I’m struggling.

It has been three months and two weeks since we lost my Dad. If there’s a part of my life that hasn’t been affected by grief, well, I couldn’t identify it for you.


Physically, I just don’t feel right and that’s something I never expected. It’s rare I go a day without a headache.

It started with the Grief Diet. No, that doesn’t mean I starved myself in sadness. That would have been cool! Instead it means that I ate all of the food well-intentioned friends and relatives brought to the house in the immediate aftermath.

When I wasn’t eating, I slept. The fatigue was unexpected too. Even my usually indefatigable mother was suddenly exhausted much of the time.

Subsequently the Grief Diet evolved into the Give Me All Of Your Carbs Right Now phase. It yielded five to seven new pounds that lingered persistently until very recently.

Honestly, I didn’t really care about the weight gain. Because I haven’t been caring about much. I put away the scale when my weight didn’t stabilize after a week or two. When I gave it a go last week, I was back to what has been my normal weight for the last year. I can work with that.

But the emotional heaviness I feel? That lingers. I cry even when I’m thinking about something unrelated to Dad. I don’t feel creative, or happy, or excited. I bail on plans. I watch Law & Order for hours. I dread the holidays and all of the “first ____ without Dad” milestones that lay ahead of me like a desolate road disappearing into the horizon. No relief in sight.

I feel my heart ache each time my mother tells me by phone that she’s OK, but I know she’s lying because her voice is tight, about to crack. I wonder what keeps me tethered to this world when the people I love are leaving one at a time.

Depression, my life-long nemesis, is clearly in play, and for good reason. I suffered a life-changing loss. Day by day, I’m trying to go easy on myself. But that doesn’t come naturally to me.

Why am I unloading on you (again)? I think I just want you to understand why my posts lack any pizzazz. Bear with me, friends.

12 thoughts on “I’m struggling.

  1. Lance

    I’m so sorry. I know that does nothing for you. But hang in there. His memory will strengthen you. The good thing is, you’re talking about it.


  2. ebridges

    Much love my friend. I am so sorry you are going through this. Your heart has been broken so it is no wonder you are feeling these physical ramifications. Be kind to yourself as it heals to not quite whole. Know you have an army of people and love. I cannot wait to see you hopefully sometime soon and drinking a toast to surviving this awful year. Survive it you will xx

  3. Diandra

    It’s the reality we all must face one day. Thanks for showing us that it’s ok to not be ok. Just know you have a lot of people who love you and are there for you whenever you may need us.

    Thinking of you.

  4. Kathleen Schmidt

    It’s going to be okay. Not now, not in the very near future, but at some point. There’s no timeline for grief, especially not now, when it is so raw, and you have yet to get through the (much dreaded) holidays. Of course you’re struggling–you’re human. You lost someone who was everything to you. Not everyone will understand how you feel unless they’ve been through it–and that is no fault of theirs. It’s hard for some people to know what to say or do. But: you have a network of people who care about you and understand your grief. Lean on them. Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to apologize for anything right now. Just be who you need to be during this time and you’ll find that you’ll evolve. It’s going to hurt like hell for a long while, but you are most definitely not alone in that experience. xo

  5. markbialczak

    So sorry, Jen. Your grief is a big weight. Please share it with us. How about: Write about your relationship with your dad, chronologically, story form, sort of like a diary. Talk to your mom and other people who shared the times to reaffirm the blurry parts. Cry and laugh when you must. At the end, you’ll either have the best diary ever and a fine self-therapy session or a universal-chord bestseller waiting to happen. ❤ Get through the day, my friend.

  6. Vanessa

    I like Mark’s idea, too. I’m so sorry you’re suffering. Happy to come up and wallow and watch L&O if you want! 😉 You’re welcome in Baltimore/DC, too, if you want a change of scenery.

  7. Amy Wojnarowski

    I hear you and feel for you – I understand and empathize – just be right now – wake up and realize you’re alive and if that’s all – being mindful of that – then that’s an ok day. It’ll take awhile – hell, my Mom died 6 years ago on Wednesday and I can still cry on a dime and miss her terribly all the time – but as Kathleen says, you evolve and get stronger – a new kind of strong – and incredibly find new tethers to the world even though your roots are leaving – hang on to us – the ones who relate – we all are kind of tethered to each other in joint experience – sometimes you will even feel the emotional strength of friends lifting you – I did and it continues to save me. You are and will be ok💛


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