About Me

My photo
Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Grief

Update: On a lighter note, and please pardon the pun, I lost 3.5 lbs in a week. I assume it's partly the stress of the loss and the release of the stress worrying about Dad. I'm on the mend and thrilled to have found a new "little black dress" in a smaller size. I plan to party hearty Saturday night at my birthday soiree.
I thought I was doing quite well after my Dad's death. Unfortunately, being alone with Dad and holding his hand as he took his last breaths was more traumatic than I'd realized. I thought all those tears I shed were healthy, and of course they were, but little did I realise that the real pain had yet to come. That first phase of grief - shock, disbelief, numbness - is always a time of ritual mourning. That is, we were busy with the restless over-activity of managing all the business and details of the Celebration of Life, the will, getting the death certificates, responding to friends' condolences, etc.

The second phase of grief is what I believe I experienced over the last few days. The intensity of the pain was unbelieveable and apparently can last for days, weeks, or even months. I've just been through 4 days of that intensity and this morning feel like I've been through the proverbial wringer. I know I'll be okay (having been through it before with my husband and my mother), but right now I'm a limp rag. One night I slept for over 14 hours, waking up to sensations of total body numbness as though I'd been drugged. Then Friday night I didn't sleep at all, getting up several times in the night to play games on the computer. I finally got up close to 6:00 am when the newspaper arrived - with the official obituary. I think that's when it really hit - the finality of it all when I saw it in writing. What followed was extreme nausea, fitful sleeping complete with vivid, crazy dreams from the exhaustion that had set in, headaches, and crying all the way from gulping sobs to quiet and relentless weeping. I felt dizzy, weak, and as though I weren't even real myself.

I'm coming back now. I guess this is what they call the third stage of grief. It will take time as we still have Dad's reception on Oct. 11th, and then all the business part won't be completely over until tax time in April. It's a strange thing knowing you're the older generation now and will be the next ones to go on that final journey.

But I'm okay for now. Life goes on and already I've stripped the bed and have the first load of laundry in. I'm going to have a shower, put on some clothes and even a touch of makeup, and if the rain lets up, maybe go for a walk and get some fresh air.

30 comments:

Josie said...

Leslie, grief is a very real process that you have to go through. You can't avoid it. Let it roll through you and grieve. And then you will heal. We have all felt the grieving process, and we know that in time you will feel better, your life will go on, and you will have loving thoughts of your father.

We will raise a glass to your Dad at your birthday dinner this weekend. I'm sure he would have wanted to share this special birthday with you, but he will be there in spirit, and he will always be with you.

leslie said...

Josie, you always know just the right thing to say. I think that is something that's been bothering me - that he won't be here to celebrate this milestone with me. But we go on and that is just what he would have wanted. Thanks for your comforting words and your support.

Janice Thomson said...

Josie has said it just right. This is a tough time but if you go with the emotions you will come through just fine. Remember "this too shall pass." Take care Leslie.

leslie said...

Thx Janice, I am feeling better today and am heading downtown to see if I can find a nice dress - both for my birthday and Dad's reception. Not raining right now but definitely a "fall" day.

the walking man said...

I guess I am a lesser mortal Leslie because when my mom died last year i never shed a tear, not for my old man either a quarter century ago, but you feel what you feel. I feel different than you do about a good many things not the least of which is death.

You will compartmentalize the memories of a beloved parent soon as you are ready and not a with before. That is one of the true beautiful things about living humans who experience a loss of a close loved one....it reminds them that they really do have love within them, and it can be shared.

So don't run away from what you're feeling, run to it, embrace it and thank God that you still have the capacity to love. Where so many do not.

Peace

TWM

Ruth D~ said...

I've always felt things deeply. So many people run from the pain of hurt. Sounds like you let it envelope you, and you emerged. I think, painful as that was, it was necessary. He was the man you knew longest in your life. As the pain lifts, the pleasure will fill all the cracks. Bittersweet, and finally mostly sweet. Take care.

Nancy said...

I will keep you in my prayers. I know this has to be very difficult and as you said... it will just take time. May your fond memories of your dad bring you comfort in the coming days.
((((((Leslie))))))

SusieQ said...

When I lost both my parents within 12 weeks of each other, I was fortunate in a way that I had other people in my life that needed lots of my attention. At the time, my daughter was going through a painful divorce. She and her four children needed me.

