The Inevitablegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Hedgehog Talk : One Thread
Has someone that you are very close to died?
-- Kymm Zuckert (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 31, 2000
My father died ten years ago, when I was in college. It doesn't feel like it's been that long, sometimes I feel it more accutely than others, especially now that I have a baby daughter. It feels weird and wrong that she'll never know him.
-- Rob Rummel-Hudson (email@example.com), October 31, 2000.
my grandfather, who was the most special person in the world. i mean that, i actually wrote an essay about him for english in high school, on that annoying assigned topic "the most interesting person i know" or something like that. the funeral wasn't for most of a week after he died, to allow his grandchildren to come from all over the country. i spent that week feeling like i was inside a glass ball, seperate from the world. it didn't break until i walked into the viewing...
in a different way, last year my oldest cousin and her 13 year old daughter were murdered by her husband (yes, the girls father). totally out of the blue, they were not estranged, there was no history of abuse, nothing. in that, i think the grief has come second to shock, horror, hatred and anger. sometimes the grief still hits me at odd moments, but the other emotions are always there too. i can't morn plain and simple because of the other issues...
my father is dying from altzheimers disease. in a sense he's dead already, as he's close to a vegetable. i miss him the way he was dreadfully...
-- nicole (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 31, 2000.
My father died from cancer when I was 15, and even though that was many, many years ago, I still miss him terribly. I also lost a baby to miscarriage several years ago, and have never truly recovered from that.
-- hez (email@example.com), October 31, 2000.
No, and that's beginning to scare me. I'm 40, and haven't been through that since losing my grandparents in high school. I have no idea how I'm going to handle it when it does happen.
-- Colin (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 31, 2000.
My father died of cancer in 1989 and my family drifted apart after that because he was the "glue". The only positive thing is that we knew it was going to happen, so we all had a chance to say goodbye. The same was true when my sister died in 1992 (breast cancer).
The worst grief for me was just before my 10th birthday, when my brother (who was 20) committed suicide. The mixture of shock and grief was nearly unbearable.
You're right, Kymm, surviving a loved one's death is incredibly painful. It makes me hope I'm the next one in my family to go.
-- Jessica (email@example.com), October 31, 2000.
When my Gramma went through her short last illness and died in summer, 1983, I thought I wouldn't be able to go on. She was one of two or three people on all the earth who loved me unconditionally, for which I have always been grateful. She'd suffered a stroke 18 months before; when my parents called to tell me I remember crying and crying, but when she died, not a tear. Not for months.
A week before she died my family returned from vacation (DisneyWorld). We had barely pulled into the driveway before I was on the road to pick her up to attend the closing night of an opera a friend of mine had written. Both of us wanted to see it, but I noticed how slowly she walked and the difficulty she had with stairs. But when I brought her home after the performance, she insisted on serving me peach cobbler and ice cream.
The next evening, Sunday, I was home alone while the rest of the family were at church. Gramma called looking for my mother. I asked if she was all right and she said "I don't know" in a way that made me think something was very wrong. I tried calling the church -- no answer during the service, duh, so I left a note for Mother and then drove like the wind the 20 minutes to Gramma's house. I was 18 and scared.
Gramma was ashen when I arrived, and when I asked her twice, confessed to pain in her left arm. She wouldn't let me carry her, but I helped her through the house and into bed. I ran next door; Gramma's neighbor was a retired doctor and a friend of the family for several years, but he wouldn't come back with me. Unsure what to do, I went back to her, and the doctor did follow five minutes later with glycerin packs for her heart. Mother called and said she'd come right out. After a quick examination, the doctor called the hospital to prepare for arrival, and told me to pack an overnight bag for Gramma. He stayed until Mother arrived. I was so grateful he did.
Gramma was a Christian Scientist and not too keen on a hospital, though she'd been before. She had great difficulty getting through the house to Mother's car, and sat on a chair in the living room for a while to rest. From there, she instructed Mother to open a drawer in the dining room buffet; there was a sqare of Hmong handiwork inside that she wanted her to see. We all marvelled that she'd think of such a thing at a time like that.
I followed in the second car as Mother drove Gramma to the hospital, and pulled up in time to see them wheeling her inside alone as Mother talked to an orderly.
The next day Gramma had a "moderately severe" heart attack, which we all said was like being a little bit pregnant. She died a week later in terrible pain. She'd asked repeatedly for a hypo so she could be "put out like a light." It was its own torture not to be able to assume the pain for her.
Gramma was the only person I ever knew who liked to sleep with her feet outside the sheet. We had terrible trouble with the nurses who quite sensibly tucked them back in again, the usual way. Gramma also complained of heat that entire week, even with the room like a freezer and a fan blowing on her all the time.
I knew she would die when I heard Mother planning to install a ramp on our front porch for her wheelchair. I just knew in my bones that that would never happen.
