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The Wrong Parent Died

Grief is a strange thing.

One minute it just takes hold of you and shakes you and the next minute it let’s you go and soothes you with a memory.

That’s been my experience the past four weeks since my dad passed.

Although I was SO at peace with his passing, I have been tremendously sad. Each day, however, the “grief quotient”, heretofore known as GQ, goes down a few percentage points and is replaced by the “Memory Quotient.” or MQ.

It will happen at the most bizarre times. I’ll start talking to a stranger in the market or on the subway (don’t try this at home), and I’ll realize that the ability to talk to anyone–and therefore my success in sales–comes from that same ability my dad had.

Score a few points for the MQ.

The day he died, my flight landed at 9 a.m. I was exhausted and stopped at Starbucks on the way to pick up my mom to bring her to hospice to visit him. As I was getting her in the car at 10:30 the call came from my sister that he’d passed. The hardest 20 minutes of my life followed, as I decided that I couldn’t tell her and then drive her to hospice. So I waited until we pulled up to the hospice before sharing the expected, yet unexpected news. My heart was in my moujth for the entire time.

My sister had decided to take that day off and was with him when he passed. A true gift. The shared some thoughts and words as he hovered between life and the beyond. She needed that closure more than I did, and I’m glad she got it, and that he wasn’t alone.

Yet, deep within me, I say to myself: “You shoudn’t have stopped at Starbucks.”

Silly.

I said everythign I needed to, and was there along the way.

Would I have said anything differently in those final moments?

When my dad turned 80, I compiled 80 years of pictures into a great video with music. We showed that video at his service. I haven’t been able to watch it since, and need to.

I did the service myself with the help of a dear, dear friend who handled the Hebrew portions. He has been part of my respite squad, now turned shiva squad. In addition to my husband, I couldn’t have done any of this without him and his partner.

The service was a celebreation, exactly what my dad wanted. People laughed, they had great memories. I’ll post it in a future post.

The best thing I could have done after 10 days in Florida was get back to work; and I have with a vengenance. I’ll be travelling for half of the next 75 days, and I relish it. Another trip to Florida is included in that. I will not let my mom be one of those widows who doesn’t get rid of anything. Off to the VA it goes after the month of mourning is up.

I’ve spent my evenings doing paperwork–my final caretaking act for Dad. Social Security, Pension, Insurance, etc. It’s never ending. The goal, however, was to get it finished before I start my travels–and I have, while at the same time getting our own refinancing paperwork in. I’m thankful to be busy.

I’m also cnoscious of being sad, and letting myself feel that. As awful as it is for me, it is part of life. For my mom, the realization has hit that she’s never going to see him again.

I have spoken to her every day since Dad passed, and I need to break that pattern. As my husband says: “Now that you have 50 percent of the parents, that should result in at least 1/3 less work.

If only that were the case.

Growing up with a mom that was a Type 1 diabetic, there was never any question that my dad would survive my mom. I think I’ve mentioneed that before.

Well life throws us curves.

He got screwed.

As sad as my dad would have been outliving my mom, I do believe he would have thrived–not something I can say about my mom. She’ll be OK, but the sadness will pervade. If roles were reversed, the brisket brigade would have been at his door.

Dad’s motto was “Good times, Good Memories–move on.”

I can’t help but think–and sometimes the guilt gets to me–that the wrong parent died.

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~ by Butch on April 18, 2013.

3 Responses to “The Wrong Parent Died”

  1. Your caregiving job continues and even with one parent’s passing, the “job” really isn’t cut in half. The grief can be startling in its lack of respect for where it rears its fiery emotions. On the phone with someone? Looking out the window on the subway or bus? In an aisle of a grocery store with a full cart of groceries? Grief is that way – it comes when it comes – and we don’t stifle it, we express it, in any way that is appropriate for any given moment.

    I’m sorry for your loss. It’s horrible losing a daddy. My dad has been resting in peace since October 13, 2007, at approximately 12:21 a.m.

  2. Thanks for sharing your truly personal story. I thought a lot of my parents while reading it. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  3. My ex died at the weekend. We had 4 children, the oldest of which is now 50yrs. We split 29 yrs ago, with my leaving the family home, taking the children with me. My ex was a mean person, as in frugal, and although we we’re be no means poor, he didn’t like spending on anyone other than himself. He was a selfish self-centred man,a musician, he played every night in bands, he didn’t have too, he just loved doing it. Consequence being I was left to cope and suffered badly from depression. When I left my health changed drastically and I never regretted leaving.

    I went on to have a great career, brought up the kids single-handedly and I suppose over compensated and spoiled them. I made sure they saw their Dad regularly, and I didn’t bad mouth him. I put them through university and they have all made big successes of their lives. However, the most terrible thing has happened, my three daughters seem to have forgotten all their Mum did and still does for them. Dad, became the No.1 parent, and despite him having given them nothing, and only seeing them when it fitted in with his plans, when they became adults it was him they visited regularly at his home, whilst if I wanted to see them, I have to go to them!

    At family gatherings, their preference shone, whilst I swallowed the hurt, and didn’t make an issue. The pain of their betrayal of me is excrutiating. I have always supported them, taken an interest in their lives, benn there if they were ill. I don’t believe I could have been a better parent. Dad did nothing! Recently our youngest got married. For me it was a nightmare day. I was publicly treated with such disrespect whilst their love and respect was showered on the man who has done absolutely nothing for them. He suddenly took I’ll 3 weeks ago and died. I’ve offered my help and support, but for reasons I cannot fathom, it has been shunned. Our son is totally enraged. He keeps telling me I was the best mum ever, and doesn’t understand what’s going on either! I feel all that love and caring has been for nothing, and that in their eyes they wish it was me lying in the mortuary.

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