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View Diary: Something about Mary (116 comments)

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  •  Loss (4.00)
    In my whole life I've been rather sheltered - that is to say I have not known very many people who have died. Of course, there have been people I had met but few people I really knew. One was my granny when I was very young, a friend from church who died from leukemia when we were 14, and a close friend from school who died suddenly when we were 19 (that was really the hardest for me). My husband is the opposite; his life has been filled with the death of people close to him, starting with his mom when he was 6.

    Anyway, I felt unprepared when I found out yesterday that his step mother was found dead in her room. I wouldn't say I was ever close to her, and my father-in-law had only married her after my husband was an adult in the military. The last time I saw her was a year and a half ago on our way from visiting family in Kentucky. I thought she looked really good. She was a breast cancer and alcoholic survivor. Soon after that though, she started drinking again, her life spiraled out of control and a year later she was dead.

    I feel horrible because I know I should be sad for her loss, but mostly I am very detached from it emotionally. My husband says he feels the same. I attribute my detachment to inexperience with real grief, and his to too much experience. I don't want to believe I lack the capacity to care about her. I cried over your story but I'm still waiting to cry over hers.

    Thanks for sharing.

    •  It took me a while (4.00)
      to cry over my mom's death. We weren't super-close, and I always felt like I was a disappointment to her because of financial problems, unable to find/hold a job after I was laid off from my 12-year position, and that the spouse and I never presented her with any more grandkids.

      Eventually, the tears did come, and they're still's been 4 months since she's been gone. So don't worry, the tears will come in their own time, and probably when least expected.

      "It's an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously." -- Bill Bryson

      by Cali Scribe on Sat Jun 04, 2005 at 11:16:35 AM PDT

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    •  crying for whom? (sorry for the length) (none)
      My experience with loss AND crying up till I was in my 20's was also limited. My grandmother died when I was in my teens in the 1970s (she lived with us, and was a difficult person to deal with). I felt worse for my mom. Didn't cry when I heard about people losing people they loved.

      In the early 1980s my father experience loss after loss of family who lived very far away and I didn't know well - both his parents and his 2 brothers. I hurt for him, but I don't remember crying. Didn't cry when I heard about people losing people they loved.

      When my great aunt and uncle died (brother/sister) in the late 1980s I felt bad for their remaining siblings who they lived with - they'd lived a long life I thought. I hurt for my remaining great-aunt who started to become like a grandmother to me when I came back to NY at the beginning of the 1990s. I didn't cry when I heard about people losing people they loved.

      Then I lost my dad to melanoma cancer. Didn't really realize how serious a situation it was - partly because my parents tried to conseal it from us children (8 adults) and partly because I think they didn't really realize it either, and partly because I lived out of state and didn't see what happening on a daily basis. Trial vaccines and chemo right up to the end. And lots of pain my dad kept to himself. Couldn't have pictures of him around for almost 2 years because I cried everytime I saw him in them or missing from them. Cried when I was in the car and drove by the place he worked. He was too young, not even 65, and it wasn't fair.

      It was only after my dad died that I started to cry when I heard about other people losing the people they loved. Because I understood their anger, pain and regret and felt it all over again for my father. I think I was crying for the pain of the living. Empathy pain.

      And when I lost my mother to colon cancer a decade later, I cried before, during, and after. I had a better sense of what to fear. I was one of her primary caregivers and lived with her during 2 operations, chemo, and radiation.

      I cried when she died, holding her hand and telling her it was okay for her to go. The only thing I feel "good" about is that she didn't die alone, but my brother and I were there with her. I cried because I loved her, was going to miss her, and because at 71 she'd died too young. I cried because I was a 37 year old orphan. I cried because my parents would never see how our lives unfolded after their deaths. I cried because I still  think "if only..."  with regards to encouraging them to get complete physicals earlier - even though I don't listen to that myself.

      I cried when my last remaining great-aunt died (my mother's aunt) whom my mother had worried about what would happen to her after her death. We loved her like a grandmother. She was the last remaining link to our family's history. My siblings and I did our best to help her with her daily life, care for her when she got shingles, arrange for someone to live in with her, but it only postponed the inevitable - her having to leave her home and go into a nursing home. The life seemed to have begun to slip away from her after my mother - her only niece - died. I cried because she didn't die at home, but she did die with her family at her side. She was 90 and she died too young. I cried because I wanted her to live to 100 but I knew she was tired of living.

      I cried when I got the call that my father's last remaining sibling, my aunt, died suddenly one July in her nursing home. I cried because I had planned to visit her that summer. I cried because she had been estranged from us, so many hundreds of miles away, for a long time, but that we had reconnected. I cried because I was glad  I had just spoken to her to wish her a happy birthday, and sent a gift, and she sounded the most coherent and content with her life than she had in a long time. I cried for what a tough life she had had, to be able to say that her home in the nursing home was a good one. I cried because she died with no family by her side.

      Now I cry whenever I hear of people losing the people they loved. I cry for them, and I cry for me.  MCinTX, maybe your tears aren't just for Mary and her sister. Maybe they are also for your husband and his stepmom. You just don't know it yet.

      "Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." (T. Paine)

      by dmmteacher on Sun Jun 05, 2005 at 05:54:12 AM PDT

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