When Mother got the call to hurry to the hospital that next Sunday, I couldn't go because all my clothes were in the laundry. Wish I'd gone.
The one humorous note: Gramma was to be cremated, and apparently you can't be cremated naked. Mother and I went back to Gramma's house to select her clothes. We also included her "sausage," a tubular hairpiece she would wind around the back of her head to augment her long but transparently fine hair. Gramma would -never- remove the labels from her hairpieces, and we'd frequently have to tell her in public that her label was showing. I certainly wasn't going to have her cremated that way, and I ripped it off, taking a tuft of the "hair" with it, and threw it away. Mother saw it in the trashcan and thought it might upset anyone who found it there, so I tucked it in the pocket of my jeans, only to forget about it and find it in my laundry later.
Well, it's a fine old tradition to save a lock of hair from the dead, isn't it?! I still have it, with the label, in a gold lacquer box I gave her one year for Christmas. I think of her frequently; we had so many common interests, and there's always something I want to show her or read to her or share with her.
-- Robert (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 31, 2000.
My dad died in Sept. of '97 from cancer. He was sick for a little over a year and it was a long, drawn out painful death. We were prepared when he died but not ready for it to happen. My mom died in Sept. of '97 (both at 1:56a.m. woooo..). We believe the conman from Scotland named John Cruickshank Ellis born Dec. 21, 1941 (ahem) killed her, we're still trying to prove it. My 63 year old young, beautiful, vibrant healthy mom was dead. This con artist is fighting us kids for her money and property (they were only married two weeks before she died) so it makes her death stay fresh in my mind. I think about them everyday. I think no matter how old you are, weather you're 10 or 60 you feel like you're an orphan when you lose both parents (I was 29). Sometimes I cry but mostly I smile about the good memories. The things I think about most is how do I get married next October without my parents? How do I raise my future children without my mommy? I also just found out yesterday that my grandma has a cancerous mole on her neck and I've been watching my dog (my baby! my child! my protector!) die of cancer. He won't make it to Christmas I'm sure. But you know what? You survive, you get through it, it may take counseling and a ton of prozac and ambien but you do it. What doesn't kill you makes you makes you stronger, definately.
-- Amy T. (email@example.com), October 31, 2000.
Actually...my mom died September of 1999.
-- Amy T. (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 31, 2000.
My sister died April 6th of this year. The night before she died we argued . . . my last words to her were; "Does this mean we will never speak again?". We never did.
I miss her more than I can say....
Never go to bed without making amends to someone you have had cross words with. NEVER. Life is not fair and there is no way to tell what can happen.
-- Tracey (email@example.com), November 01, 2000.
I just found out that my best friend died Sunday night. Her husband called me tonight to tell me. I can't even articulate how I feel so just go here:
I loved her so much and we were so much a part of each other's lives and now she is gone.
-- Kate Dougherty (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 01, 2000.
My fiancé, the man I'd lived with for over eight years, died six years ago.
My brother, who was probably my best friend, died of cancer just over a year ago.
I miss them both very much.
-- Laura (email@example.com), November 01, 2000.
My wife died over eight years ago after a long illness. We were married for five years.
My father died suddenly 5 years ago next month.
It's weird but my father's death has had a much more profound impact on me and I think of him much more often - every day. Maybe it's because my wife and I didn't have a lifetime together and I was younger and knew for a while that her illness was terminal so I had time to steel myself. You can meet someone and fall in love again but you will never have another father. You never again have someone who will protect you and make everything all better.
-- Bart Tangredi (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 01, 2000.
My parents both died within two weeks of each other, in the fall of 1989. My mom had terminal cancer, and I was her primary caregiver for a year and a half beforehand. My dad was older than her, had bad lungs, but we thought he was stable -- he collapsed, had a pacemaker put in, got infected, and died two weeks before she did!
A very difficult time, but we were fortunate enough to have some things in our favor -- I was free to be with them during that time, my sister also lived here (that's why we moved to Seattle), my mom was in a good hospice program, we found a respite worker so I could get a break a few times a week, and so on.
The fact that my mom was really patient and good-spirited was also a blessing.
Anita of Anita's BOD and Anita's LOL
-- Anita Rowland (email@example.com), November 01, 2000.
I didn't check the new answers this morning, so I didn't know that Kate had mentioned Gingko's death this morning. I never noticed before, but as I was walking down my street, I saw that the two trees at the end of my street are gingko trees and, it being autumn, the leaves are all over the sidewalk.
As I was noticing the metaphore, I was kicking myself for being so corny. It was oddly moving, nonetheless.
-- Kymm Zuckert (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 01, 2000.
My mother will be 71 in a couple of months. My father turned 65 this August.
I've not seen either of them in three years, and the rational part of my mind says that that's alright, I'll get back out there eventually.
