Ten things I’ve learned since December

1. Being with Dad, even though he can’t walk, can’t talk, and may not always know who I am,  is now a comfort instead of a grief.

2. We do what we have to do and priorities get clear in a crisis.

3. Moving Dad to a nursing home was not as terrible as I had expected and always dreaded.

4. Everything is relative.

5. I have an unlimited and unstoppable capacity to hope, like my mother.

6. No matter how much we may want someone to live, death will not wait.

7. Grief comes in unannounced and overwhelming waves.

8. Grief has a taste and odor and prickly needles and fills up your senses, and creates nausea, and is so much more than mere sadness.

9. Words of comfort are, in fact, comforting.

10. You can watch your mother expel her last breath, touch her cold hands in a funeral parlor, and sit beside her closed coffin at her grave, and have none of it seem real.

18 thoughts on “Ten things I’ve learned since December”

  1. Ditto, except that for me the surreal moment was watching a strange box that supposedly contained my father wheel past me. I kept looking for him to be sitting near me but he wasn’t there.

    1. That wasn’t very long ago, was it? My memory is failing me at the moment. It’s comforting to know people like you who are hurting the same as me. Not that I wish pain on you, but just that it’s comforting not to be experiencing this alone. I particularly find it helpful to talk to those who experienced a loss in the past because I can see that I, too, will heal.

      1. I don’t even remember if I expressed my condolences, Lisa. December was a blur for me. It’s good to know that the crying does subside. It will take time for both of us to heal.

  2. I’ve been thinking about you, Christine, and I’m glad to see this post. I love #1… I’m so glad you have your dad to turn to. And I’m glad you shared these feelings with us. Sending hugs.

  3. I, too, have been thinking about you, Christine. I also learned that number 10 ultimately won’t kill you, though it seems like it will.

    By the way, Sara and I are moving to Ecuador sometime before summer. Hope we can meet before then. Talked about trying to meet Frank A. somewhere. Would love you to join us! We are planning to make it to Ohio before we leave.


  4. Difficult lessons to learn and absorb. So much emotion to process, it overloads the senses. To know there are those who share the grief, who are living through the grief is something to hold on to. You will always miss her and the grief will catch you an unexpected and sometimes inopportune times. She will always be with you, always.

  5. Hi Christine … I do feel for you so much … you’ve experienced a lot in such a short time – we know it’s there waiting for us, but then when the time comes it takes us by surprise … yours was too short, too troublesome – no time to sit back and think (just for that short time to put all things in perspective) …. I have to say I was lucky – and now I too still would like to regroup and rethink it all … I probably will sometime – but I have no regrets and have been lucky that way.

    My elderly ‘aunt’ who died last May aged 95 .. had said to me during my 7 year period of elderly care – there’s a reason for everything … that has helped put things in perspective to a point .. and I’ve learnt to take the good and positive things away with me …

    Being with your father will be enormously helpful – though sad – but relief that he’s cared for … and you can let your thoughts wander with his … wherever yours take you …. I used to do that at my mother’s bedside at times …

    My thoughts for all you’re experiencing and going through .. big hugs – Hilary

  6. I had someone tell me once that grief will never change. It just always gets to be different. This from a young woman who had trauma in her life at a very young age. She still has a wonderful sense of humor and wisdom that comes from knowing. I like your list, Christine, alot.

  7. Those first few days are numbing. It makes it surreal. I don’t know if that numbing effect is a good thing or not.

    I’ve seen this after your blog on Saturday. You and your family have my sympathies.


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