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Grief and Loss, the Path Well Worn

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Unread 01-24-2013, 01:57 AM   #1
Mark56
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Heart Grief and Loss, the Path Well Worn

The human condition is well fashioned from personal perceptions brimming with grief and loss. I remember from my youth seeing my Grandpa, or at least his body, lying in a coffin on the evening of the visitation after we had torn across country in the Chevy to be with my mother's very large farming family. How could he be dead? I love him!!!!! I cried so many tears, so many tears.....

A childhood introduction to grief and loss up close and personal is a stark beginning to this episode of existence we refer to as life. Wondering how could he be gone, where did he go, what about Grandma, will I wind up there soon, and is it awful lying in a coffin thus- are questions which ran on a loop through my infantile cerebrum as clear liquid, salty, and which made my eyes burn, pour profusely down my cheeks. I felt ALL ALONE that night, all alone, in a room overfilled with people as my Grandpa lay silently just there. Not out of reach at all. And hadn't it only been a few months ago he had visited us in Colorado and he and I gathered blue bells to hold for a photo op while our alternate hands held large and very COLD snow balls. Tht photo is etched into the album of my mind, always ready to replay at a momentary command. My Grandpa.

Not long in life terms later..... maybe seven years or so, my absolute favorite cousin passed from a car wreck on I-70 driving his favorite Chevy Belair. His speed was high, so I am told. The results produced a closed casket affair. Me? Well, I was not allowed to attend, because my mom wanted the time to be with her sisters, and since I was a boy.... well, it did not suit for me to have been so shaken up. Not a manly thing, that. Grief. Chapter Two.

Three more grandparents in a row passed through the years, and as I attained greater age, wealth, and maturity I could take hold of the reins and attend to situations confering love and blessing on those who had loved me BEFORE they passed.... you know, being aware of their enfeebling health in advance of that long awaited appointment with mortality. I could leave on a jet plane and very quickly be at their side sharing my love of them. This I did, wanting each to know of their impact on my life and the joy I gained from their presence..... in doing this, I seemed to gain overwhelming peace as the moments of their passing came, then blew into the detritus of history as leaves along a deserted country road. So glad I took time for those very special people IN ADVANCE.

Almost two years ago now.... though there had been a good many more passings in between, our first grandchild, a little girl- Lilly her given name- passed through our lives as a lit match, especially the paper kind, rushes on toward its terminal extinguishment. She had developed with an awful genetic mishap in formation; one of those, who would have guessed kind of happenings. She came stillborn. I bawled as my insides melted then poured out not unlike the sorrow I had felt as a child when Grandpa, my flower gathering friend, passed. Lilly was here, but not here, we held her fleetingly so the sterility of hospital protocol might rapidly thereafter sweep in to whisk away remains..... simple that, the word remains. A little life prepares us for unparalleled joy, is swept away, and there are merely REMAINS where only a couple of weeks before we had known there was a kicking baby, felt still in mama's tummy. Sorrow without end in sight, the supply seemingly "tacky restaurant" style unlimited refills. The well of sorrows was creating a flood.

Far more recently, I learn last night with my family my Dad has untreatable inoperable cancer. Were he physically healthier we might be thinking in terms of treatment. Not so here.

Dad has that Alzheimers bug. You know the one.... many fear it so badly, they shun families affected by it for fear, seemingly, of contracting a non-infectious disease. Shunning. Shame. The really good stuff of which our society which comes together to spend millions following a popular cause or political gnat turns on a dime to pour separation, shame, indignance, and yes shunning upon folks who bear the calamity of something as insidious as Alzheimers.

Grief. Loss. I definitely felt Grief and Loss when, three years ago, Dad no longer remember I existed. For me, THAT was the day he died. In the meantime, the operating shell of his body continued to perk along. Sure, there were the haltingly embarassing moments of Dad coming outside to see family members off after a visit. He was attired in one of Mom's dresses. Seems he thought it was his bathrobe........ recently equipped with a back zipper. And, he who was a smart fellow engineering wise now polices the lawn of the family home for fallen leaves. It sounds pretty good, except upon realization he putters about the lawn with trashbag in hand picking ONE LEAF at a time from the grass to place it gently into the bag. This is not the person who was my Dad.

Cancer. Used to be that was feared more than Alzheimers. Not so now. Stir them up in the same body, and a rapidly terminal situation is at hand.

Last night, after learning of Dad's terminal illness on top of his terminal illness I sat and remain totally numb. The man I knew as Dad passed mentally three years ago. His body lingers. Lingering will now be accelerated to a finish line. I did not feel like crying. I worked through much grief and loss when Dad mentally died.

Now we wait.

Time will reveal the toll the blended diseases will exact upon my Dad. Will I cry? Are my tears all spent from grieving his loss years earlier? That broke my heart. This, I see as a release of Dad finally from the prison of mental morbidity in which he has been trapped these many years. A blessing as it were.

This road of grief and loss is now far too familiar. The losses have been far more numerous than detailed in this post. The road is one I do not like so much and it has potholes, cracked pavement, and the bridges are not so nice anymore. Familiarity is breeding a sense of discontent not complacence. I hope heaven will bring far more joy to Dad than these most recent of years.

Gonna pull the "car" over to the side of this road just now, I am tired, rest needed. Think I will just turn the key off for a while and sleep.

Grief and Loss consume my strength.
Even so, I am blessed,
mark56
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Unread 01-26-2013, 01:01 AM   #2
ger715
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Mark,
I understand your sadness dealing with the loss of the person you once knew, as well as the dad who once knew you as well.

As you know, I was operated for rectal cancer (a 2inch tumor at the top of rectum) Kemo and Radiation was suggested by the surgeon. Because he at least wanted me to make an informed decision, I did see the two doctors. I have declined to have additional treatment. I have not been told I am terminal; but as the surgeon has said; some of cancerous cells which cannot be seen at this time may be there.

