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Mom, I’m Still Learning How To Live Without You

Mom, I’m Still Learning How To Live Without You

Written By: Colleen George

I miss you. It’s as simple and as raw as that.
I miss the way you loved me. I miss the way your smile made me feel safe and at home. I miss the way you cared for me and about me, and that I knew you would always protect me. I miss the way you encouraged me, and the way you always held your hand out to me whenever life knocked me down.
I miss how special you were you were to me, and I miss how special you made me feel.
I miss hearing your voice on the other end of the phone. I miss hearing all of the little details about your day, and sharing all of the insignificant details of my day with you.
I miss hugging you tightly and squeezing your warm hand in mind. I miss the sound of your vibrant laugh, and I miss the way you would smile at me from across the room, a smile only shared by the two of us.
I miss the way you challenged me, and always encouraged me to do my best. I miss the way you reassured me that everything would be okay, even when I felt like the world was falling apart. I even miss all of our silly arguments and disagreements, just because I would do anything to relive them so that I could be with you.
I miss you. It’s as simple and as grand as that. I miss seeing you every single day, and I miss loving you with every fiber of my being. I miss the time we spent together, and I miss the time that I thought I still had with you.
I miss you. And the missing you part never gets any easier. I feel as though I was robbed of a lifetime I thought we still had. I feel as though I was robbed of new memories and new stories. But all I have to hold onto are the memories we already made, the memories that we already formed.
I am very slowly learning how to live without you, and I am very slowly learning how to fit missing you into living.
I’ve learned that missing you doesn’t mean that I cry every day, or that I never smile or laugh. Missing you doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped trying to live, or stopped trying to do my best. But it does mean that sometimes I just don’t feel right. Sometimes I look at the day ahead and I just don’t feel good. Missing you means that sometimes I feel numb, and I don’t know why.
I try to reassure myself, by remembering how lucky I am to have lived our little infinity together, but then I become scared, as I realize that some parts of you are fading from my memory. I realize that it’s up to me to hold on to our time together. It’s up to me to use the time we had together to continue to live a beautiful life for the both of us.
Since you’ve been gone, a little part of me has stayed empty. And this emptiness still leaves me feeling unsettled and incomplete. A little part of me is still not sure how to live on my own in a world without you. And truth be told, I probably will never know how. But I will keep trying. I will keep trying to live in a way that radiates the love you had for me, and the love that I had for you.
So as simple and as vast as it is, I miss you. I miss you every single hour of every single day. And I will continue to miss you, day after day after day. I’m not sure if it will get easier, but I will keep going. I’m not sure if I will ever be okay, but I will try to be.
But I do know one thing, if missing you every single day is the price I pay for loving you, it is well worth it.

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18 responses

  1. Hello, I go by the username cfcarter1 and I manage two blogs. One on blogger and one on WordPress. As you can see the title of my blog/site is Cord Cutters Nation which is mainly geared for people wanting to save money by primarily watching television online and cutting the cord.

    I began blogging as a way to find an outlet for dealing with my grief both with the fact of losing my mother and another by losing a soldier while I was deployed overseas. I am a Veteran and I am proud of my service. Although I have been through many changes throughout my life and even throughout my service to my country, I can never seem to shake off the grief and the loneliness of losing a loved one especially a mother. I lost my mother at 13 and life has never been the same. While deployed overseas we lost a Soldier during the Afghanistan war and afterwards, I thought I would never recover mentally.

    I was able to retire from the service but in the back of my mind grief still seems to consume me sometimes, even when being medicated. It seems the medication only numbs the pain. Both my mother and the soldier mentioned above lost their lives to Suicide and I must say it was a very traumatic experience for me.

    I want to say thank you for writing and managing such an important blog as I do not think some people really grasp how deep losing a loved one or someone that you knew for a certain period of time and then suddenly they’re gone forever! I usually ask for strength in most trying times because the burden can become so hard to bare sometimes. It is such a relief to find people out there who are going through similar circumstances and experiences that I go thru from time to time and know that they too hurt like me and they too are human and feel grief just as I do. Please keep up the great work and know that your work is appreciated from the heart!!! Thanks for reading!

