Monday, April 5, 2010

Hard to wrap my mind around it.

Oh, what a strange, sad, stressful few weeks it's been. I know I've been completely neglecting this blog, because so much has been going on. It's funny because I have ALOT of thoughts about everything, but no time or patience to sit down and put my thoughts into words. I've tried to sit down and write this post four times now, but my mind just doesn't seem to be able to do it.

TH's mother passed away a week ago, following a long slow progressive illness that suddenly worsened at the beginning of March. In some ways I guess you could say we "knew" this day was coming -- we knew it was coming a few weeks ago when the doctor called from the hospital in Georgia and told TH, "If this was my mother, I would come down here immediately." We knew it was coming a few months ago when we went home for Thanksgiving and TH's mom was hospitalized the entire time (10 days), discharged on Thanksgiving Day. We knew it was coming almost 8 years ago, the day after our wedding, when she first had signs of a heart problem and spent the day in the ER with mild chest pains and a swollen arm.

Knowing it's coming, and actually facing it when the time finally does come are two different things.

It's so weird to think that we're getting to the age where it's surprising, but not completely unheard of, to lose a parent. It's so weird to think that our kids are only almost-4 and 6 months old and one of their grandparents is already gone. I've known TH since high school, so it's weird to think that I'll never talk to his mother again, someone I've known for almost 20 years. It's unbelievably hard for me to wrap my mind around, so I can only imagine what TH is going through.

Losing TH's mom has made us think alot about our own mortality. It's a huge reminder that we're not going to be here forever. What is like, to say goodbye to your children? To hold your new grandbaby and know that you'll likely never see that child grow up? Jr. only met his grandmother once, in the hospital at Thanksgiving, when he was 8 weeks old. J knows who she is, he talked to her on the phone almost every day, but eventually those memories will fade. That's what is really hard, realizing that someone who had so much influence on our lives will be completely unknown to our children. It's funny how you don't understand until you're a parent that your own parents had whole entire lives before you were born that you didn't know anything about and that had nothing to do with you. It's just sad to think that our kids' grandmother is part of the life that they'll never know, a person they'll hear alot about but never experience.

We've also been faced with trying to explain this whole situation to J. Unfortunately we already had to start this conversation with him when TH's grandmother died in December. (What a terrible year for TH's family, grandmother and mother just 3 months apart.) It's so hard to know what J understands. He knows who his grandmother was, but he doesn't quite get what her relationship was to TH, and looks confused when we say that "Daddy is sad because he'll never see his mommy again." He keeps asking questions that are impossible to answer. Why did she get sick? Why did she die? Where did she go? When will we see her again? The other day he was playing with his Little People airport and told me that the people on the plane were "going down to Georgia because their grandmas died a little bit." I hate to think that because of TH being away alot the last couple of months, J now associates going on the plane with someone dying or going to a funeral.

This is the dark part of life, I guess. We just thought that we would be lucky and have alot more years before we'd have to say goodbye to one of our parents...


Heidi O said...

It is hard but even if the memories fade he will still have pleasant loving feelings about her.
Again I am sorry for your family's loss.

Joanna said...

{{{HUGS}}} My condolences, especially for TH and his family. What a tough time for everyone. I'm so sorry for your loss.

My great grandmother passed away when I was very little. I do not remember meeting her, even though I know I did. However, I do have fond memories of her. We have a number of pictures of her, and my parents and brother and sister have shared their memories of her as well, so I do feel like I know her. Maybe you could get some pictures of her and have J help you make a collage of her to help him appreciate who she was? If it's too fresh right now, maybe doo it around mother's day, or around her birthday.

LauraC said...

Desi again I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I can't even begin to know what it feels like to lose a parent because Jon and my parents are (relatively) healthy. I hope you can find some peace in the care of your own kids and your own life.

Steph said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Neither Ben or I have lost a parent yet, but we have both lost grandparents we have been especially close with, and it's hard. I hope you and your family have a chance to work through all your feelings in your own way and time and keep the memories.

Karen said...

I am so sorry for your family's loss. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like when Todd or I lose one of our parents.

Julie said...

You did a beautiful job articulating some of the strange and difficult emotions that emerge after losing a parent, particularly when you are a parent as well.

I am so very sorry for this loss for your family.

Lana was actually quite accepting and intuitive when we talked about my dad's passing. I spoke pretty openly about my sadness and we did the best we could in explaining death, heaven and forever. I mean these are difficult concepts for adults! Lana often talks to the sky and tells Grandpa Dennis what we are doing or that she loves and misses him. We use photos and stories every opportunity we get. Its not the same and it doesn't replace the loss, but its what we can do. It still hurts me a lot to think that my dad never got a chance to hold Lacey. A lot.

And you are right, a loss of this magnitude makes you really look at your own mortality and a lot of the dark sides of life in general.