I feel lost,
I feel angry,
I feel like this past year can’t possibly have been real.
I just don’t even know where to start or what to write. I don’t know how to answer when people ask me how I am. I don’t have words enough to express what I’m feeling.
In the last 365 days I’ve lost a best friend, a grandmother-in-law, a father-in-law, and my dad. I’m reeling, I’m numb, I’m in shock, I’m overwhelmed, I’m lost.
One year ago my world changed with the words, “Jenn died.” Truth-be-told I never really got the chance to properly mourn Jenn’s passing. Two weeks after Jenn died, my dad was rushed to the hospital and my grandmother-in-law was unexpectedly moved to hospice care at almost the exact same time, we were pulling up to the hospital dad was in when we got the call about grandmom; grandmom passed two days later, dad spent almost a month in the hospital and getting stronger in rehab. Dad was a rock star in rehab; he was better than he’d been in years, but hope is a cruel bitch and pulled the rug out from under us. Shortly after dad returned home from rehab dad had a terrifying, steep, rapid, (did I mention terrifying?) decline. Dad rebounded from that decline and spent the next ten months declining and rebounding, declining and rebounding, declining and rebounding; it was a terrifying, emotional, and exhausting roller coaster ride of good health, bad health, and really bad health. Dad mostly declined over these last few months; I started reading about grief before death. It was like losing Nanny to dementia ten years ago, the dad who still existed wasn’t the dad we all knew and loved; he wasn’t the Reds he and rest of the world knew and loved.
Dad was in bad shape when my father-in-law suddenly passed away after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. The night of my father-in-law’s viewing my own dad could barely walk or stand up on his own; six days later I got a call that dad wasn’t doing well and I worried if he’d make it through the night. The next morning we took him to the hospital, all the neighbors were out as dad was loaded in to the private ambulance we called to take him to the good hospital where his cardiologist practices, my brother and I remarked it was like they were out saying goodbye to dad. As it turns out, they were, dad never returned home. After seven days in the hospital and twelve days in rehab he had his third or fourth (I don’t remember now) heart attack and died on the afternoon of August 18th.
You know you always expect “the phone call” to come in the middle of the night. I never expected the call to come a little before 7am on a Tuesday morning, but it did. “Your dad’s unresponsive, he still has vitals, but he’s unresponsive, he’s been taken to the hospital.” I called my mother and my brother and rushed to the hospital hoping and praying the rush hour traffic would be unusually light and that dad wouldn’t die before I or someone got to the hospital. Turns out we all made it before he died, but honestly in reality dad was gone before any of us got there, he’d crashed in the ER. Because there was no DNR on file they revived him and transferred him to a hospital with an ICU, where the cardiologist informed us dad was in multi organ failure, at about 1pm dad passed away surrounded by all of us.
It’s a little past midnight on September 1st, two weeks since dad passed away and a year and a day since Jenn died. The last 366 days have been a study in grief, and loss, and fear, and sorrow, and I’m not sure what it is I am supposed to have learned from them. I’m so lost, and confused, and adrift, I’m not sure if there’s even anything to be learned from so much loss in such a compressed amount of time. I.just.don’t.know.
I wish there was such a thing as after funeral obituaries or after funeral thank you notes published in the newspaper because so many of the people I want to thank will not see this.
I was worried with the viewing and funeral all being one day and so early on a Saturday morning that dad would not have a good turnout. Turns out I needn’t have worried, I was spectacularly wrong. You came, you all came, friends, family, neighborhood folks, coworkers, employers, all of my and Tommy’s families and friends, you were all there, every one of you.
Thank you for your time, your presence, your memories, your kind words, and your warm condolences, I am more than grateful.
Over the last five years I’ve had a lot of time to sit alone with my dad with each of us in the hospital so much and four years ago daddy accompanying me to my radiation treatments two days a week for more than six weeks so he and I have had lots of time to sit and pass the time together in hospital rooms and oncology waiting rooms. It’s hard to be grateful for sickness, but I’m so grateful for all the time we got to spend together over the last five years.