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  2. Ditto – well said Jenna – the void is impossible to fill when you have such a mother. Mine was absolutely the best and passed away from a tragic drowning two years ago. She was perfectly healthy and had so many more years with me and my family. It is a loss I cannot reconcile and I miss her terribly. I am a better woman, wife, mother, friend, person for having her as my life coach from birth. I knew I was special because of her. Miss her more than words can express. But I strive everyday to implement the lessons and the wisdom she gave me, the love she radiated, I hope to share. Whenever she did something wonderful for me, which was every day, she always said “don’t try to pay me back, pay it forward to your children.” I do that everyday in her honor and her memory. I am good because she was good. Hugs from one grieving daughter to another. I “get” you!

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  3. You posted this the day my mom died. It appeared on my feed today, I am certain she had a hand in that. Thank you for putting this overwhelming feeling into words. Well said. I will read it often.

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  4. My mom died January 3, 1985 and it still seems like yesterday. I miss her. I was 33 years old and it tore me apart. She was my rock. I was angry, I was upset, I was hurt because she died. She died of pancreatic cancer and in those days there was no google for the internet, heck, there was no internet. I went down to the city library and grabbed a bunch of medical books to research her cancer and that day I knew that she had a death sentence. I called her doctor and point blank asked him if she indeed had a death sentence and he finally said she did. I called my five sisters and told them that they had to come home for Christmas since this would be her last. The problem was …. the doctors wouldn’t tell her that. We got through our last Christmas and it was a good one. My mom loved Christmas, she loved everything about it. On December 26, 1984, her doctor (he was also her cousin) came to the house and went into her bedroom and sat my dad down on the bed with my mom laying in it. He told them the truth and said she had only a matter of time. On December 31st, my dad called me at work and was in a panic. Something was wrong with mom. I rushed home, called an ambulance and she went to the hospital…..and died three days later. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her, I feel I was gypped out of time with her. I always tell people that have parents to tell them they love them and to be with them. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. My dad lived until 2000, never remarried…. he said he couldn’t.

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  5. Thanks everyone for posting, my mother died on August 30, 2017. I was her only child and although I am 48 I am devastated! I miss her so and wish we had more time. I am waiting for the day when my heart doesn’t ache and the tears don’t flow like a rushing stream. Reading your post helps me to heal.
    Vivian

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  6. This piece explains how I feel every single day. My mother died 4 yrs ago this month, and although she was well into her 80’s & I well into my 50’s, that love & heart ache can never be duplicated. Thanks for sharing

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  7. Pingback: Mom, I’m Still Learning How To Live Without You | Just Jenna Rose | Loss, Grief, Bereavement and Life Transitions Resource Library

  8. My mom has been gone almost 8yrs & I still think or see something to tell her about each day, then I just look to the sky & tell her, then chuckle or know what she would say! Some days are better than most others not so good. My daddy has been been gone for almost 34yrs (he was only 61 when he left us) & still talk to him also, mainly when mom was ill. Today’s his birthday he would have been 95, happy birthday in heaven daddy. I know they are together again & that helps! Thank you for putting your feelings down on paper, it helps to remember we are not alone with our feelings!

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  9. Thank you for posting this. While it’s not my mom but my wife of thirty three years every word you wrote still fits. You see she was my caretaker as I have left body Dementia and relied heavily on her for the past three years. Today I’m doing better and having to relie on my children to look after me but I still miss my wife so terribly. Thank you for your words they are very fitting.

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  10. Thank you for writing this. This….is also my truth. I don’t believe I could have conveyed it any better. Well done. You literally captured every single thought and feeling that encompasses my being since I lost my amazing mother to breast cancer. I stumbled upon this article and couldn’t finish the second line without shedding tears. Sigh. I am literally going to write this out exactly even though it came from your beautiful brain. ;). This has been sort of a healing moment to re-write this truth out on paper and own it as it stands 100% true for me. So thank you for sharing. Colleen/Jenna. This was apparently an unexpected need for me today. I could quite pinpoint it…IT. THIS. But you mapped it out for me just right. So I will frame your work somewhere and read it anytime I feel like it. It reminds me that I am not alone and others share the same sentiment and we will heal and live and love….still.

