Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Raw raw raw

It's amazing the toll the dying can take on the living. The last few weeks I've been exhausted, crabby, out-of-sorts, and just plain sad. I couldn't put my finger on it and it's been bugging me to no end. Everything is going right in my world--I have nothing to complain about.

Except that my grandpa is dying. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few weeks ago, and while we were hoping to have several months with him, hospice has now reduced his time to weeks. And, his impending death is weighing on me in a way the deaths of my grandmothers didn't, because I know it's coming. One grandma died unexpectedly (as unexpectedly as an 83 year old dies, that is), and my other grandma died within a week of a bad fall. With neither one of them did I have the chance to think about all of the things that needed to be said. Now I have that chance. I'm taking it--I wrote my grandpa a letter saying everything that I wished I had said to my grandma and all of the things that I'm glad I get to say to him. I'm so thankful to have that chance.

My grandpa's funeral will be my 6th funeral since October. It started with my college professor, Mark, then my grandma, then two former students back-to-back, then my godfather. I have to say, I would never have expected to lose so many family members in one year--I don't have that big of a family!

It's important to remember the toll death takes on the living. It's exhausting to operate daily tasks and grieve at the same time. I forget that, even with all of the funerals I've been to over the years. I'm expecting my insomnia to start soon-- it always does. I have to remember to be patient with myself in these let myself be crabby and communicate with those around me that I'm really struggling. I need to turn to my sources--my family, friends, yoga, writing, to keep me sane.


Tamara =D said...


Dagny32 said...

I can't even imagine what you're going through, I've never had someone close to me die. At least not yet (knock on wood). I'm sorry for your impending loss, and I think writing that letter was a very good idea.

Jacquie said...

First off, let me say how sorry I am for your loss. I know exactly what you're going through. Secondly, I want you to know how lucky you are that your Grandfather was lucid enough that you were able to write him a letter expressing everything that needed to be said. I am so jealous. I know all deaths aren't good experiences, but I'm glad yours was better than mine.

mya said...

No, I do not know exactly what you are going through, for everyone goes through grief their on way. However, like many others, I have been through that process many times. My mother is living with me but is under hospice care now.

You have experienced death often in too short a time and I think that would make it worse. Each death brings back the sense of loss for your other loved ones. It could be like going through it all over again. I am glad that you said you recognized the need to let those around you know what you are going through. Reaching out is very important.

Being honest with yourself and believing in yourself will help you; and you might be surprised just how strong you can become. You will be able to empathize not merely sympathize with others, and be a source of strength for someone else.

I imagine that you know the stages of grief, and that sometimes we go through those stages very orderly, and sometimes we just jump around with no order. Usually, that's ok. We do what is best for ourselves - we follow our needs.

I do no know if you have religious convictions or not, but my faith helped me become stronger.

Kelly Flanigan said...

Thanks everyone! It helped to write about it, and it helps to read your suggestions, experiences, and thoughts. It's been exactly two weeks now and things are, as they always do, getting easier. Death is what it is--bothersome as it may be :-)
I really appreciate you all writing--it means a lot!

Rajesh said...


Ny grandmom was recently diagnosed with cancer at 85. She will live for maybe a month more. The first time I got to know of her condition, I felt completely shattered... this is not the way I wanted her to go!

When I read about your Grandpa, I understand what you might have felt. My condolences.

Kelly Flanigan said...

Thanks Rajesh-- all my best to you as well. I hope that you are able to savor every last moment with your grandmom! Be well--you're in my thoughts.