You know when it is said you can’t die from a broken heart? I believe that as I have had my heart broken a few times and in different circumstances and have survived them with time, good friends and family and some good therapy. But to have a broken heart along with the grief that comes from the loss of a loved one seems almost too much to come back from. My precious dad, Roy, died on August 18, 2018 after complications from Frontal Temporal Dementia and have aspirated food that caused him to have pneumonia and sepsis. It was to say the least one of the cruelest things I have had to witness. You see, my dad is the kindest, funniest, loving man I will ever know. Oh, he had his issues like we all do. Quick to get angry if things were going quick enough for him, obsessive over time and how things were getting done. But at his core he was a genuinely kind, nice man.
The grief I am dealing with is nothing I have ever felt before. It’s been almost 5 months and not a moment goes by that I don’t think about him. And usually at least once a week I go through the could haves and should haves of his last couple years and did I make the best decisions for him. Of course I am told by my family and friends I did the best job under a difficult situation, but the fact is he is still gone. He is not there to yell out my name when he couldn’t see me if I stepped out of his view while visiting him…
“LAURRRRIIIIEEEE”….I could hear it down the hallways at his home, at his care facility, even in the hospital the last day he was awake. When I would walk into his home he would get a huge smile on his face and wrap his arms around me like he hadn’t seen me in years. He would call me sweetheart, sweetie and honeybunch. When we would wrap up our daily 4pm call he would say, “I love you” and would make sure he heard me say “I love you” back to him.
This thing called grief takes many forms. The first few weeks of crying almost all day have passed. Getting through his funeral and all the “business” of dying is subsiding. And now I am left with the wreckage of my feelings and my loss. My daily life and work keep me busy and my mind occupied. But then the quiet comes, the picture of dad and I smiling pass my view, driving past a restaurant or fast food place we went to is there to remind me he is really gone and I won’t get to take him to those places anymore. I hear his voice and I remember how much he loved me. It hurts so much I sometimes can’t take it and fall into sobbing for a while. I hold on to my loving husband or my dogs and little by little I pull myself together and move forward. I don’t think I will ever move past this and it will always be under the surface for me. I feel like the commercial with the woman holding a smiling mask in front of her sad face.
I love my family and without them I wouldn’t have made it through the holidays. I anticipated they would be awful, but they weren’t as bad as I thought. It’s not the special days that are hardest for me. It’s ever day. Every normal day of life, missing him, missing his calls, missing his love of me, how proud he was of me. I just don’t want to think I ever let him down or that he trusted all the decisions I made for him, but what if they were wrong?
I feel that this grief is going to be a long, ongoing process and with time I will let myself off the hook and just remember the wonderful man dad was and just smile with joy. For today, I’ll just ask for grace to get through tomorrow and hope that my aching heart will subside with time.