I received scheduled phone calls and mailings from Hospice offering to help me through any hard spots in my grieving process. I hope you have a similar support organization to turn to if you need help.

I will keep you in my prayers. I just thought of something. It might help you to do some journaling about your parents especially your dad.

nancygrayce said...

I'm new to reading your blog, but I'd like you to know that I know the grief process you are going through and will go through. My dad died suddenly and unexpectedly so we were in total shock at first and did that "ritual" stuff. You do just have to go through all the doors of the stages of grief. They are different for different people, but they are healing! May God comfort you in this time!

leslie said...

Thx everyone (and welcome NancyGrayce)and I just want you to know that I'm doing much better today. I did find my little black dress which really perked me up. It's been a long time since I had a nice dress. Just taking it a day at a time.

jmb said...

Leslie, it will take time as you well know and you don't get to skip any of the stages. Just take care of yourself while it's happening.
It is a strange thought when you become the senior generation. I have been for a very long while but it's still strange.
regards
jmb

JR's Thumbprints said...

Leslie,
You will always have those special occasions which will trigger happy memories mixed with sadness. You're absolutely right, we go on living, we step up and become that next generation, the older generation.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I am glad you were there to say goodbye. I am going through a similar path right now as my father who is 93 has rapidly deteriorated in the last two weeks and I a m also preparing now for the final farewell. It will be difficult for my 85 year old mother who is quite lost without him. In God we trust.

Canadian Bloggette said...

Hi there Leslie,
When I worked in Palliative Care Dr Kubler Ross's theory re the various stages of grieving and bereaving helped a lot of the family members understand and cope with the roller coaster emotional ride after the loss of a loved one...if you have not already read Dr Kubler Ross's theory on the stages of grieving perhaps it will be of some help for you and yours as you journey forward....
take best of care

Five stages of grief -
Dr Elisabeth K├╝bler Ross "On Death and Dying"


EKR stage Interpretation

1 - Denial
Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It's a defence mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.
2 - Anger
Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.
3 - Bargaining
Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example "Can we still be friends?.." when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it's a matter of life or death.
4 - Depression
Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it's the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the 'aftermath' although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It's a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It's natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.
5 - Acceptance
Again this stage definitely varies according to the person's situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.

leslie said...

Thanks Cheryl, that was most helpful. I think my denial was when Dad passed, I cried for a moment and then jumped up to phone my sister and became calm. I knew in my head he was gone, but I guess my heart couldn't deal with it. Then, I've been angry at my two sisters who sort of "took over" with the arrangements. I'm okay with them now, though. I don't know about "bargaining" but I do feel some depression (not horrific, though). I'm into the acceptance now but I still suffer from serious nausea and some inability to face food. (maybe that could be a good thing???lol) Anyway, I think we've turned the corner here and once the celebration of life is over (on Oct. 11) we'll all be able to move on with our lives.

LGS My best to you as you face the same thing. May God bless you and allow you to enjoy every moment you have with your Dad until he takes that final journey.

jmb and jr thanks so much for your comforting words.

Ruth said...

leslie...when my father passed away 3 years ago, I had become so involved in settling hid affairs, that I had lost 60 lbs because of it. Dad was 95 when he passed away, and nothing he owed, including the house was on record anymore. It has finally taken me the last 3 years to finally get it settled. So, needless to say, I have been gaining that weight back..But it sure was nice being very skinney for a while...NOT HEALTHY, but fun..

It takes a few years Leslie to recover from it, but you will. At least you were with him when he passed on. I tried to be with my dad, but it just didn't work out that way, and it is still hard to forgive myself for not being there.

leslie said...

Ruth Yes it was good that I was there because he did grip my hand and I know he drew comfort and I helped him with that bit of fear he had always had. But it was still extremely traumatic for me to watch him take that last breath. I know I will be fine but that it will just take a bit of time. I'm so glad you were able to get everything finalised with your Dad's stuff.

Susan said...

Oh Leslie,
I am so sorry for your pain. I cant pretent to know what you are going through. I am fortunate to have both my parents still in relativley good health. I well up reading your post , when I put myself in your place. The heartache of just thinking about life without them is unbearable.
Now you are a widow and an orphan, if we have to use labels.
Again, my sincerest condolonces. If there is anything I can do, please dont hesitate to email me at ksstcyr@telus.net Even if its just for a coffee and some company.
Hopefully with each passing day, your grief will lessen.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Leslie,

I wish you well. I know that is what our loved ones want for us. It their lives we celebrate for they are never far from us. a small touch on the shoulder or a vice whispered in our ear. they are here to still gently guide us and let us know just how much we were loved.

have peace leslie.

patterns of ink said...