But I'm afraid of just how much they will have aged in that time I've been gone.
Once, we thought my mother was having a heart attack. We called in paramedics, and then my father and I totally lost it. Cried in each others arms. If either of us had been able to be strong for the other, it'd have been fine, but we each saw reflected in the other the desperate, burning fear and totally failed to keep our cool.
I don't know what'll happen when they really do die. Maybe that'll be the defining event that makes me believe in an afterlife.
-- Jason Packer (email@example.com), November 01, 2000.
I miss my dad ;(
-- smallkat (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 02, 2000.
My mother died of a sudden heart attack two years ago. She was only 52. I spoke with her via the phone just the night before. I was able to tell her that I loved her and heard that she loved me. Despite neither one of knowing she'd be gone the next day, we shared our love for one another. We always did. I'm so grateful for those intimate words.
I've lost a lot of people in my life. Death is not a foreign concept, though it never is easy. 15 years ago my best friend was murdered - abruptly ripped from my life at the tender age of 19.
Those kinds of losses stay with you forever. You adapt. You cope. You get beyond the not being able to breathe stage, but it's always there.
-- Athena (email@example.com), November 02, 2000.
I lost my dad to esophageal cancer on July 15, 1997. It was one month exactly after my wedding, and he walked me down the aisle, sick and shaky and oxygen tank and all. It was the shining moment in my life. He held on for me, for my day, and I said goodbye for the last time to him the day after and then he let go. I don't feel he's gone, though. After my delayed wedding reception in September after he died, a huge Monarch butterfly came to my window and it was him. I've had other visits, too, by him as a butterfly, and I never really feel he's gone...just on a different assignment. love, tango
-- tango (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 02, 2000.
This June my father suddenly passed away and a day doesn't go by that I haven't had some thought of him. It's true that it's like a club. Another friend of mine lost her father this year as well and we both can understand each other. Neither her husband nor one of my closest friends can truly comprehend how we feel. I am glad we had each other to hang on to because I know that I would not have gotten through the really tough times.
-- Joy (email@example.com), November 02, 2000.
I remember every detail about when my grandfather died, even though I was only 9 and I typically don't have acutely vivid memories.
We found out when we were vacationing at a lake house in New Hampshire. I was swimming and playing, and my mom came out of the house and called me over. I ran up to her, dripping wet and laughing, and she just said, "Grampie died." I remember just saying "No" and burying my head in her chest.
We left soon thereafter, coming home to Massachusetts when we shouldn't be home, we should be swimming and running along the lake house's long porch and sitting in the rocking chairs until ten o'clock at night. Not walking on eggshells in a quiet house, not knowing how to comfort Grammie.
The funeral was awful. I did not accept that that box right in front of me held my Grampie. I sat next to my grandmother, who did not shed a tear for her husband in front of me. Rather, with the stubborn Yankee constitution she was known for, she reached over repeatedly and patted my leg as I started sniffling for the millionth time.
My sister and I bookended my dad after the service as we walked up to the casket for a final show of respect. My sister, all of 13, and I burst into tears and each hugged my dad. I remember my dad, his son, saying to the minister, "They'll be alright."
At the cemetery, I still couldn't accept that the box with the dirt being thrown on it held my Grampie. He came to all my school plays, came over a few times a week so my mom could get out of the house, let me cheat at checkers, tell him how to drive to his house when he kidded me, saying, "I don't remember how to get there, you'll have to tell me the way," never saw me graduate #1 in my high school class, never met my husband, never read any of my writing, probably never knew what he meant to me.
I was only 9. I'm 32 now and still miss him so much. He was my best friend.
-- Sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 04, 2000.
When I was young, my family was old. I went to a lot of funerals in my early years. More recently, I have lost both parents within the last five years. The sendoffs were all typical Irish wakes, with the tears tempered by a bit of whiskey and the cameraderie of family and old friends.
My mother and I were pretty close and I recall a real sense that her spirit was still around after her death. At the gravesite following her funeral on a frigid January day, we huddled under umbrellas as icy snow blew horizontally at us. The priest was hurrying through the prayers so everyone could get inside. Suddenly, the clouds broke and the sun shone through for just a moment before it clouded over again. I felt as though mom was saying, "look what I can do now, don't be so sad".
My mother also said many times that if she were reincarnated, she wanted to come back as an eagle. My sister reported that the first time she went to visit mom's gravesite, an eagle appeared (a rarity in southern NJ). It flew low over her head and came to rest in a tree nearby.
The deaths that have truly disturbed me have been when young people have died. I had a cousin who was killed in an auto accident while barely in his twenties. And, a close friend, thirty or so, was shot in his handsome face in a deserted park either because he was gay or because he had a new metallic blue Jeep Cherokee. His body wasn't found for two weeks and they never found the killer. The Jeep turned up, trashed, in a distant part of the city. Even though it's been eight years, I still think of him every time I see a guy with Woody Woodpecker red hair. And I grieve some, not for Paul, but for the rest of us.
