Tag Archives: grief

Doing the hard things

It’s really hard to hate a tree.

Woods

I know because I tried. But as I stood in front of the beautiful cherry tree my father used to climb to hunt deer and otherwise be among nature, I couldn’t find it in my heart to hold a grudge.

Instead I stood there with my mother, aunt, uncle, and four close family friends, imagining that Dad was there with us. I breathed fresh country air and visualized the pre-dawn mornings Dad had spent in a tree stand on our friend Ivan’s property, waiting for a mature buck to appear.


Although Dad died from complications Pulmonary Hypertension, a hunting accident he suffered back in 2007 exacerbated his health problems for the next eight years.

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Things I learned while grieving

Tomorrow will mark one month since my dear, sweet, wonderful Dad died. I’m doing OK, but it still sucks. I still cry. I still feel sad and awful and shocked that the world keeps turning without Dad present.

But I am also starting to manage to not cry every time I see a pic of Dad or think of him. Weirdly, I feel a teensy bit guilty for not grieving 24/7. That’s normal and OK too. Grief is weird and non-linear and unpredictable.

flowers Having survived this summer myself, I’m feeling kind of expert-y about grief (not really) and though I’d share a few things I learned in the process. If you have anything you’d add, please share in the comments.

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Sometimes people are incredibly kind

Friday, July 17, 2015

My father died at 2 am. It is 10 am and I am already back in Northeastern PA at my parents’ mother’s house. Everything is terrible. Nothing is comfortable. It’s easily one of the top five worst days of my life (and at least two of the others happened in the days just prior).

Compounding the misery, I don’t really have much to wear. I left NYC for Philly straight from a work meeting on Monday, with just the clothes on my back. There are a few t-shirts and stuff in the drawers of the dresser in my childhood bedroom, but not much else. Katie kindly brought me a suitcase with some clothes on Tuesday, but I have already worn everything in it–other than the lacy yellow thong I found mixed in.*

This is how I ended up dressed like this in a J Crew factory store.

Lolla

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Kitten therapy

I take a deep breath as I open the door.

“Will they think I’m a creep?” I worry. Jeez, I hope not.

Because I’m going in anyway.

“Careful,” I think. “Don’t push the door too hard or too wide.”

I can see that today there are a few little ones running free, drinking from a fountain and playing with toys.

Here I am again at PS9 Pets, a store in my neighborhood that also finds homes for cats and kittens.

cat tux

I’m not stopping in to get a pet. Or to buy supplies for a pet I don’t have.

I’m just here to look at sleeping kittens and playing kittens. I’ll take pics of the lil cuties and show them to my friends who might take one home.

cat black

And if someone suggests it, YES I WILL CUDDLE A KITTEN. Because this is my therapy: kitten therapy.

I’ve been really sad of late, and for obvious, real reasons. I miss my dad.

Right now, the sweetness of a kitten trumps my allergies. And it’s preferable to crying.

If anyone from PS9 reads this, thank you for tolerating me.

My IQ has dropped by 20 points. Maybe 30.

If one of you made me a shirt that said “MY DAD DIED AND I AM A MESS” please know that I would wear it. Perhaps daily.

Such a shirt would save me from having to say those horrible-but-true words aloud, and let people know why my brain is really not working like it normally does.

Via Polyvore and Marc by Marc Jacobs

Perhaps this shirt would work just as well.

I’m serious though. During my sweet Dad’s last days and now, I have been making crazy errors, like booking a flight for the wrong day (by two whole weeks!). And I need to read things, like, four times to get the point.

Is this normal? Will I ever bounce back?


I promise that someday my blog won’t be exclusively about grief and death and sad things. But right now these are pretty much the only thoughts in my head and I really need to share them with anyone willing to listen. Thank you for your patience.

My first post about Life After Dad

My worst fears came true: my sweet, kind gentleman of a Dad died on Friday, July 17.

I have so many thoughts and feelings on this sad time, but need a little time to pull myself together and get my life back in order. Dad spent most of the last five weeks of his life in a Philadelphia hospital so much of my non-family life has been on hold. And I wouldn’t change a thing (except, of course, if I could strike a deal to have Dad back and healthy).

Dad dimples

For the time being, here’s a pic of my father that I love, as well as the text of the eulogy I gave for him at his funeral today. Continue reading

In Dreams

She comes to me in dreams sometimes.

Aunt Mar is in the kitchen of her old apartment of Parsippany. She greets me cheerfully, casually, as if only a few weeks without seeing each other have passed. If she’s at all surprised to see me, it doesn’t show.

Aunt Mar is making eggplant parmesan. Without looking, I know there’s one portion made with chicken already in the oven because she knows I don’t like eggplant. It is always made clear to me that I am her favorite, just as she is mine.

I am overjoyed to see her, but also confused. Hurt. Angry. Why had she had left me? I was only sixteen. I needed her so badly.

I want to scream “you died! How are you here?” But would speaking the words aloud pierce the veil and make my happy dream evaporate? I am afraid.

What do you think of me? Of this person I’ve become?

Do you still love me? I hope I haven’t let you down. 

Where did you go? Please don’t leave again. I still need you.

I’ll be OK. I just love you so much.

I say nothing. I let her hold me in her arms like the child I used to be.

She comes to me in dreams sometimes. Just not nearly as often as I wish.

Aunt Mar and Jen