Death, and Grief.

So I lost my Dad in April, after a slow, steady decline in mobility, breathing, etc. Unfortunately, his life at the end sucked. Hospital stays, plans for stents, rehab to get stronger to get the stents. He never made it past that stage. I hate that my final memories of him are in that rehab, robbed of all dignity, being changed by nurses, slouched in a hospital bed. A week after my visit, and coincidentally, the day he was supposed to come home, I got the call from my sister. Days later, the whole event transpired. Funeral home, open casket (ugh), grief. My mom and my sisters needed the whole process, I thought. But not me.

About 10 days later, our friend passed from cancer. We knew it was coming. My wife and I saw him the day before. Wheelchair bound, skeletal, but at home and in…decent spirits. We were on his porch and we could see the hole on his property where he would eventually end up. Next day, I got the call. I had to assemble the predetermined burial team. BUT…I was also needed to move him from his recliner into the room where Hospice would clean and prepare the body. So I went and helped. I saw my dead friend. Eyes open, mouth agape. And I helped him. And then a few hours later, our friends gathered, hugged, and moved him to his resting place. All legal, by the way. Different process than my Dad, but a good one. Folks needed it. But not me.

And I’ve been fine. And then today, I lost it. I had to call my Mom and tell her that I couldn’t make the drive for Mother’s Day because of this shitty weather. And that did it. Niagara Falls, Frankie Angel. I was a wreck. And she consoled me. Told me how she dealt with sudden grief. And I was glad to hear it.

Grief is a motherfucker. It sneaks up on you when you’re feeding your cat or taking a shower. I’m glad I’ve finally felt it “for real” because I’ve got a greater respect and I feel more empathy for people who have to deal with loss.

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

EDIT: I wanted to add thanks for kind words and also to add that folks should feel free to add their own experiences, anecdotes, fucked up death or near-death experiences, and methods for dealing with all of the above. Sadness need not necessarily apply.

Thanks for sharing. I wish I could do more than just read it.

We all deal with grief and loss in our own way. May you have the support around you as you deal with yours. Take care, and my condolences.

I went through something similar with my Dad. It felt so unfair to see someone who took such good care of himself and was a such a good person in such pain and with such difficulty with every breath. Glad to hear you’re such a good friend and son, even though doing that is so very hard. If you’d ever need a friend to talk to I’d be happy to offer my number.

The death of a friend or loved one is never easy. There is no ryme or reason as to why/when people pass. Just know that everyone shares in your grief, and that life does go on. Time may not heal all wounds but it does help.

Death of a close friend or loved one is a terrible shock even if it’s not a surprise. It’s like an emotional blast wave from a visible explosion - you can see it coming but the impact still hits like a truck. And that’s true even if you don’t feel the pain all at once - the impact is still there, deep down.

However, time will lessen the effect and just going through life will eventuallly get you feeling alive again.

On that note, let me link to what I feel is Tom’s finest work:

My condolences to you and your family. And thank you for sharing with us. I sometimes wish I lived in a culture where it is acceptable to wail and shout at the heavens (so to speak). I imagine it would be very cathartic. I just closed off and mostly endured it alone. We are all different.

My condolences, and thanks for sharing that. I’m sure there are people here who need to hear this. But not me*.

* Just kidding. I need it too. We all do. Thank you.

Sorry to hear this, life definitely dealt you a double whammy in short order there. So the grief is not a surprise. Hang in there, like others have said the passing of time will help.

Very sorry to read of the loss of both your father and your friend. You and I have similar coping mechanisms. And by that I mean we don’t really deal with it. We don’t feel it initially. It’s a long and slow release of feelings, like a timed release capsule.

I was dating my wife not but a few years ago and her father passed away. We were remote, he was several thousand miles away and she had no idea he was even sick until her step brother called her and put her dad on a video call with us. It was heartbreaking to watch and hear him, he passed from lung cancer not two days later. The night that happened we sat in the house and played old songs her dad loved, anything for her to slowly release her feelings. And I absolutely bawled. Just the recurrence of the feelings of my fathers passing, even though it was 11 years prior. My spouse even asked if I was okay, I just couldn’t bring words to talk about it.

We bottle up those feelings. It’s okay to release them more often. Thank god for me getting older and being able to do that. I miss my dad all the time. I may not think of him every day but when it do, I -still- also feel myself holding back those sad thoughts sometimes.

Grief is hard. Nobody teaches us how to deal with it.

I don’t think anyone can teach that. It’s something we need to learn, but not something that can be taught, and that’s why it can be so difficult.

It’s complicated also by the fact that we don’t really talk about grief and pain. Partly for obvious reasons, I mean who wants to talk about that stuff? But also because it’s so personal to us. I don’t remember where I heard or read this, but one of life’s biggest lessons is teaching us how to let go. Of everything, because we only have these things for a limited amount of time, and then it’s gone. That’s hard to think about, let alone talk about.

Hey @138 you haven’t posted since your pretty eloquent OP. How are you doing? Thanks for starting this thread.

I think part of your story that is particularly difficult is that you had to move your friend’s body. I can’t imagine. That adds to the level of pain that the other friends, who gathered later, obviously did not share. They were, thankfully, spared that. But you were not. Allow yourself extra space when you can’t be as strong as others because of that particular part of this tremendously difficult experience.

@138 That’s a painful, profound experience, and I’m grateful you consider us worthy to share it with.

Oh, I’m doing OK. Every now and then I’ll have a sad moment thinking, “Man, I wish I could tell Dad about this.” Usually stupid shit, like the weather, but that’s the kind of stuff he’d always ask me about when we’d speak on the phone. And not just B.S. small talk, the dude liked to talk about weather. I think he was always mystified by the bizarre land of Appalachia that I moved to, instead of staying with the fam in NJ. I was suddenly able to get the weather 24 hours before he did!

But speaking of small talk, I did have a moment thinking back to when I visited him in his rehab and I couldn’t think of anything to talk about so I was asking dumb questions about his ride from Mt Sinai in NYC to his rehab in NJ. It sucks that that was one of our last conversations. That thought occurred to me the other day while I was in my kitchen doing some random thing like putting dishes away. And it took me a few minutes to recover. Even typing it out now has me weepy. Grief is a motherfucker. I should trademark that.

As for Side 2 of my Death LP, that’s more manageable…for me, at least. My friend’s wife is having a tough time, obviously. We haven’t really had the opportunity to go and visit simply because his family has been coming and going, so my wife and I have been texting and helping her to cope. We’re having a celebration in August for him with a bunch of our musician friends (he was a musician as well), and THAT will be tough. But sad, drunk musicians will get drunker and play louder, so there’s that.

Thanks for asking. It’s cathartic to type this shit out.

Thanks for the update. We’re here to listen.

Grief and I are old pals. My father and my son died within six months of one another, eleven years ago. Grief and I are still drinking buddies.

Oh my. I’m so sorry to see this.

So sorry to hear that, Tyler.

Tyler. . . man, there are no words for that. It’s heartbreaking to hear it.

Thanks guys. I don’t want to derail the thread with my tale, but I suppose it is on-topic, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about grief in the past decade.

Our son died at age 7 after a 5-year battle with a metabolic disease. So his memory is firmly intertwined with grief – not just his passing, but his illness. Grief over all the things of which he was robbed.

Of course, there is a societal expectation to move on from grief. It is an expectation that I decided to reject. The reason is simple: his memory is inextricably tied to grief, it is part of his story. So to ‘move on’ from it is to move on from Aaron, and I have no intention of doing that.

That’s why grief and I are old pals. He hangs out with me every day, and I don’t want him to go away, even as I keeping working at finding contentment with what this world can offer.