I get it. We all will die one day. It’s not easy, but if a parent has a protracted illness, you have an opportunity to prepare yourself and come to terms with it prior to the event. But if the passing is sudden or accidental, the grieving process is complicated by the “what-if.”
November 6, 2013 didn’t end the way I thought it should. I was heading out to celebrate a friend’s birthday when my aunt called and said my dad was “sick” and to call my mom. He suffered a stroke 5 years prior, so my thought was he had another episode. I called my mom to see if I should head to the hospital. When I didn’t get an answer on the home or cell phone, I went straight to their house. Upon arrival, I see the medic’s truck parked outside, but the lights aren’t flashing. My assumption is they are inside completing an examination, but I was wrong. The medical examiner told me that my father was deceased. My emotions ran amuck.
My dad had good intentions that day – he planned to surprise my mom by moving a big back television from the 1st floor to the basement, jokingly proving he’s still Hercules and take all the credit. What he didn’t calculate was that his strength was not that of his 40 year old self. He slipped and fell in the foyer, losing control of the dolly he was using to transport the TV. The TV flipped over and landed on my dad’s head pinning him between a wall and the steps. He was home alone so if he cried for help, there was no one there to hear him. When my mom arrived later that evening, it was too late. My dad was gone. I was hurt because I didn’t get to say good-bye. What helped me through my grieving process were definitely the memories. Grief is a very individual and personal thing. The only right way to grieve is to do whatever you need to do at any given moment, and for me, reflecting on the memories is comforting. Thinking about my dad makes me smile. -T, 44
It’s hard to know what to do or say when she’s lost someone. Let her know you’re thinking about her.