Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blog Journal: Day 20

Today we're talking about the hardest thing we've ever dealt with.

This will be kinda long, as I believe the backstory is important here.

When I was a few months old, my mom left her husband – my biological father. He wasn't a very nice man. While my mom worked to support me, her mother, Grandma Darling, took care of me. As a result I became VERY close to her. In many ways, I saw her more as a second mother than as a grandmother.

Labor Day weekend of third grade, she died. She was 54. She had been battling breast cancer for a couple of years (if my memory is correct), so we knew it was coming. But, I was only 8 (I think), and this was DEVASTATING to me. Absolutely devastating. As I said above, it was like losing a mother. I took comfort in knowing that someday I'll see her again in Heaven, but it still tore me apart.

Exactly a year later, my grandfather (my mom's dad) died suddenly of a massive heart attack. He, too, was 54. He was active, and seemed to be quite healthy, but apparently that wasn't the case. This was a huge shock – and blow – to an already struggling and hurting family. And the timing – to this day that weekend is the roughest of the year for me! To make matters worse, so far as we all know, he died an atheist.

Shortly after that, my great-grandfather (Grandma Darling's father) died, too. I know he was old, and I can't say I remember exactly how he died, but he was a wonderful man. His death was nasty icing on a cake laced with poison.

By the time I entered my teen years, I had one grandparent. And she wasn't very warm. Maybe the fact that she was technically an adoptive grandmother – her son is the only man I've ever known as my dad – was why. I don't know, and never will. She died while I was in college ...

Anyway, as a result of these deaths (I guess), my mom's family pretty much fell apart. She has four brothers, and they just all disappeared. We knew where they were, but no one was talking to anyone. Because of my young age at that point, I can't even guess what all happened. I just know that I went from having a wonderful, loving family to having very little family.

I think that, as a result of all of this pain and loss, I spent a good portion of my childhood – and possibly even teen years – depressed. I have very little recollection of most of my childhood, and maybe that's why.

I know this isn't losing a child or having a miscarriage. But, if you're a parent, imagine your child suffering all of this loss and all of this pain at such a young age. And realize that – as with any loss – it's pain that still flares up on occasion. There are still days I ache for my grandmother – and the others I lost. And Labor Day weekend is STILL a bitch (excuse the language) for me – and my family! Yes, the pain of losing someone lessens over time, but I don't know if it ever goes away.



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