    Thank you and God bless you!

    A. Crews

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  11. Like everyone else, I couldn’t have written my feelings any better. My Mom left the six of us March 30, 2015. She had Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. I didn’t know such a disease existed until she was diagnosed. Her lungs hardened like stone and eventually no lung capacity, no air exchange. Her world became smaller and smaller, until it consisted of a recliner and a hospital bed. She finally told us she ” just wanted to go be with Jesus.” She is strong a d well again, so I am thankful.B ut I miss her every day. Thx for sharing,. We must have all had perfect mothers.

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  12. Thanks a lot for writing this beautiful tribute.i can relate to every single word as i lost my loving mother in 2016 and i am her only child.Reading this brings so much of peace to my heart as i know we all are just paying the price of great love.God bless you.

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  13. After two years of never knowing what to say when asked how I was doing, I can honestly say that I wish I could just give them a copy of your blog as it says it all so perfectly. I see me and mom in every word. Beautifully written.

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  14. Your writing is so beautiful and your feelings are so familiar. My 25 year old son, Justin, was tragically taken from me on February 2, 2017. Your mom, my son, but our emotions and pain are very similar. To relieve some of the pain, I chose to write my son the following letter to let him know what I was feeling and how much I loved and missed him.

    Son, I miss you. I miss you so damn bad. My heart still aches & the tears still flow. I will never understand why you were taken from us so abruptly, so tragically, & so very early in life. A part of me died that day – my life changed & I will never be the same. I am sure He had a reason for taking you at such an early age but whatever the reason, it is simply not good enough or acceptable to me. Maybe one day but not today…

    Son, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. You & I were supposed to grow old together. I was “to watch you fade in & you were to watch me fade out”. You & I were supposed to have many more laughs, hugs, conversations, turkey hunts, sunrises & sunsets together. I was looking forward to so many things with great anticipation. I wanted the honor of standing beside you as your best man. I wanted the privilege of holding your first born. I wanted to watch you become a husband & a father. I wanted so much…

    Son, even though your time hear on earth was short, you left a lasting legacy. You will not be forgotten. You had an unbelievable group of friends that are honoring you by loving me and your brother through many lonely & sad days without you. You loved & were loved. Your gentleness touched many. Your contagious smile made a lasting impression on so many people. I am proud of your legacy…

    Son, I am so proud of you. I am proud & I am honored to be your Dad. I watched you work hard & I watched you live big. You were a gentle soul that loved life, that loved people. You always embraced life & lived it to the fullest & you are inspiring many to do the same. I think often & I long dearly for the day I will hear you say “Dad” again & the opportunity to hold you again…

    Until that day, Rest In Peace my son…

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  15. i wrote this the day before my dad’s celebration. apologies for the candor…

