Dearest Rachel –
At some point in last night’s Grief Share meeting, the video session was going over certain emotions and attitudes we might have within the first few days and weeks. Honestly, I’m not sure why I was told earlier that my grief was ‘too raw’ and it was ‘too soon’ to go through this therapy, because Much of the emotional turmoil it seems to describe is familiar to me from those first few weeks – a lot of it has already dulled considerably since then.
Then again, one of our number is still grieving the loss of her dad from over ten years ago, so I guess it can be for grief of any age.
Which brings me to what you must have been feeling these past few years. Is it possible that you might have benefited from going through something like this back a few years ago after your dad’s passing? One of the attitudes they talked about was that of not wanting to go back to work, whatever that might be (obviously, they’re generally referring to the fact that most people have to go back to their employment, which renders me something of a blessed outlier).
The irony being that, along with the loss itself, one is left having to plan the funeral, arrange the disposition of the body, write the obituary, and all those other necessities attendant upon somebody’s death. So you can’t just shirk those responsibilities; stuff has to be done, whether you feel like doing them or not.
And you went through that twice in the span of barely two years; first in March 2017, then again in March 2019. You dealt with the regrets and fears of not knowing whether you told them enough about your own faith, and whether they responded in trust; you expressed frustration to me about how they viewed our religiosity as almost being cult-like. I know I won’t have to go through that with my own parents – indeed, I’ll be lucky if, when my time comes, whether somebody thinks I’ve lived up to the patterns they’d set. But you had to wrestle with the fact that you really didn’t know about either of their souls. Twofeathers claimed your mom made a profession as her mind reverted back to childhood and her faith became that of a child as well. But your dad, well… there were papers from his childhood and youth suggesting a strong and faithful young man, but as he grew older, doubts and bitterness began to form, and he wandered away, never to return. Was what he had way back then enough to gain admittance? Or did he never have a hold on true faith?
I imagine that these thoughts haunted you from time to time, even as you knew that you had done all that you could.
But knowing what I know now, I wish I had taken notes on all the things that you did in order to deal with your loss; both those physical things that were all part of the funeral and what not, and how to move on from having lost your father and mother. I know that losing Jo in particular was almost more of a relief, but it can’t have made it things that much easier. If nothing else, I think you expressed feeling guilty about wishing that Jo had been the first to go rather than Bill. Given both her declining health and mental state, it was an understandable feeling, but I know that you knew that it didn’t excuse it.
I wonder if I was all the support that you truly needed as you were going through all this. Sure, I probably made things easier as far as going through the documentation and paperwork after a certain point – although I tended to leave it to you more than I could have, as I didn’t want to seem like I was grasping for the estate. You insisted that it was ours to deal with, but I was always reluctant to claim any of it; maybe I didn’t trust myself.
I know that I couldn’t have understood the depth of your loss with regards to your father in particular. I did find myself crying at the funeral, but I’m not sure if I wasn’t more heartsick about them getting just so close to their golden anniversary, and missing it by a week. Of course, maybe the motive doesn’t matter; that I was by your side was enough, or at least, all you could ask for. I simply don’t know. And I can’t ask you now.
Everybody’s grief is unique to themselves, and the relationship that they had to the person they lost. Your losing Jo and Bill wouldn’t compare or equate to my losing you; the circumstances are just so different that it’s really apples and oranges. but the things you had to do and go through, well… I never knew I’d be needing notes.
And I wish I had taken them at the time.
But why would I have thought to need them? So many times, I lamented how we never get this house cleaned up well enough to undergo the renovation and remodeling it needed; I’d need to outlive you in order to give it the cleaning that it needed. And I always finished that lament I making it abundantly clear that I knew that that wouldn’t happen.
Just goes to show you how little I know.