Snippets of Grief

If you run into me — at work, the store, what have you — you won’t know.  You probably won’t see the sadness.  I’m going through my days as my usual hard-working, goofy self.  You’ll probably think I’m doing really well.  I’m not.  I just don’t show it in public.  At home, especially when I’m alone, I feel like I’m drowning in grief.  I can almost taste it.


The other day, when we were out to lunch, “Sweet Caroline” was playing.  We were chatting away, but my mind was someplace else.  Remembering.  On a cruise.  A mariachi band.  And my dad.  We all sang that song at the top of our lungs.  In the middle of a restaurant.  On a cruise.


I can’t remember what my dad looked like without looking at a picture.  When I close my eyes, I can only see him the way he looked hours before his death.  So gaunt.  I remember how strange his jaw looked.  I remember the way his eyes bulged.  I feel sick when I think about how he looked when the priest performed his last rites.  He couldn’t talk to us anymore, but he was so alert.  Did he want to say something?  Was he scared?  I felt terrified for him, and that image still haunts me daily.


I want to find a way to say thank you for your emails, your tweets, your cards, your prayers.  I just can’t seem to find the emotional energy to do so.  I can’t find the right words, and it just makes me want to cry again anyway.  So even though what you’ve done means so much to me, it goes without thanks.


I’m pretty sure I’ll never get anyone a plant when their parent dies.  It seems like such a nice gesture, but then the plants come home with you.  There’s nothing quite like a peace lilly sitting in your kitchen whispering, “Hey, remember when your dad died?” every time you walk in the room.  There’s nothing like feeling you need to take care of that glaring reminder of your loss.


Even though you probably don’t see it, the sadness is there.  It’s just under the surface.  A raw wound that constantly reopens.  It will heal in time.  But not today.


  1. Oh, Erin. Please go easy on yourself. So little time has passed – how can you possibly be expected to be OK? You can’t be. It will hurt for along time – sharp, & then dull, & then a void… always there. But you’ll learn to deal with it in a way that doesn’t hurt so much, to remember him fondly instead of with all of this pain. The images of him in death will fade into memories of him as you knew him all along, bringing you happiness instead of this overwhelming ache. You can’t be expected to be OK now – but you will be. I promise, promise, promise that you will be.

    When my friends’ fathers die, I always think of this exchange from “Grey’s Anatomy,”

    CRISTINA: “There’s a club. The Dead Dads Club. And you can’t be in it until you’re in it. You can try to understand, you can sympathize. But until you feel that loss… My dad died when I was nine. George, I’m really sorry you had to join the club.”
    GEORGE: “I… I don’t know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn’t.”
    CRISTINA: “Yeah, that never really changes.”

    Thinking of you, Erin. I’m so sorry you had to join the club. But as someone who’s been in it for a very, very long time, I can only reassure you that eventually, while you’ll never stop missing him, you’ll stop hurting this much.

  2. Oh hell. I just typed a whole comment and then it deleted it. F.

    I am sending you big freaking hugs. I can’t imagine what you are going through.

    I was 13 when my grandfather passed away and I can remember thinking that I needed to go up and say my goodbyes and put my rose (all three grandkids put a rose in the casket) in the casket. I reached out and touched his hand and have never forgotten that that hand did not feel like my grandfather. Then ten years later when my grandmother passed away I knew I couldn’t do it. That was not her in the front of the church. She tied a green peice of yarn around her hair as a hairband. In the winter she wore a pair of polyester pants under her dresses to keep warm. She let me brush her hair and always said she needed to get waddling somewhere. The perfectly coiffed lady with blush on was not my grandmother. I wanted to remember my images of her, not those moments before the casket was closed.

    I can’t imagine being with your dad during those moments, so I am imagining it is similar to what I described above. That is not the man that was your father. He was so much more.

    I don’t know if you read Kim at Miss Zoot, but she lost her dad to cancer about two years ago and has written often about her struggles. You may find some support in her writing.

    Big hugs my dear. Big hugs.

  3. Grief isn’t measured in time…not normal time anyway. I think it’s measured in waves–in the beginning the waves crash hard, all the time, but there’s still a pause between them as you do the things you need to do. Then the waves may get smaller, but they’re still there, and there’s still a crest and a fall. There’ll be little waves and big waves and pauses in between.

    Which is to say, you take those waves however you can. And don’t feel like you have to ignore them,or make them go faster, or explain them to any of us. It’s grief.


