Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I've learned ....

During the time after my father passed, I told my sister I could write a book on what NOT to say to someone who's parent has died. Thing is, I've been guilty of saying everything I heard, but when you hear it 1567 times, it just gets ... well, old.

- He's in a better place (yes, I know)
- He's not suffering anymore (yes, I know)
- Well, he's fought it for so long - you had so much time to prepare (yes ... but you are still NEVER prepared).

Our situation was so very different. Dad was given 8 weeks and he died 5 days later. Quite honestly, it was a very difficult death - the 2 days he was in hospice. His body was so used to fighting that it didn't know how NOT to fight. Seeing your Daddy, the man who would do anything for you, protect you, fight for you, encourage you, and love you -- seeing that man weighing 120something lbs (less than me and he was 6ft tall) and like clockwork, every 15 minutes, sit up and beg for help. It was heart wrenching and I honestly pray you never have to see your parent go through that and for those of you that have, I hate that we are part of that 'club'. I could go the REST of my life never seeing that again and I would give anything to erase that memory from my head, but that's life and it is what it is and it's changed me. I'm more tolerant, I guess.

I never really took things for granted, but now, if something is important to me, I make it a priority. For instance, I had a friend in town from Lousiana. The ONLY time we could get together was for breakfast on a day that I didn't have to be at work until 11:00. I got up at 5:30 in the morning and drove to meet her for breakfast because I love her and haven't seen her in 13 yrs. I don't know when I will see her again and it was important to me to see her, so it was WORTH it. We had a wonderful time and I was so thankful to be able to spend a few hours with her.

Another thing I learned is you will be SHOCKED who will be there for you and who will not be there for you. People that I would never have expected to do anything for me were doing more than I ever imagined .... and well, you know the rest. It's ok - people are busy. I get it.

I also learned that it's ok to LAUGH! OH MY GOODNESS, my brother, sister and I have bonded so incredibly more over this whole thing. When Dad was in the hospice, we made a pact "All for One, One for All" -- and if one went to Wendy's, we all went. The 3 of us didn't leave each other's side for nearly 4 days. It is something beautiful that has come out of something so devastating -- we were close before, but now we are just so. close. I can't explain it.

Now is the quiet. It's been a little over 8 weeks and last week was probably the worst so far. I miss my Dad. A lot. I was driving home Sat night and saw a shooting star and I said out loud "HEY DAD!" -- corny, I know, but I immediately thought of him.

Please don't think this post is sad -- it's really not. I'm not sad about my Dad's death. I'm sad he's gone, but I know he was in SO much pain, every day was difficult for him. I'm sad about the way he died and although I wish for just one more day with him, I wouldn't have him back for nothing -- to live another day in pain and suffering. On Easter Sunday, I celebrated knowing I would see my Dad again -- I know I have that promise.

You've made it this far and I appreciate you hanging in there! I promise not all my blog posts will be like this - actually I don't plan on blogging on my Dad's death again (for a while at least). I've got SO much to talk about, blog about, etc etc etc. Thanks for hanging in there with me!


Sarah said...

Perfectly said! Love the shooting star!

Puttin' On The GRITS said...

I love you and I miss you. You are such an incredibly strong, admirable person and I look up to you so much. I just want you to know that.

Shawn said...

You have handled this entire situation with such strength and grace, you are my hero!

I love you!

Now go enable your pop-up comment window...please

amy (metz) walker said...

This post breaks my heart...I'm so sorry you had to go through this.

People DEFINITELY need to learn the art of just saying a simple "I'm sorry" in the face of another's suffering.

lauralou said...

Thank you for sharing, this is absolutely beautiful.

Shasta Anne said...

This was such a great post sweet friend.

Love you and I am so glad that you are blogging again!



Classy Fab Sarah said...

You said SO much so perfectly here. I felt the same way about a lot of things when my mom died.

And I 10000% agree with you about one thing - you're never prepared, no matter how much time you have to prepare. There's no such thing.

Blue-Eyed Bride said...

This is such a great, honest, heartfelt post. I love the wisdom that you're willing to share and think you are so strong and brave. Continuing to pray for your whole family during this loss. Just because time passes I can't imagine you miss your daddy any less every day. Lots of love, Natalie!

Jennifer said...

I can totally identify. One is NEVER prepared for a loved one to die. People and they're crazy comments/questions literally drive me insane. I prefer people to just simply say, "I'm praying for you", and then actually do it. I lost my brother tragically almost two years ago, and a co-worker actually had the guts to tell me that eventually I'll "get over" the pain and I'll forget. I'll NEVER forget, and you NEVER get over the pain of losing someone. It's a long journey and each day something always reminds me of my brother. I'm following your blog now. I've had a really hard time lately as well. Next month marks the two year anniversary. =( I'm praying for you!!! I admire your strength.

Erin Grace said...

I can relate to this post. Thank you for sharing.

Lauren said...

This was beautiful and just love your heart Natalie!!!!

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