It's hard to explain; but with the terrible pain of the nerve damage, spine fusion, PN, the news I had cancer was almost a relief. I never shed a tear. My children said they understood my decision to decline treatment. My son said he felt he may be a bit selfish; but wished I would reconsider. My son also mentioned shortly after I came home from the hospital how much I had changed and seemed actually calmer and if possible, happier.

The end phase of the Alzeheimers possibly would be much worse than his passing sooner because of terminal cancer.

Special intentions in prayer are offered, during this difficult time, for you and your family.


Gerry
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Unread 01-26-2013, 07:57 AM   #3
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Heart Thank you Gerry

I do so appreciate your special thoughts and reply. When you let go and let God, an overwhelming peace like a river can envelop you. I feel it from my perspective. I have not cried about Dad. Even yesterday, I phoned the house and he answered the phone. He was his Alzheimers happy self, not a clue, and though he knew me not and wondered who Mark was, he was willing to reciprocate my offering of love for him.

Bittersweet, that, for in his younger days, he could not easily reciprocate love, telling me it was a left over from his upbringing and his ethnicity. Huh. Love is what makes ALL of this plain of existence tolerable. Agape. A wonderful word, a beautiful emotion.

That you and your family are understanding the reality of celebrating your life with peace restored is quite a blessing. I, too, have that feeling within.

I grieved and cried of my loss of Dad when he no longer knew me, a death in a way.

Looking forward to the reward which follows this life,
Hoping to make the acquaintance of our deceased granddaughter,
sort of like the Great Divorce, what a read,
Agape,
Mark56
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Unread 02-01-2013, 09:31 PM   #4
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Mark,

Like you; so look forward to what Jesus', thru His Father, promised.
But; we have work yet to do. In the meantime, waiting for His call.

Gerry
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Unread 02-02-2013, 03:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ger715 View Post
Mark,

Like you; so look forward to what Jesus', thru His Father, promised.
But; we have work yet to do. In the meantime, waiting for His call.

Gerry
Beautifully said Gerry
m
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Unread 04-16-2013, 02:53 PM   #6
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I've recently come to terms with the fact that my husband of 20 years has always had effects from an old TBI. It has been a frustrating marriage! I feel like I wasted my life. When I think about leaving I feel so much grief but I don't know what else to do because it's not a happy situation. We didn't have children and we are kind of isolated because all he wants to do is go to work-which I'm grateful he can still do. Please don't tell me to take care of myself or join clubs. Been there..done that. I am talking about the searing grief of being 56 and feeling alone and wondering if it's too late to have a good life. Can't really make a move until grief is a little better under control, you know, not so overwhelming.
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Unread 04-17-2013, 01:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by takinxanax View Post
I've recently come to terms with the fact that my husband of 20 years has always had effects from an old TBI. It has been a frustrating marriage! I feel like I wasted my life. When I think about leaving I feel so much grief but I don't know what else to do because it's not a happy situation. We didn't have children and we are kind of isolated because all he wants to do is go to work-which I'm grateful he can still do. Please don't tell me to take care of myself or join clubs. Been there..done that. I am talking about the searing grief of being 56 and feeling alone and wondering if it's too late to have a good life. Can't really make a move until grief is a little better under control, you know, not so overwhelming.
No I dont think its too late to have a good life. I read what you been thru and knowing your life isnt going to change until you decide to make the move. My guess is another factor is your concern is who will now take care of him? I admire you for all the things you have done but I know what its like to feel suffocated when your with someone you love --but your not in love with anymore. Its very difficult. I know for me it came down to is its never going to change and if I want it too --I would have to be the one to leave. I wish you all the best!!
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Unread 04-18-2013, 06:43 AM   #8
takinxanax
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To MG
Would like to hear more from you! I think I know what you're saying but my head and heart are not in sync. That is exactly what my mother said too-who is going to take care of him? I keep trying to come up with a creative solution. Also, I feel like I will be blamed. He is a nice person, but this is NO marriage!
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Unread 04-18-2013, 11:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takinxanax View Post
To MG
Would like to hear more from you! I think I know what you're saying but my head and heart are not in sync. That is exactly what my mother said too-who is going to take care of him? I keep trying to come up with a creative solution. Also, I feel like I will be blamed. He is a nice person, but this is NO marriage!

Hi Tak,

Your heart and head not being in sync is totally normal not sure how they could be --you been in a 20yr marriage. Your right you will prob be blamed-- if you decided to leave-- every family needs a scapegoat!! The only part of that-- you can control is --your part. Maybe by sitting them down and explaining to them what your life has been like--- and how long you been suffering. Not sure if he has a brother or sister to help look out for him? I get what your saying about the age thing too--- but didint you hear 50's is the new 30's... LOL. Im in your age bracket so I get that too being part of the equation in your mind. If your in love with your friend (not sure) it makes thing even harder on you-- on a daily basis-- because you may be torn on a new life as well as your old life. Does your husband know your this unhappy?
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Unread 04-18-2013, 12:48 PM   #10
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MG, I've told husband how I feel but he doesn't seem to "get" feelings very much. Since his neuro diagnosis I'm hanging back and observing him closely so I really get an unbiased, non-judgemental assessment of him and that will help me make a decision. I just kind of let him do his own thing and think of him as a roommate or child. I do believe I am in love with my new friend. Known him all my life and kind of a crazy coincidence how we reconnected. Thanks for the heads up on being scapegoated. I did talk to his one and only brother 70 miles away. To tell you the truth I don't think anyone in his family has much to offer. Eventually he is going to have to let me know what he wants to do too. Keep writing if you want its very helpful!! Thank you.
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