  4. Oh honey, the reason love and support is offered is not because anyone (anyone normal) is looking for thanks. It’s offered because it is needed, and a blanket “I’m drowning, thank you for noticing and caring and offering love” is PLENTY. We (again, the normal part of the Interwebs) are here to let you know that you are loved and we know you are hurting. We may not be able to do much about it, but we know.

    You are amazing. Sending lots of hugs and love and snippets of happiness to counteract the grief.


  5. Throw the plant out.
    Hug your babies.
    Cry, be upset, be hurt, be angry.
    Scream at the universe for screwing you over.
    …But then remember the good things. Remember his voice, his laugh, special moments that you will cherish forever. Write about him in the baby books so the girls will know him too. And I know it is easier said than done, but try to find peace in the knowledge that he is free from discomfort and suffering. He is soaring with the angels, and watching over you and your family always.

  6. I’m so sorry, Erin. I can’t imagine the pain you must be feeling, but I do know that it’s completely okay to not be okay. Take good care of yourself.

  7. That part above, about not knowing how to exist in a world without your dad? And that never really changing? It’s true, Erin, and almost nine years later I’m still learning that a little more each day. I know each situation is different, each father-daughter relationship is different, but please know it’s more than okay to not be okay… yet, or ever again. There’s a part of me that I know will never be okay. And that? IS okay.

    Take care of yourself. Cry when you want, get pissed when you want.

    Eventually, you will stop seeing your dad at his worst, and you will even start to remember him at his best, without trying. Those are the good days.

    Love you.

  8. I wish I had the words to comfort you right now, but I know from experience that nothing I can type here can help to ease your pain. Simply know that I am praying for you and your family. That time brings you peace and a sense of healing. *hugs*

  9. Erin, I cannot imagine how you are feeling. Losing my dad is something I don’t want to think about. I’m so sorry for your loss and I hope you find comfort and strength in your family and that with time, the loss will feel less painful.

  10. Valentina says:

    Still thinking of you and hoping things become a little more bearable with time. Don’t worry yourself about sending thanks to those who care about you – people care and know that you are going through so much…nothing is necessary other than you take good care of yourself.

  11. I don’t think the wound ever fully heals. There will always be times when you surprise yourself that you’re struck with grief. That said, it does get easier with time (easy for me to say, right? jerk!). The first year, the year full of firsts without your dad, is REALLY TOUGH. I don’t doubt you’re still overcome with grief and will be for some time. Know I’m thinking of ya … and wishing you strength to get through the tough times and peace for the times thereafter.

  12. I will just hug you tomorrow.
    I hope that will help in some small way. Even if just for a second.
    I think of you often, and am always here even if you just need another shoulder to lean on.

  13. Breanne says:

    Continued thoughts and prayers to you and yours.

  14. Just want to reach out and give you a hug. And say ditto to the comments above.

  15. I was thinking of you yesterday (In a not creepy, stranger from the internet way)… I am so sorry for your loss and I can only imagine how hard this is for you. But, you’re in my thoughts and prayers. Best wishes to you and your family.

  16. I am so sorry I haven’t been to your blog in too long and am just catching up. Oh, Erin, I am so very sorry for your loss. I can’t even imagine what you are feeling, how hard this is. Love and peace and hugs to you sweet, sweet friend. xoxo

  17. all you can do is take it one day at a time *hugs*

  18. This is my first time to your blog, but I had to post after reading this. I lost my dad on 5/14, so I know where you are. My dad was my everything, my best friend, the one person in my life that I went to and confided in for everything. That man was my life and world. This time last year, he was perfectly healthy. I had just moved back home w/ my l’il girl after ending a seven year relationship. I moved into my grandmother’s house next door to my parents on our 40 acre farm. He was the most stable father figure my daughter has ever known. Then in October, out of no-where he was diagnosed w/ stage 4 small cell lung cancer. He had just had a scan 3 months prior and was completely fine. After rigorous treatments w/ chemo & radiation (which w/ hind site, it made him so sick I wish we had just left it alone) the last week of April they told us there wasn’t any more that could be done.
    I’ve been in this black well of depression since. I can’t take a single step around this place w/o feeling his presence and missing him. I’ve never been more than 2-3 days w/o seeing him, never more than a day w/o talking to him. There are times when I don’t even want to go on, I am finding it hard to pray, I feel guilty anytime I laugh.
    It’s hard, and I know everything you are feeling. All we can do is hope that eventually it gets easier and not shut out those that love us. You are in my prayers. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

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