Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Here I am. Writing about the inevitable. Albeit a little late.

My father passed away Saturday evening, September 1, 2012. And I am running through the stages of grief in no particular order. Anger seems to be taking up most of my time. Followed by indifference. Followed by guilt at the indifference and relief I am feeling, then quickly consumed by more anger which I try to wash away with forgiveness and memories of his crooked smile and bad jokes and moments of tenderness and words from people who knew him as a younger, less bitter man. And that's when the Sad creeps in. And I try to hold on to that as long as I can.

I try to wash away the mean and suspicion and distrust that colored his final hours - he blamed us, and hospice. We were all out to kill him, you see. He was "fine" before he got there. And most times the washing works. But then another "crisis" pops up and I see the thinking of my father in his son, my brother, and it disgusts me, and somehow I blame the dead as much as the living. Which may or may not be fair.

This grief march is so, so different than the one we have taken with our daughters. This is a conclusion that I braced myself for ages ago. My tears washed through my car on trips back and forth from Delaware all summer; they cleaned my kitchen, watered my plants, mixed with my sweat when I ran.

When he finally passed away, I was at his side, dripping in sweat from a run cut short by a cryptic text from my brother. I remember saying, "Ok, pops, ok." over and over again. More to myself than anyone else. My brother shook with sobs. My mom obsessed about closing his eyelids. He was surrounded by family, which I think is the only thing he ever wanted.

I didn't cry for my dad at his memorial service. But I did for his brother and sisters and the grief they were feeling. I did for his co-workers and our old neighbors who thought enough of him to spend their Saturday with us. Other people's emotions moved me to tears, because mine were somehow absent.

I was focused on making sure the organist got paid, that the urn was properly placed, that my mom wouldn't tumble down the stairs as she walked back to her seat after the reading, that everyone knew how to get to the luncheon, that my brother wouldn't lose his shit, that my brother's friends would order from the bar so my mom wasn't stuck with a ridiculous tab from all of my brother's cronies' libations.

My cousin (my favorite and my dad's) asked me how I was at the service and I was honest. "I'm fine. Because I have shit to do." And she laughed. And I think we both know that this is not the hard part. It's when the quiet settles in. Because it will be quiet without dad.

My mom is here this week, staying with her sister. We're going out to lunch today. I'm taking her to dinner on Friday. In between there are old neighbors and friends to fill her time, oh yes, and this most recent "crisis."

It seems my brother's girlfriend chose the weekend of his father's memorial service to tell him she is pregnant. And it seems all of their friends knew first. Before him. According to my mom, he is livid. And scared. And angry. And not ready. And hadn't planned for this. And full of all kinds of volatile emotions. He feels betrayed and hurt and blindsided.....

I'm sorry. I guess I just assumed a 35-year old man with a daughter knew where babies come from.

My mom is so upset because he is so upset. I am upset because this is not her problem, and this is my father's son. Finding himself in a situation that people would die for - a beautiful woman that loves him has just told him she is having his child. And all he can do is think back to past wrongs done by other people. All he can think of is how the world is doing him wrong, is out to get him, because this was not his plan.

There is no gratitude, no grace. Only anger and blame, placed on everyone else's shoulders but his own. And that is so my father. There is the legacy. And that breaks my heart.


I'm trying to reach my brother now, and have been for the last two days. I'm hoping he's found someone to talk to, someone older, someone wiser. I'm hoping he has calmed and is seeing things a little differently. I am hoping things work out.


baby2b: 11 weeks, 3 days. First "real" ob appointment this Friday.
running streak: 59 days, including my first half marathon last Sunday. woot.


Carla said...

oh my! you have a lot on your plate!!!! Try not to gorge yourself/choke on all these emotions! My sympathies in regards to your father's death....and my thoughts of patience and grace for your dear brother and have much happiness and lighter days ahead. Thinking of you.

m said...

Patience and grace, yes. Thanks so much, Carla. I will take all the calming vibes you can send my way. I feel near choking today. But you are so right - so, so much to look forward too. This is where I need to focus my mind. Trying....

TracyOC said...

I wish that death made people appreciate the positives in their lives more but, it seems like that's usually not the case. I wish this had been easier for your family and that you could take a rest on the logistics. I'm commenting via phone else I'd say more. Just know that I'm so sorry for your loss and that I'm sending you plenty of coping strength.

