Wednesday, January 29, 2014


As a child, I was no stranger to loss. People seemed to leave my life for various reasons, be it death, relocating or what. Often when meeting someone new, I would not bother to remember their name for even just a few moments. Because I knew that I would never see them again. Therefore, I was always very unattached. I would often make up stories in my head about friends that I had once known. I'm certain that my stories were much better than whatever the truth might be. One thing that was always true was that they are gone. And I will never see them again.
As I sat in the uncomfortable vinyl padded chair in the nursing home, I knew this loss would be different. I sat there every day for several months. The first couple of months, I thought there was hope. That hope eventually gave way to a new hope. A hope that the suffering would soon be over. I sat by my mother's side night and day. Some of my siblings would trade off with me for a while so I could get some rest or go off to work overnight. But I would be back as soon as I could. I had made a promise that I would be there for her no matter what.
I was angry. Angry at the doctors that had misdiagnosed her condition for the last couple of years. Angry that they had caused her to drag around oxygen tanks and take medications that did nothing for what was going on inside her frail body. Angry that all the while, her condition was worsening and now she was in the one place she always told me she never wanted to be. When it was clear that she was to the point of no return, I found out what it really means to have medical power of attorney for someone that does not want life support. It was time to sign the papers that cleared the nursing home from any liability for her death. I signed the death papers for the woman that gave me life.
Working in the business that I do, everyone expected me to be the strong one. I was. I have been. I'll try to continue to put on a strong face. It's not that she is gone or that I can't call her up and ask her silly questions. I'm quite used to that part of someone leaving. What bothers me most is the helpless look in her eyes as she knew what the future held. Her whimpered cries for her mama that had died when my mother was only twenty and before knowing any of her grandkids. She passed away silently with my sister by her side. I was already on my way when I received the call.
Then a short two years after loosing my mother, I arrived at my father's house to find him convulsing. Between seizures, he had a look in his eyes that said, "What's happening to me?". Within an hour, I knew we had reached that point once again. Again, I was the one to have to sign the papers. We decided that it should happen at home and we set up a schedule for someone to always be with him. After ten days, I was with him, holding his hand when he went to be with his wife of fiftyeight years once again. January 16th would have been my father's 90th birthday and the first of his birthdays that he has not been here for. I guess that is part of the reason that I've been focused on all of this lately.
For both of them, I handled everything to do with the funerals. Everyone thought the services were a fitting tribute to the people that brought this family to life and kept this family together.
But after all of that,what I have been struggling with is, what the family looks like after their departure. I feel an obligation to be a part of every one's life but at the same time, a freedom to finally do what I want instead of what everyone else wants.
When there is a loss, it always leaves an empty space in the lives around that person. I was prepared for that. What I wasn't prepared for was to be completely at a loss for where to go from here. These losses have effected me more than any other. I don't wish them back or wonder why they had to die. I for the first time in my life have realized that I have got to live my own life. I owe that to the parents that gave me life.

While I love to blog and even more so, love the connections and friendships that have come along with this blog, I am taking some time to get myself together. I can be better prepared to help others if I've got a purpose for my own existence. I'm not leaving blogland. You will see the occasional post from me. And I'll continue to comment on my favorite blogs if word verification allows. And for those that have followed me on facebook, I'll continue to be my witty self on that format. I just don't want to pressure myself with deadlines and expectations of myself. I want to keep this lighthearted and free. I know that I will be back. I'll be back stronger than ever and I look forward to that day.

Take care my friends.


jaz@octoberfarm said...

i know exactly how you feel. take the time you need and be kind to yourself! i will miss you. just come back when you are ready!

Jim said...

Stew, this is a very heartfelt post. I understand where the deaths of your parents has left a place of which you are not familiar. So much has always been expected of you and you were always there for everyone else......forgetting what your needs were and are.

It is no wonder that you don't know where your place is in the family because your obligations/expectations are no longer there.....except in your head and programming.

I think people go through this after doing so much and living for other people and forgetting about their own needs.

Ask me. After my mother died almost 7 years ago, I felt like I was floating in space and tying to land somewhere,anywhere that would allow me to be useful.
I was very close to her and felt I was the only one who appreciated and knew her.....and I was to some degree. I took all this on myself with the help of my father many years ago when I was very young.

So, you are not alone my friend in experiencing this emptiness when someone close to you dies.

You will find your way as you have already begun to do. I can better understand now why you do what you do. You are good at it and have a handle on losing people and how it affects most people.

I like your things on FB....mind you I miss some of it (I am older than you)!!lol
See you here on blogger whenever you can be here.
This was an excellent post and you have certainly thought this through!

MorningAJ said...

Take all the time you need. I'll miss you - but you have to look after yourself. x

Rich C said...

Thanks for sharing Stew. It is an odd place to be, but hopefully exciting in some aspects as you think about your new path. Spring is coming soon.

Still looking forward to getting together! Having the house built totally derailed any free time I had over the past several months. The good news is that we will be slightly closer to the trails and also there is a pair of eagles nesting there now. We'll have to keep Pugsley from looking too much like a snack :-) Feel free to email or FB message me anytime and hopefully we can hit the park when the weather warms up!


John Gray said...

Moving.........keep safe

Rick said...

Great post. Thinking of you.