    Did you wake up knowing what you were supposed to do today? I did. Or so I thought. Last couple of days were good days. And that’s something to understand. Today was a bad day. Today was a good day. “they”, whoever the proverbial ‘they’ are, say to take it one day at a time. For me, it’s one moment at a time.
    After ‘it’ happens, you feel lost. You feel dazed. You feel utter disbelief. You want to crawl into a hole. And stay there. Grief sucks. Death is stupid.
    The last couple of years have been something. It, all of it, changed my perspective on, what else, life. How I deal with people. How I decide what to fight for and what to let go.
    It’s also a club that you never really are prepared for. This membership into this club isn’t something you choose. It chooses you.
    And of all the cliché things you hear after ‘it’ happens, understand it comes from a good place, well intended. But at the same time, you want to scream shut up, I didn’t misplace him, I didn’t ‘lose’ him. He died. My dad died. That’s the ‘it’ that happened.
    The tears well up as I write that. My new normal. My new reality. Without my dad. My moral compass. My conscience. The one person I always listened to. My dad.
    Grief quote: “Grief changes shape but it never ends.” How encouraging. And true. I’ve only begun my journey.
    His health wasn’t always the best. We knew he was living on borrowed time. That was something he admitted. But it seems his purpose was fulfilled, and he went peacefully.
    His major health issues started about 24 years ago. Started with a double bypass. Back then, you became a member of the zipper club. An incision down the chest revealed heart surgery. I remember being at the house and he said he needed to talk to us, us being my mother and brother, about blacking out while driving or feeling faint or chest pains. That’s when he finally decided to see a doctor and after checking for blockages, a bypass was in order.
    He recovered well from that. So well in fact, that he was about a week or 2 post op and he still wanted to go the gulf coast for our annual family beach trip. I remember he rode the whole way there clutching a pillow to his chest to ease the stress of the ride.
    Through the years, various health issues arise and we always dealt with them. His depression, his physical health. He always came through. He always rose above whatever was going on for the sake of his family. His purpose was still being accomplished.
    He was always there for me and my girls. Especially after their dad and I separated. He would always take rides and pass my house or friends houses and let me know what was going on during those late-night hours. But I always knew he was just passing by our house to make sure we were ok.
    Almost 2 weeks after ‘it’ happened, we prepared for his celebration of life. It was particularly rainy that week and I prayed the weather would hold out because he wanted his celebration of life at one of his favorite places – Fontainebleau state park. Regardless of the weather, we were having his celebration just the way he wanted. And I knew I would be inflexible on changing location.
    He loved the lake, the river. Before he could no longer drive, he would go to the lakefront just about every day to watch the sunsets, the people, the dogs, the kids. My oldest daughter went to a dancing school near the lakefront. My youngest daughter and I would drop her off then we would take an evening walk on the lakefront. I’d spot my dad sitting in his car reading the paper or napping. My youngest daughter and I would walk over and gently tap the window. We’d talk about the people he saw or what we did that day or just whatever.
    So this day, a couple of days before the celebration of life, was a good day. I had some work things to take care of. But the night before changed everything I had planned on getting done the next day. See, the night before the day before, we were cleaning out one of my dad’s cars. However, the emotional toll it had on us was too much. One thing you’ll notice when ‘it’ happens to you is that everyone grieves differently and there really isn’t a right or wrong way to grieve.
    But know this – it’s best to seek comfort from those who’ve experienced a parent’s death. Not to minimize anyone’s experience, but you don’t really get it unless you’ve been there. I don’t want to say ‘losing a parent’ because it’s not like you misplaced them. It’s not like you look for them like missing keys or a missing remote. ‘oh, gee where did I put my parent? Sofa cushions? The other purse?’
    This day before the celebration of life, after the night before, I was numb. I still had the errands in mind that I wanted to do but they faded from my mind. I couldn’t remember what I wanted to do.
