Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcome, Guest Blogger, Colleen

The following is from Colleen B. Readers, please feel free to leave a comment
as Colleen would love to hear your thoughts.


On June 1, 2010, my father died. My expectation was that I was gong to be terribly
sad and possibly thrown back into the depths of grief. Although I have been sad, I
haven't experienced the level of grief that I expected or that I feel might have
been expected of me. I have actually wondered if something was wrong with me.

I didn't experience the death of someone that I truly loved until I was in my mid-
thirties when my grandparents died within a year of each other. I had spent my
summers with them through most of my childhood, but work and family had made our
visits fewer over the years. I remember being very sad for a time, but life as I
knew it returned to normal very quickly. It wasn't until almost fifteen years
later, on 01/01/01, that life changed forever. My 19 year old son, Andrew, choked
on a gummy candy while sitting in his car outside of a gas station. Andrew's
brother and friend had gone in to pay for the gas. When they returned to the car
Andrew was unconscious and could not be revived. That is the day that a big part of
my heart died, and I learned that a broken heart really does hurt. The grief
journey after the death of a child is an incredibly difficult one. It changes you
forever. Even though I have certainly improved over the almost ten years since
Andrew's death, that experience has left its scar. Now I'm never totally sure how I
will react to the constant tragedies that happen in the area where I live. There
have been at least twenty young adults that have died since Andrew, and five of
those were his friends. These deaths knock me off my feet, but I think I have been
left with less sadness for the people who had an opportunity to live a full life,
even though I know they were well loved by many, and I know their families suffer
the loss.

I guess this leads me back to my dad. For the last two and a half years he had been
in a nursing home living a life he tried so hard to avoid. Luckily he didn't
realize that he was one of those "old people" that he was always pointing out to me.
Over the last five years we were called numerous times to the hospital and told he
probably wouldn't survive the night, or he probably only had two days to two weeks
to live, or the next illness would certainly be the last. In mid May when he
stopped eating we were once again told that he most likely wouldn't survive more
that two weeks. It was hard to take it seriously because we had heard it so many
times. Death for him was a release from a body and mind that no longer worked. He
was 90 years and 9 months old, and I just keep thinking that he lived over 71 years
longer than my son. I'd love to know if others have felt these same things. It
would help me to know that others have had the same feelings.

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