-- Jon Arthur (email@example.com), November 08, 2000.
Both of my parents are still alive and very healthy *knocking on wood*
But all of my grandparents have died. One grandfather died before I was born. The one I miss the most is my grandmother on my mom's side, who died when I was ten. She was the one who loved me the most.
And one childhood friend died in her early 20s.
-- Catherine (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 15, 2000.
My Dad died in 1987. He and my mother were on their way to Mexico, on a convoy with a bunch of other "old folks with trailers" I was stationed in Texas at the time, and it seemed like a good fit for them to visit me (right on the way, you know) SO they pulled into a local campsite, and my Dad figures he'll hunt me down. He was an vet, retired after 30 some years in the Air Force, so he knew his way around a base. I had told people he was a retired colonel, and a buddy of mine had jacked that up to a General, so when he walked in people were giving him alot of respect. But he was a wizened little old man. He was 5'6" tall and thin and had a hard life, so looked even older than his 67 years. He snuck up on me and gave me a big hug. I was so embarassed and told him, geez dad not in front of all my men. He backed off, and we all went to dinner. Later that night I got a call. He was in the hospital, a bad stroke, and he never came back. he was in a coma for three days and my brothers and sister came in from all over the country. I had to make all the arrangements for the cremationa and all. And then he held hands and told stories over his comatose body. laughed and cried. and tehn they pulled the plug. he jerked and bucked like a bronco and then was still. I didn't really get emotional for days. not until everyone left and later I was in my room in the barracks crying. like a baby. I didn't hug my Dad back. on the last chance I had. too embarrassed. I cry now as I type this. I will never be too embarassed again to let my emotions rule. I love my Dad...he was a drunk...he wasn't always there for me...but I know that he was proud of me, and loved me. and I wish he could be here now, and see my children, and know how things are.
-- Rob Britt (email@example.com), November 15, 2000.
The 15th would've been my father's 52nd birthday. He died a year and a half ago. The last time I'd seen him was the Christmas before that. He'd had another episode (I've truly lost track of how many were heart attacks and how many were related to the diabetes he'd developed) while visiting our family in Indianapolis. He'd had seizures, which were new for him and I really didn't expect him to make it to Christmas.
He did and, even though he spent most of that visit being "Bad Mike" (the mean-spirited, abusive side of him vs. the smart, funny, charming, generous side), I remember being very thankful that we got to have one more Christmas together. I'd just moved to New York that summer and who knew if we'd be able to get together the next Christmas? We revelled in sneaking around and putting out presents for my then-8 year old brother. Dad always did love surprising us with special presents on Christmas, even if he hated putting together bikes and Barbie houses.
I remember expecting that call so many times before, that it actually caught me off guard. He'd had several heart attacks and other collapses and had been fine. Initially you hear "heart attack" and assume death, but he'd survived several, so I guess I started to think he had some special resistance, that he was going to be fine.
It was the most surreal week of my life. Mom and I decided to bury hi m in Indianapolis, where both sides of the family live. I felt so bad that she had to deal with everything by herself the first few days and take care of my brother too. There were several delays with moving the body to another state and getting the death certificate signed (he died on a Saturday and his doctor didn't work again until Tuesday), so there was this sense of things in limbo, of us not being able to be together that was terrible.
Other people have mentioned feeling their loved one's presence in the form of animals or what-have-you. My father had a very absurd, twisted sense of humor. He also found red tape and incompetance maddening. I could only imagine what his reactive would've been when we couldn't get his doctor to sign the death certificate for three days (what a poison pen letter he would've written!), when my hair turned green, when they put "white" down for his race on his death certificate, when the one person who didn't tell me to be strong for my mom and not cry -- who said the exact right thing -- was his mistress. I think he would have been shocked that not once during the whole shebang did anyone spell his last name wrong. That always pissed him off.
Right now, the worst part is that the everyday memories and the happy memories are fading fast, but I have started to have nightmares of beatings and rages. He wasn't perfect, but I am so sad that the things that faded first were the sound of his voice, his laugh, and his smile -- while the rage is so vivid and clear.
I cannot agree more with whoever said never to got to bed mad. Don't leave mad, don't hang up mad. Although he tended to nitpick and try to control right through the end in person, I found that we were able to develop a very friendly relationship via email. Even though he thought moving to New York was the stupidest thing I'd ever done, he'd called me just a couple of weeks before he died, just to see how I was. It's little things like that make such a difference.
-- Erica (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 19, 2000.
I've never had anyone close to me die, unless you count my grandfather, but I was about three. I remember the wake, but at the time I really wasn't aware of what was going on.
-- Katie (email@example.com), November 20, 2000.