The Unbearable Numbness of Grieving

My father died yesterday. My father who was my closest family member–I am an only child and my mother passed when I was 12–and one of my best friends. He was only 60 years old, and until March, he’d been in very good health. Recently he was doing well, although his strength was depleted due to his fight with liver disease, but he was waiting for a transplant and hopeful. On Friday night, I received a panicked call from him that he was very sick, and I left work and went to West Wareham to his house and called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. I stayed up all night with him, and in the morning, we had him transferred to Boston, where his doctors were. Once we were there, I wanted to sleep, so I told my father I’d just go home for a few hours and then come visit him. When I returned, he’d been sedated and intubated–to preserve his strength, not because he wasn’t breathing on his own. The doctors told me he had an infection, and the infection had turned septic–and that his chances weren’t good, but they’d do their best. Days went by, and he stayed asleep, sedated, responding less and less to both voices and medication. Finally, he didn’t respond at all to voices. The doctors told me that the medication and the machines were what was keeping my dad alive, and had been for days. I begun to face and accept the inevitable, and I wept to the point that I thought I would vomit. After numerous painful conferences, I told the doctors it was time to take him off life support.

That was not even 36 hours ago. The proverbial bottom has dropped out of my world, and I find myself nearly incapable of crying.

I cried a lot this week, while Dad was in the hospital. I cried when decisions were made, and right before and right after–but I’ve barely shed a tear since, and I don’t understand why. I feel like I betrayed my father’s memory by laughing today; by enjoying Thanksgiving. Though I’ve kept three photographs of him in the pocket of my leather jacket since he passed, and pulled them out and looked at them often, I cannot even find tears then–even though the sight of his face makes my throat feel like it’s closing.

I’m actually looking forward to going back to work. I’m so far behind in school that I’m not looking forward to that, but I’m looking forward to work. I have a million things to do, and I’m completely overwhelmed, and I don’t want to be productive, or calm, or laughing. I want to lock myself in a room and sob until I’m convulsing, and scream, and kick holes in the walls. But I know the tears won’t come. They’re waiting, and I wish I knew what they were waiting for.

~ by saltgirlspeaks on 23 November, 2007.

One Response to “The Unbearable Numbness of Grieving”

  1. The other day, I sent out a happy thanksgiving e-mail it was thanksgiving (kind of stating the obvious) a few days later the 25th, i go two replies on from my sister, and one from my friend kieron. Both informed me people had lost their parents.

    Kieron and I’s mutual friend P lost his mum actually on thanksgiving, of course he’s English and doesn’t celebrate. But it does mean I e-mailed him that morning and told him to have a good day. I got the fear that my thanksgiving round robin actually had parent killing properties, which is quite unlikely considering I don’t have your e-mail address, that and I am not got god, but it did drive me back to my flu germ bed for more sleeping.

    Later that same day I logged on to this site and read this post and cried. Was also really relived to see your dad did not die on thanksgiving, I’m not really sure why, maybe just cause I know my e-mail didn’t kill him.

    And also I like the above post as an obit. It’s who he was, and what he did, though the eyes of the person he did most of it for.

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