I’m not at the profound reflection stage of grief yet. I’m still in the early stages of shock and perhaps a bit of denial.
My dad died suddenly in December of heart failure and undiagnosed bowel perforation, and though I was with him, somehow, and am grateful I was there with him when he died, the flashbacks are overwhelming at times.
As anyone who has lost a parent knows or understands, so many pieces float through your mind; the good, the bad and the ugly.
Right now, I’m living in a cloud, a fog, a sadness that I’m not sure I’ll ever overcome, but I guess I will with time. Others who have lost parents tell me that time will help.
Coupled with that, my mom is in late-stage Alzheimer’s, and though she still knows me, her oldest daughter, the rest of her life is a foggy blur that she can’t navigate.
My parents both began life with horrible childhoods, and the end of their lives is awful too, and it devastates me, even when dad was still alive.
They had a rare love story and in finding so many love letters in the house, it breaks my heart even more.
They were perfectly suited for each other, bonded in their tragic beginnings and their passion for music. Dad wrote music that mom played on piano in concerts for decades. He’s a recognized Canadian composer. Mom was a beloved piano teacher. She’s not touched the keys in years. Dad was composing even the day before he died.
They lived for their summers in Maine in the cabin that dad built by hand. They were married not far from where they ultimately built their cabin. This last summer, they made the journey after several years of lockdown, and it sounded like a hellscape experience, but at least they got one last moment.
Mom still lives, but it’s a wretched life, and I had to put her in a home as I can’t manage the wandering and the incontinence plus, I live in a tiny studio apartment. We’ve not told her that her beloved husband has died as we are sure the shock would kill her. I think she knows on some level as the sadness when we visit not only emanates from us but from her as well. She doesn’t dare ask for him; I’m sure she thinks he abandoned her as she had greatly feared when Alzheimer’s began its grip on her. I want to tell her that he didn’t leave her, he never wanted to leave her, he couldn’t even face putting her in a home though she should have been in one a couple of years ago for both of their safety and peace of mind. But there’s no way to explain any of it as she’d be devastated only to forget a moment later…or would she? But why bring such pain to her when her life is so horrible right now. And it will be horrible until she dies too.
I can only hope that dad is with her somehow, to comfort her in her dreams. I hope they can ultimately be reunited with each other, their parents and dad’s brothers, dad’s beloved dog, Mixie, somewhere, somehow. I carry some of dad's ashes in my purse, especially when I visit mom in the hope he’s saying hello somehow. Magical thinking, yes, but it gets me through the day.
Yes, I’m a horror writer, and it’s in writing that I try to battle my demons. My father was one of my biggest fans and cheerleaders. And I’m beyond devastated that he left me so suddenly and completely with no chance to ease into the idea that he would be here no longer on this earth.
Rest in Power, daddy.
I need to write a better obituary at the funeral home, but I don't have the strength yet.
I need to organize a memorial service for my dad, but I can't face it yet, nor can my brother.
We need to find out what to do with hundreds of dad's music manuscripts, most written by hand. Does the University of Western Ontario Music Department want them for the archives? I don't know where to start, and every time I begin an email, I collapse into tears and can't do it.