Also 11 weeks! Also, a half-marathon!

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Oy. Talk about the Circle of Life.

Abiding with you during all the stages you're going through, sometimes a couple of them simultaneously.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

And congrats on all the great news in the little italics!

Nadine said...

Families are beyond complicated. And I'm so sorry for your loss, it's gotta be hard and strange the the quiet must be all consuming.

I'm glad you have the running. Running everyday, I gotta start that, I bet it feels good to feel the blood rushing through the veins everyday. The feet pounding,my next half is on my birthday in 6 weeks.

Sue said...

I'm very sorry about your father and am wishing you peace. Congratulations on your two big milestones - wee weeks and a half marathon too!

JP said...

My sympathies for te loss of your dad and for your brother's current behavior.
Congratulations on the half marathon and the happy little update at the end.

Anonymous said...

I stayed busy for an entire year before I processed my grief, in fact got incredibly productive. Don't be afraid to feel any anger towards him for things that went unresolved, sometimes that anger is what it takes to let it go. I wanted to also say that morphine is a very strange drug - when I was in ICU there was a guy next to me who was convinced that the nurses were trying to kill him and he fought with every ounce of his being. It really is only the drug and nothing else! Big hug to you, and make sure you get lots of rest, even if you feel "fine" ;-) xxx

Monique said...

I'm so sorry about your dad. Sending you lots of love to get through the days ahead. And a little happy dance for the update at the end.

dana said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. And I'm sorry you're having to deal with your brother's crap on top of it - what a hand you've been dealt in recent weeks. ((HUGS))

11 weeks. WOW. So awesome.

Kudos on the running; so proud of you for keeping it up amidst the uproar.

luna said...

wow, that really is so much to process at once.

I love the stream of consciousness aspect to this post. hope it was cathartic to write, at least.

so sorry again for the loss of your dad. it's so hard anyway, but when there are so many conflicting emotions it makes it even more complicated. add that to the complexity and dysfunction among the living, and well, yeah, it's a lot to deal with.

so happy for your good news though. just keep that coming. <3

Paz said...

Sorry, sorry to hear about your dad. Sounds like you did well good daughter through those difficult events. Hope you're brother has an awakening. 11 weeks! Now almost 12! Second trimester, here you are!

Hope your happy news helps you weather this hard time, and the quiet headed your way.


Heather said...

Why do some families have to be so DAMN complicated? I've got much of the same on my end. My parents came from difficult upbringings, and I know they did the best they could with what they were given. And I hope like hell I'm doing better with my kids and we can avoid some of this crap in years to come.

We went to a support group for 6 months after our son's stillbirth. This will sound strange to some, but I know you will get it... The group leader had a full term daughter who was stillborn nearly 30 years ago. Within the last 10 years her mother had died. People had expressed to her that losing her mother must have been so difficult, probably more difficult than losing her daughter since she and her mother were so close. Her immediate response was that the two events were not even on the same level. Not by a longshot. She loved and missed her mother dearly and grieved her deeply, but the two events could not be compared. I knew that I would feel the same way someday, and I was so thankful to have validation in advance.

I'm sorry about your father and wish you whatever you need to get through the range of emotions and further family crap coming your way.

I'm thrilled beyond words for baby2b and hope you saw some amazing u/s pictures today.

And the half marathon deserves a paragraph all its own. HOT DAMN! Way to go!!

B's Mom said...

I am sorry to hear about your father.

KeAnne said...

I'm thrilled about the good news in italics and hope things are still going well. I'm sorry about your father's death and the other mess going on. Abiding with you.

Smiling said...

I second the smiles about the little italics.. the rest.. wow... whoa... you are kind to wish your brother some helpful insight from older/wiser folks. I'm not sure any amount of shit to do would have allowed me to hold it together with all that. May be I should take up running!??

Congrats on the 1/2 marathon.. and the running streak... and i can just imagine how different this will all look in a year. We're with you until then and beyond:)

Nicole said...

Huge hugs to you. So sorry about your dad. Family is so complicated and it sounds like the stuff going on with your brother definitely is. You are a strong lady. So glad to hear it is already 11 weeks in to the surrogacy! Amazing. it always feels like there is a mix of happy and sad in life. Take care of yourself, mourn in the way that is appropriate foroyu.

bibc said...

Thinking of you and your family, love