    So I took the car to the car wash. I was on auto pilot. At this car wash, I don’t go to many, so I don’t know what the others are like, you used to be able to vacuum your car before the wash but that changed. So now it’s scrub off spots and dirt. Then go through car wash. Then turn around and vacuum. Mindlessly vacuuming up leaves, small scraps of paper and trash and somehow my thoughts turn to not wanting to discard anything and save everything.
    on my rear bumper near the trunk were 2 blue scrapes. Those blue scrapes came from my daughter’s luggage. Why was my daughter’s luggage in my trunk? My dad’s clothes were in the luggage.
    When we gathered some of his belongings, I grabbed my daughter’s luggage because it just didn’t seem right that it goes into boxes. Boxes seemed so impersonal. My dad doesn’t belong in a box. If you knew him, you’ll know that.
    Grief quote: There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief. I don’t know what the hell that means; all I know is that I think it’s a stupid quote.
    Last week, I finally gathered the muster to go through some of his belongings again. I don’t know why. To see if I overlooked anything? To make sure nothing of value was mixed in? I don’t know. Maybe a way of unknowingly say goodbye?
    I thought I had the muster. But I didn’t. as I started going through his t-shirts and shorts, it all came flooding back to me. The last few weeks of taking care of him almost around the clock. Making sure he took his medications. Making sure he ate. Making sure his bedding was clean. Making sure his bathroom was clean. Making sure he was ok. Making sure that when I left in the evenings, he would be ok until I returned the next morning.
    Suddenly, I couldn’t find the white t-shirt we put him in (before he tore it off in a morphine haze). I patted everything wondering ‘where’s the white shirt the white shirt the white shirt.’
    I needed to find the white t-shirt. Nervously I walked through the house muttering to myself ‘I need to find the white shirt. I need to find the white shirt.’ I don’t know why I was so fixated on the white shirt. Maybe it’s because that was the last shirt he wanted. Maybe it’s because that was the last shirt I put on him.
    I smelled his clothes and immediately thought ‘how cliché. This is what everyone does. Smells the damned shirt.’ But as I inhaled his scent, the tears flowed, and I just couldn’t understand how he could leave us. I told him it was ok to let go but I only said that for his sake. Not mine.
    I put everything back in the suitcases and put them by my car. By this point, I couldn’t deal with it and just sat and cried. That day was a bad day. I thought I was ready and I wasn’t. I thought this was going to be a good day. But it wasn’t. my daughter gets home from school and demands to know why the suitcases are outside. I was in no mood to deal with her or the situation. I don’t remember what I said but something like ‘I couldn’t get them in the car’. She’s such a thoughtful creature. She put the suitcases in my car for me.
    The weekend comes and goes. My family came over and we grilled burgers. We didn’t talk about ‘it’. Seemed we just needed to be together. My niece and I played. My mom and I talked. My sister in law and I talked. My brother was preoccupied with his thoughts and not really talking.
    Next morning, I go to church. I thought I was ready. We’re greeted at the door and condolences are said. I tried to be polite but all I really wanted to be was invisible. I walk toward the sanctuary and we’re greeted by our pastor. He grabs my hand and says ‘I’m so sorry. I’ve never been through this before, so I have no idea what it’s like but please know that we are praying for you.’ I said ‘thank you and I’ll use 2 of the 3 words to describe it. It. Sucks.’
    What I really wanted to scream was ‘it fucking sucks!!!!!!!’
    We left church as soon as we could, and I think we went home. I don’t remember. Some days are foggy days. Foggy days where you go through the motions. You don’t remember what you did. Or what you said or thought. Or how you are.
    The next day, I thought ‘I’m ready. I’m going to bring some of my dad’s clothes to a homeless shelter for men.’ I drove around Abita and finally found where I needed to go. I keep thinking to myself ‘it’s ok. You can do this.’ And I believed myself!
    I got out of the car. Knocked on a door of the church that seems to share space with the men’s homeless shelter. A lady who was maybe in her mid-60s to 70s, with a blonde bob, navy blue pants and a peach colored top answered the door. I explained to her that I wanted to donate some clothing to the men’s homeless shelter. She said ‘well, we really don’t have the room. You may want to bring them to the all saint’s shelter.’ At that moment I thought ‘oh my God, I don’t know if I can do that.’ The emotional control was slowly fading. I think the lady may have sensed something; either the look on my face when she told me I’d have to bring it elsewhere or my shifting body language. Then she said ‘you know what, let’s go look. There’s a closet that maybe you could put them in.’