I'm glad you've got lots of good company and counsel. It was in my every waking moment for months. Then one day you say, "Hey, I didn't think of it today." Then pretty soon you have more days like that than the way you feel now. Josie's right, though... roll with it. Embrace it when it hits you. Talk out loud to your father and the Father. It's totally normal.
As you know from reading at POI, my father was and is a huge influence on my life. I miss him and love writing about him.

Morning Glory said...

Leslie, I'm so sorry for your loss. I understand your grief process, as my Dad passed away just 5 years ago. I miss him terribly, all the time, but I hope it will be encouraging to you to know that the intensity does lighten up as time goes by. The hole is always there, but the pain isn't so sharp.

I read a quote one time that said "Grief changes shape, but it never ends." I believe that, but God is faithful to comfort.

geewits said...

Wow. I've never seen someone come so close to describing what I went through when my Dad died. Losing people we love, whether inevitable or not, is really a bitch. I hope you have a great time having fun for a night on your birthday. Take pictures!

Sienna said...

...and I'm sad with you too Leslie. My Dad's funeral was just a couple of days after he died, so I was kept busy, then the day of his funeral I did the eulogy...it was when I went to place the rose over his coffin and say goodbye the last time that was so final and sad...it is such an end of an era and generation...the process and emotions just take their course, but I always felt he was there helping me out too, some kind of strength there, peaceful and a fond (but teary farewell)..Everyone has said it all so beautifully here, and I hope in some way you know we all care, but I did also want to drop by and see how you were going and to wish you Happy Birthday!!

I hope with all my heart you have a wonderful evening and celebrate...I shall have a fine traditional toast for your birthday here tomorrow (a fine cold beer!)...and I will have a toast for your Dad..

Sending good vibes and thoughts across the seas, here's to you Leslie!

Love from Pam

Smalltown RN said...

OH Leslie.....my deepest condolences to you.....I knew your father had been unwell....but I did not know he had passed.

You speak of stages of grieving I take it you are familiar with Kobler-Ross and her 5 stages of Grief.....although there are these stages there is no certain time as to when one should pass from one stage to the next. It happens when you are ready for it to happen, and by the sounds of it you are working your way through it and realize you will come out of it all in the end......

I wish you a very Happy Birthday...and I hope you and the ladies have a fabulous time.....I will raise a glass to you this evening.....cheers my friend....

TomCat said...

Leslie, may your healing be complete. Happy Birthday!!

geewits said...

Happy Birthday!

Ruth D~ said...

Hey, Is this your birthday? Have a great one.

HeiressChild said...

hi leslie, i haven't been on the blogs too much lately, so i'm doing a bit of catching up today. i sent you an email right after hearing the news about dad from suzanne, and left comments on a previous post. it's never easy when those we love leave us. i always tell people how ever long it takes, and what ever way you feel you need to grive, just let it flow. it is a process, and everyone handles grief differently. will continue to keep you in my prayers.

wanda said...

Hi Leslie,
I wanted to stop and tell you Thank you for visiting my site again, you are always so thoughtful, How are you now? It sounds like you are doing much better, and I am still always here for you, but of course we all are, otherwise, we would not have met through the blog.
just give yourself a big old hug every time you feel you need a friend and know that we are thinking of you too! and begin to type. that is what I do! funny how that works, I know when I have the best days I can share them, and when I have the worst I can share them... this is so wonderful.
I want to Thank You for being my FRIEND!
Have a Great WEEKEND..
HUGS,
Wanda

obat tumor payudara said...

Mengapa kutil bisa tumbuh di alat kelamin pria serta bagaimana mengobatinya, kutil tumbuh di sekitar kelamin pria bisa tumbuh pada batang penis pria, ujung penis pria, pangkal penis pria bahkan bisa tumbuh di sekitar anus pria. hal ini karena di sebabkan oleh virus yang bernama HPV (human papilloma Virus) sebelum melakukan pengobatan terlebih dahulu akan saya jelaskan mengenai virus HPV ini sehingga nanti kedepannya khsusunya untuk kaum pria dapat menjaga diri agar terhindar dari penyakit ini.