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    • CommentAuthorMim
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2017
    I don't know where this came from, but I found it to be very touching. Hope this is allowed here...if not, Joan could remove it.

    "I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not.
    I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents…
    I wish I could say you get used to people dying. But I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it.
    Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.
    As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.
    In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.
    Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
    Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too.
    If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.
    Death is a part of life. It can be scary to think of losing a loved one, but know that grief is all part of the healing process. Make them proud while they’re here and honor their memory when their gone."
    • CommentAuthorMim
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2017
    Don't want to be morbid, but it might help for those who have already been there, and for those of us who are facing it.

    I am not there yet with my own spouse, but I have lost other loved ones including one of my best friends from college who was 6 months younger than me. I found this to be a very poignant description of loss and how it can make you feel. I don't think it's morbid. I think we all are versed enough to know there's only one way this ends.
    • CommentAuthorMim
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2017
    Sass, so true, so true. I'm not there yet with my husband, but I know it's getting closer. I've been through my father, my mother, my only brother & of course, grandparents & others. Death becomes a fact of life...
    My stepdad, who was also my uncle, died this afternoon, peacefully, with friends and family at his side, in a Hospice in Ohio. He had just turned 92 on Saturday, been independent in his own home with a few services in place and a nurse daughter watching the meds until a week before the stroke and hospitalization. A Purple Heart veteran of WWII, father of six, two happy marriages, long years working in the Ford plant...this thread really resonates.
    • CommentAuthorMim
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2017
    God bless your stepdad/uncle & his family & friends. Was he local (where I am, or elsewhere in Ohio)?
    Hi Mim. His house was in Lorain county, in a seniors' development--very suitable for him and for my mother when she was still alive.It used to take me an hour and 25 minutes to get up there from our little Heartland town. He actually died in a Hospice facility near Akron, which would have been close to his daughter (my cousin) the nurse. I have not heard anything about services being planned, other than that I know he was going to be cremated and the urn put in the niche with my aunt, his first wife. My mother's ashes are buried with my father's. (They had this all planned out years in advance.) So the end of an era. I am orphaned at 67.
    • CommentAuthorMim
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2017
    Oddly enough, I have felt like an orphan at times, especially after both of my parents were gone. After my brother passed, I felt completely alone, even though I still had my own family. My kids aren't married, I don't have grandchildren, therefore I feel like I'm the end of the line! A strange feeling.
    Mim, I too felt that "orphan feeling." My mother and sister died and my husband was diagnosed all within 36 months. They were the three people who knew me best and longest in life and suddenly there was no one to turn to. Children may be supportive but they are not our contemporaries and don't understand what we lost - actually they are dealing with their own grief. That "last man standing" feeling is one of unsettling loss.
    • CommentAuthorBev*
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2017
    My mom died the same year my husband was diagnosed, my dad two years earlier and my only sibling, my sister, my best friend, was diagnosed with pancreatic in cancer the following year and died two years later. It seemed in an instant I lost my family. I was an orphan too. I still mourn my sister terribly. My husband died this year, only three years after my sister. Even though my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren are more than I could ever ask for, I miss my mom, dad and sister so much.

    The story above is so true. The grief does come in waves. I still mourn a grandson I lost 20 years ago. You never really get over it, but the waves do get smaller.
    • CommentAuthorCO2*
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2017
    I lost my beautiful sweet mother last night at 10:05. What an example of grace and faith throighout her life. She was 94. I guess At some point we all become orphans of sorts. One of my friends told me that once you lose your parents and husband nothing much is the same. Her passing was in some ways made easier because I have siblings to,share the burden with and did not have to make the hard decisions. She was of sound mind so was able to be included in all her health decisions. By living so long she had great relationships with her grand children. I only hope the rest of my life will be reflective of her and the kindness she showed to all who met her. Still pondering the new normal for me. I guess with time the new normal will come forth. I so appreciate all the people here who "get it" and the way the crashing waves of grief come into each of our lives.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2017
    CO2, I am so sorry about your mother. When I hear of the death of these strong aged people after lives well-lived (my own mother was also one of them), I think of the Bible verse, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
    • CommentTimeFeb 27th 2017
    Condolences on the loss of your wonderful mother. Some lives are such a blessing to the whole world. My mother died in 1990 at age ninety, but in some ways, I feel closer to her than ever before.
    C02, what a beautiful tribute to your dear mother who was blessed with such a long life. When you wrote 'what an example of grace and faith throughout her life' it
    so thoroughly reminded me of my own sweet mother who died a number of years ago at 89. The memory of them is a wonderful legacy, both for us and also our
    children. Sending you warm thoughts and all the best for the 'new normal' - still searching for it myself.
    So sorry to hear of the loss of your mother, C02. It sounds as if the happy memories are there for you to look back on and cherish in the future.