    Thank God because at this point I know I won’t be able to go anywhere else to do this. Not today anyway. We walk over to the building. She holds the door open for me and points to a closet. I stare at it thinking ‘I can’t put my dad in a closet.’ then my thoughts shift to ‘get it together. You’re here. Drop off and go home. You can do this.’
    I go to the car and pop the trunk. I open the door to the backseat and grab one suitcase and a bag full of my dad’s shoes. I go to the trunk and pull out the big suitcase. That’s how the blue scrapes got on the bumper of my car. Then I see another bag that I didn’t realize was there. I open it and it’s empty but I just stare at it. Then I look at the suitcases and stare. The lady is still holding the door open.
    I apologize and try to hurry in because I can feel the emotions welling up. For the last month of my dad’s decline, really the last 2 years and after his diagnosis, I kept the emotions under control and out of sight of my dad so he wouldn’t see me upset. But this last week and a half, there was no controlling them.
    I bring the suitcases inside and place them by the closet. for a few seconds I stood there staring at them thinking ‘I can’t leave my dad here. I’m just leaving him here. I can’t leave him here.’ I knew he wasn’t in the suitcases or the bag but it was his clothes. His things. Things he wore. Things that were his. And I was leaving them behind. Leaving him behind.
    I ran out because by now the tears were there; in my eyes no longer beneath the surface. I just told myself ‘make it home make it home make it home and you’ll be ok.’ Another lie I told myself because when I got home, I made myself a drink. A really big drink. And just threw it down. For a whole week I had been a blubbering mess. I never experienced anything like this before. Never understood how deeply it shakes you. Never fully grasping how much of an impact my dad not being here affecting us – me and my brother.
    A couple of my closest friends called to see how I was and I just lost it. I’m screaming about how I left my dad at a homeless shelter, how much this fucking sucks, how am I going to get through this. My husband comes home to this emotional mess. Next thing I remember is waking up on the sofa. It’s dark outside. My daughter’s bath towel is on the floor by the sofa. My husband tells me I got up, dragged that out of the bathroom and went back to sleep.
    That was a bad day.
    So, I’m at the car wash wondering why I am here. What else did I need to get done. But I couldn’t remember.
    I’m scrubbing the blue scrapes off my bumper. Scrubbing leaf residue from the top of my car. Aimlessly walking around my car for anything else to scrub off before heading into the car wash.
    I can’t even remember the last time I washed my car, so I get the big daddy of car washes. The wax and shine and wheels and whatever else comes with it. Because well, I guess this is what people do when they experience such a profound event. I really don’t know; this is my first rodeo. And I don’t remember getting tickets…
    I always loved going through the car wash. The suds on the windows. The flaps washing the suds off. The smell of the soap.
    I exit the car wash and turn to go to the vacuums. Mindlessly vacuuming out my car. Just going through the motions.
    I get back in the car. I start it. I put it in reverse. I wonder where I am going next. What was I supposed to do today? What do I need to get for tomorrow? My dad’s celebration of life. I never ever imagined this, ‘it’ would happen to me.
    I see my pastor’s car at church. I want to tell him what it really feels like. How it’s surreal. It’s unreal. It’s fucking unbelievable and how it fucking sucks.
    Then I notice the weather. And I ask myself ‘what am I doing? there are lovebugs everywhere. It’s about to rain. why in the hell am I getting a damned car wash?! Wtf am I doing?”
    Damned lovebugs and rain are going to make the car wash pointless.
    I came home in tears still trying to remember what it was I needed to do today. I look around and nothing comes to mind.
    I see stuff around and know something must be done but I don’t what beyond that.
    See, before when I was taking care of my dad, I knew what had to be done. I knew what had to be done for him and I knew what I had to do for me, my daughters, my husband, my jobs, my home. I was a multi-tasker extraordinaire. Delegate was my middle name.
    Now I don’t know what I need to do or remember what my middle name is.
    When he was in treatment for the leukemia, I went with him to every appointment. I went with him to every doctor’s appointment. When the neuropathy in his legs worsened from one of the meds he was given to stimulate his appetite, I went with him to the neurologist, the primary care doc to see what could be done. But turns out, good old-fashioned physical therapy. The therapist gave him exercises to do which are just about exactly what I teach in my senior fitness classes. So I gave him a big stability ball to use and a resistance band. While he watched tv, I wanted him to use it for his legs. Put one heel on the ball and roll it back and forth. Then switch. I wanted him to use the resistance band for his upper body strength. I showed him exercises he could all while watching tv. But he’s the sorta fella that you must be there and gently encourage. Otherwise, he won’t do it. And he didn’t.
