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Grief and Loss: What I’ve Learned

I am grieving. Like so many people, I am grieving. My parents passed away within nine months of each other just over a year ago from health issues. I am still struggling. I’m not sure it is ever easy to be without parents. To have someone help guide you through life. I may be 40 but I still struggle making decisions without my parents. I miss sharing my daily life with them. I miss their laugh and their smell and the way they loved life. I hope my experience with grief and loss can help you through yours.

Grief and Loss - what I've learned after losing both of my parents

Grieving the Loss of My Parents Before 40

I found it so helpful to write about what was happening, and I still do. I like having an outlet for my emotions and thoughts. I have come to appreciate my life and my family with such fervor because I know what it’s like to have someone literally slip through your fingers. I watched both of my parents pass in front of my eyes, while I was holding them, telling them it was okay.

It was absolutely NOT okay, but they needed to hear that. My mom’s brain tumor had snaked its way into her verbal and ocular sections of her brain at the end, so she barely opened her eyes and could not speak at the end. She was silent but I knew she was in there. I remember sitting with her and holding her hand and telling her stories about the kids. It’s the only thing I could do. I knew she could hear me. I will always regret not doing more for her but I really didn’t understand what was going on inside and at the nursing home they were more focused on making her comfortable than diagnosing her current state.

My parents were so in love

I remember that last day. I arrived at the nursing home around 7:00 in the morning to find out she had a fever and the nurses had increased her morphine. My mom had not wanted any morphine up until that weekend and she had a glioblastoma brain tumor! She always was a warrior with a crazy high threshold for pain. So I knew that it wasn’t good that she was nodding her head to the nurses questions about morphine.

My sister-in-law and I were there with her all morning. We knew it was bad. We took turns holding my mom’s hand and telling her my dad would be okay and that her grandchildren would be okay and she needed to finally let go of the pain. Finally, she opened her eyes so wide like she hadn’t in months, seeming to actually look past us, and smiled her “This sucks I can’t believe this is happening I feel so bad for my family” smile. She always thought more about others than herself.

Then she passed.

I was literally hugging her when she passed away. I feel blessed that I was able to be with her during that momentous life event of my mother’s life. I know she waited until she had seen all of her family and friends. That weekend she was surrounded by family and friends. I think she must have felt safe and secure and able to slip away knowing that her loved ones were with her.

for the rest of my life I will search for moments full of you

My dad tried to go on without her. He visited my house almost every week. I took my kids to his house every other weekend. But when my mom’s birthday and my dad’s birthday rolled around one week apart, he kind of lost it. We all went for brunch at my parents favorite restaurant and afterward, my dad sat in my car vomiting. The emotions of it all were just too much for him.

After that, it was like he was struggling to keep his head above water. But my birthday arrived a few weeks later and he could barely recognize it. After that it was mother’s day and I couldn’t bear to go anywhere, it was just too hard for me, but I think he really needed company then but couldn’t bring himself to ask for it.

The next time I saw him there was a physical change in his health and I knew it wasn’t good. When he finally agreed to go see the doctor – if I took him – he never left. As soon as his test results came back, they admitted him to the hospital right away and he was never released until he refused dialysis and went home with hospice.

My parents were so in love

My dad was only home for 12 hours when he passed away with my brother, my dad’s sister and me by his side. He was so irritable and jittery that last night. My dad was always a loud person and that night his eyes were closed but he talked the whole night very loudly. None of it was coherent, except at one time during the night he said totally clearly, “How do I get up there?” Then he went back to incoherent babbling.

My dad just couldn’t bear to be on this earth without my mom. He loved her so very much he couldn’t fight to stay with us. In the end, we held his hand and reassured him what an amazing dad he was and how much we loved him and that it was okay to be with mom. It was what he wanted.

“Grief can deplete you to such an extent that the slightest tasks become monumental, and what previously was easily achievable now may seem insurmountable,” says Therese Rando, Ph.D

My heart hurts like nothing I can ever completely describe and only those who have lost someone so close to them really knows that pain. I do not wish it on anyone. It is suffocating and debilitating. It’s like a weight that sits on my chest and keeps me from moving. It makes me angry at the loss of control and the thought of eating feels like the least important thing in my life. The helplessness I feel causes me to forget things in my kids’ lives. It makes me overall forgetful and very, very tired.

Grieving sucks. It never ends and I will never feel better. I think what happens is one just gets used to this feeling and it becomes their new normal.

Over the last few years, I have written quite a few posts about grief and loss.

When Grief Gets Complicated
Grieving is always complicated, never easy and tidy. But sometimes there are factors that can make your grief more complicated. In my case, complicated grief is a result of the extended length of time of loss and grieving and the relationships of those losses

Grief and Holidays
Do you find it hard to enjoy the holidays when you feel so much sadness in your heart? When You Combine Grief and Holidays there is always a disconnect. They just don’t seem to go together. I am grieving my parents and during the holidays I miss them the most. But there are ways to honor your loved ones who have passed during the holidays.

grief and loss during the holidays

Standing Up to Grief
Grief has moved in and I feel like she will never leave. She wasn’t bothering me for awhile but I knew it was just a matter of time. I was just numb against her and couldn’t feel the pain.

Books to Read: I Miss You
When my mother was sick last year with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor, it was easy to explain to my kids, who were all under 7 years old at the time, that Nana had a boo boo on her head and was sick. Then she passed away and it was really hard to explain what happened. I’ve been looking for books to read to my kids for months now to help them understand what happened to Nana.

Why I Hate Mother’s Day
Ok, I don’t HATE Mother’s Day, but I am consciously avoiding it. Aside from my kids making me gifts, I am blocking it out. This first year without my mother is going to be the hardest thing aside from actually losing her to begin with.

Natural Remedies for Anxiety
I love using natural ways to help me get through hard times. Natural Home Remedies have become my go-to solution anxiety and stress.

Being Happy After a Loved One Passes Away
I have been so sad for such a long time. I miss my parents so much and there is a hole in my heart that will never heal because of their passing. I feel guilty being happy but I know that’s what they would want. They enjoyed their family more than anything in this world and that’s what I need to continue doing.

Dealing with Grief Quotes
Grief quotes are a form of self care that have the ability to inspire and encourage us to overcome pain and sorrow. Here are some of the best dealing with grief quotes to help you feel stronger after your loved one has passed on.

10 Inspirational Grieving Quotes to Comfort You
Losing someone you love is the hardest thing you will ever experience. Here are 10 Inspirational Grieving Quotes to Comfort You that will inspire you to overcome sorrow and live life positively again.

20 Grief Quotes for Coping with Great Loss
Grief quotes can help us put our own thoughts and feelings into perspective. When you are grieving, it can be hard to see or think straight.

Moving On After Grief
It’s happening. I can feel it. I am moving on with my life and leaving my grief behind. Has this happened to you before? I pray that you have not felt deep grief but if you have, do you know this stage? It is so bittersweet and very confusing. It feels good to feel happiness again but I feel so much guilt for moving on. It seems like while leaving my grief behind I also am leaving my parents behind.

Grief never ends...But it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith... It is the price of love.

self care for grief and loss