many other ways, in all the ways you are thinking of him now. It took me months before I could go about my everyday life without sobbing. The first anniversary of his death was very hard. I kept forgetting he was gone, wanting to call him to ask him a question. Now it’s okay, most of the time, and I can remember him without feeling sad. But then I remember that my 5 month old daughter will never meet him, and I cry. And then I show her pictures and tell her all about him.

  42. I lost my mom almost 9 years ago. She went into the hospital for her “bad back” and 10 days later was diagnosed with Cancer…she died 4 days later at 61 years young. Grieve….what a strange word that is. My gram (mom’s mom) was still alive, I had two teenagers, and a sister 9 years younger. I went through the process of the funeral, sorting her things, and moving on, in a numb state. I wrote in a journal (no blog then) and cried and cried and cried. I could never imagine the PAIN and honestly I don’t think anyone can imagine until it happens to them. I wore one of my mom’s HUGE velour cardigans for weeks. One day my sister told me my brother-in-law had a dream and mom told him to tell me to “take off that shirt”! People felt sad for me and didn’t want to talk about it. I surely did. So I say to you…there is no magic formula, no cut off date, for grieving. It does change, the sadness gets different, the pain softer….but the missing….it never ends!

    PS – Stay away from the card shop near Father’s Day!

  43. It took me five years to really grieve for my mother. A large part of that is because I was just so young – only 14 when she died. I remember going back to school two weeks after her death (which occurred during the summer so school wasn’t in session) and just randomly telling me that my mom head died x amount of days ago. Five years later I crashed and I crashed hard and things were not pretty. Laughter is a fine way to cope. It’s healthy, it keeps you mostly sane. I think all ways of coping (just about) are fine and everybody is so different.

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