    You’re never ready for ‘it’. You expect ‘it’. But you’re never ready for it. Even though you know it’s coming, ‘it’ still slaps you in the face and rips your guts out.
    When my dad chose to stop treatment for his leukemia, it felt like the ground fell away from my feet. I remember thinking ‘oh my God, how much longer can he last?’.
    I remember spending his last birthday with him. I made every effort to spend the day and talk with him. I made every effort to shut the voice up in my head that was whispering ‘this is his last birthday. This is his last birthday.’ On the way home, I cried with that voice in my head. It was raining. As the drops hit my windshield, my tears fell. I wiped them away but they kept pouring out like the sky was pouring rain.
    We talked about the time when he was 13, 14 years old and ran away from home. He grew up on the outskirts of the French Quarter and would sneak there to see a local performer, Chris Owens. Now, here’s a thought…my dad would sneak into the French Quarter to see her perform. If my dad was that young, how old is she? She’s still performing!
    Anyway, my dad told me that he was arrested in Bogalusa for sleeping in a vehicle. And he said that when he got home, boy, was he in trouble! He said ‘I didn’t think they’d notice! There was 9 other kids to worry about!’
    My dad quit school and joined the Air Force. He got his GED and he also got a tattoo. A few days before ‘it’ happened, my brother and I were asking him about the tattoo on his right forearm. He said it was a heart with an arrow through it. I asked him about the blurred image on the heart. He said ‘It says 1956.’ I said ‘ha ok, what’s the significance of 1956?’ he said ‘that’s the year I quit school.’
    Ha, most people get tattoos to commemorate a graduation or a birthday…quitting school is what he commemorates.
    Grief. I read one quote: “grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking life.” How very true. Grieving the fact that he will never be around again to tell some crazy story or reminisce about the old days or talk about his cars or dogs or anything just fucking sucks. Catching those thoughts ‘when dad gets here…’ or ‘when I talk to my dad…’ because when could be awhile. I’ve been saving voice mails just so I can hear his voice. I want to hear his voice. Fighting back tears or giving into emotional breakdowns is the norm. that’s the new normal. That’s the new reality. And it fucking sucks.
    I tried my hardest not to grieve my dad before it was time. I guess these last 2 years I’ve been grieving at the thought of ‘it’. I’ve been grieving the thought of how my dad’s life changed. How he couldn’t eat the foods he loved. How he couldn’t walk as far. How he’d have to stop and rest for 10 minutes after walking from the driveway to the house. How he couldn’t help me fix things around the house. One time, I remember him telling me ‘I just can’t do it anymore Les. Is there someone you can call?’ That may have been when the reality of my dad getting older and not able to do things weighed on me.
    About six months after frequent hospital visits and stays, he, we, got the diagnosis. My brother brought him to the hospital because of another bout of shortness of breath, chest pains and sheer exhaustion. The doctor told him had he waited any longer…
    Not long after he was admitted, the doctor performed a bone marrow biopsy. A few days after the biopsy, we go the results. It was acute myeloid leukemia. It’s incurable but treatable and manageable. Is that a doctor’s way of saying ‘you’re fucked but enjoy what you got left and we’ll do what we can’?
    My brother and I were there with my dad. We were all stunned. We held back the tears. My dad asked me ‘why are you crying? I’m the one with this shit.” Yea, well, because I guess somewhere deep down, I knew what it meant. At the time, I guess I really didn’t want to acknowledge it and just put one foot in front of the other and go from there. Another fucking cliché.

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  16. I feel like you were writing my own thoughts. My mom died back in 2014 because of a car accident. It was so sudden. My dad had been taken from me 3months prior because of an a aneurysm. I can’t look at 2014 with fondness. I miss my mom every day. And what you wrote that you felt you had been robbed of memories I feel every day. I loved your article, you hit it right on the nail. Bless you, and I hope the pain eases for you also. It’s nice to know there are people out there that know exactly how I feel about losing my mom.

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