On Grief.

Sorry, friends, for being away for so long. My father’s illness — something that had previously hampered his quality of life but had not been life-threatening — worsened in March and April and we lost him on May 11th. I wrote about it in exhausting detail over on the family blog, so feel free to click and read, but certainly don’t feel as though you have to. It was something I needed to get down in writing because, as painful and heart-breaking as it was, I wanted to remember it.

I won’t write much about it here, because I prefer to try and keep things upbeat and vintage-oriented, but I will say this: losing a parent was nothing like I expected it to be. At the end, he was very, very sick, and in a lot of pain and misery, and I thought it would be a relief to see him finally free from that but I would do anything to have him back, even for a day, even if it meant watching him suffer. It is a selfishness born of sorrow, longing, and missing someone so much that you kind of stop breathing, for long seconds, when you are hit with the reality of it again and again. I also thought that, as a 46-year-old adult with children of my own, I did not need him anymore as a parent, but as soon as he was gone I realized how wrong I was. Apparently, we always need our parents, and when we lose one, the affect is a feeling similar to but ten million times more disturbing than the worst nightmare you had a as a child — the kind of dream where you found yourself lost, in an unfamiliar store, with nothing but strange faces around you and you realize your parents have left you and you won’t ever, ever, ever see them again.

It has been a little over a month and I still cry daily. Everything I see, hear, touch, and smell reminds me of him in a way that is completely unexpected — my front lawn, a particularly colorful bird, hearing “The Sound of Music” on the radio, sublimely ridiculous political news, a hat he gave the children, a funny sound my car is making, an article about a new USPS stamp being released, a memory from childhood I can’t quite get right that only he would remember the details of.  A million times a day, his absence is felt, and I am reminded of what I have lost. I assume that that side effect will fade, with time, and I am looking forward to it.

I am working on some posts that are much more appropriate than this one for the blog. I have the Junk Ranch to write about, along with some fun finds, and I will slowly get back into the habit of writing, I promise. I hope all is well with you guys. I have missed writing to you.

Talk to you soon.

June 20, 2015 - 6:56 pm

Shara You are never too old to not need your parents. I am sorry that you had to go through so much and I so wish I could have helped you in some way. I know you did right by your Dad 100%. You are the kindest person in the world to strangers. So, I know you were so very kind to your Dad. (((hugs)))

June 20, 2015 - 11:34 pm

Dianne I can totally relate to what you are going through. My dad went in the hospital December 10th and then had heart surgery. Things were fine for 2 days and then his heart stopped. He was in the hospital until the end of March. He was on total life support and fought his way back to only end up in the nursing home for recovery for one week and then dying. I am still heartbroken and cry every day. I miss him so much. So hang in there it is getting better for me but I will always miss him as will you miss your dad. Hugs!!!!


June 21, 2015 - 1:21 am

Susan Barnett Lara Jo, I’m so sorry about your father’s passing. It will be 9 years ago in July that I lost my mom to Alzheimer’s and 7 years ago that my father died of heart disease. I’m 61 years old now and I still feel like an orphaned child. I was very close to both of my parents and I miss them every single day of my life. Fortunately, I can now think about them and smile — even laugh — at the memories, but there are still times, after all these years, that their loss hits me like a slap in the face. I still cry and I very much miss having parents. It does get better, but life is never the same. As you said, I would do anything to be able to have them back again just for 5 minutes. I hope I haven’t made you feel even worse. I just want you to know that you have my deepest sympathies and understand your sorrow.

June 21, 2015 - 9:45 am

laurie magpie ethel So sorry. Hugs.

June 21, 2015 - 9:20 pm

Ellen Hugs, Lara! Thinking of you.

June 22, 2015 - 7:53 am

Sarah It does ease with time, but there seem to always be those moments that still take my breath away. You are atill in the raw early days, and I am sorry you find yourself in that awful place at all. Love to you.

June 22, 2015 - 1:27 pm

Dawn I am so sorry about your Father’s passing. I am 57 years old and my mother is 79 with heart condition (will be 80 in Sept) and my father turned 87 years old this past March and he has had mini-strokes and has mild dementia. I am NOT prepared and can’t image my life without my parents in it. They still come up from FL (I moved to SW GA in Oct 2000 and they were pretty upset I was moving away) and they come to visit me twice a year, May and January when I take a week vacation each time – I only get 10 days off a year so they come for New Year’s for a week. We hit the thrifts and used to do more until my Dad started getting frailer this past year or so. My Mom is still driving and it good health right now; my dad was driving until he right after he turned 85 when he was diagnosed with the mini strokes).

June 23, 2015 - 10:28 pm

Marci Oh Lara, I am so sorry to hear of your dads passing. Dont know how I missed this post earlier but my heart and prayers go out to you. I am in a similar situation with my mom right now, and the way you described the pain of grief, I can already imagine I will feel. Stay strong, they say the pain eases with time.

July 11, 2015 - 10:43 pm

Lara Jo Thank you, sweet friend, I really appreciate it. And I am so sorry to hear about your mother. I wish I could send strength and support in a box to you. It is the hardest thing in the world to tend to someone you love who is in pain. I’ll send all the peace and love I have your way in the hopes that you and your mom will be okay. Take care of yourself.

July 11, 2015 - 10:48 pm

Lara Jo Oh, Dawn, I am so sorry. But how wonderful that you have what sounds like such a meaningful relationship with your parents. It’s an odd thing, watching a parent grow old. Intellectually, you know it’s going to happen — for years and years you realize that you will someday be without your parents — but when it actually starts to happen, when you start noticing they’re aging and the issues and problems arising from it, it’s such a shock. And so hard to watch them go through any pain or ailment. I will keep a good thought for you and your lovely mom and dad. Take care of yourself, and thanks for sharing your story with me.

July 11, 2015 - 10:49 pm

Lara Jo Thank you, Sarah! I appreciate your sweet thoughts. Thanks for taking the time to write to me.

July 11, 2015 - 10:49 pm

Lara Jo Thank you, sweet friend! Hope all is well with you.

July 11, 2015 - 10:49 pm

Lara Jo Thank you, Laurie! I really appreciate it.

July 11, 2015 - 11:01 pm

Lara Jo Susan, thank you so much for your sweet note. You did NOT make me feel worse, quite the opposite. It helps to know there are others who are feeling the same way. 🙂 I can’t imagine the pain of losing both of them though I know I will have to face it eventually. And to lose a parent to Alzheimer’s…my heart goes out to you. I can’t possibly even imagine how difficult that must be. Thanks so much for sharing with me and for taking the time to write me. It really means a lot to me. Peace to you, friend!

July 11, 2015 - 11:05 pm

Lara Jo Oh, Dianne, I am so sorry. It is so painful to see your Dad fighting so hard only to lose the battle in the end. And the heartbreak of briefly thinking it was going to be okay…I wish I could say something other than “I’m sorry,” but please know that there is someone in Arkansas sending good wishes and thoughts of peace to you and your family, as you have sent them to me. Take care of yourself and thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Reading other people say “I know how you feel” is so incredibly comforting. Thank you!