Grief changes and is different for everyone and every death. When my dad died I was 32. No one expected it. We were lucky though. He collapsed at the doctors office and rushed across the street to the hospital. That night I knew in my heart he was dying. First time he ever really complained of a headache. He did not get migraines like my mom and me. My dad had a huge glioblastoma. A very aggressive cancer. I remember the doctor described the cancer as being so fast growing that it’s like a flower blossoming overnight. Personally I think that is an insult to the flower–a thing of beauty.
He had surgery and suffered some complications. Literally, two weeks after he was admitted we were taking him off of the vent. Nothing more could be done. I saw no need to keep him alive for my own selfish reasons. Losing my dad damn near killed me. No one expected it. This was pure hell.
My mom on the other hand, at some point we all knew her body would give out. She had a lot of close calls. It literally is amazing at how much the body can stand. Because of her nutritional deficits, she nearly lost a toe and she literally had no body fat. Mom did not even have the insulating brown fat anymore. Her doctor cautioned her about being outside in the cold. The weight got so low and the nutrition so poor that her body basically ate itself. She developed stomach cancer. Mom admitted to the doctor she had been having pain for about a year but had just ignored it. By the time they did surgery, the cancer took over her stomach and the entire abdominal wall. The surgeon said she had never seen anyone this small. Ironically at the end, I had to convince her to turn the tube feed off. It wasn’t doing her any good. She was hesitant saying, “I don’t want anyone to think I am starving myself”. How utterly ironic.
When my mom died it was like the other foot finally dropped. I knew my whole life it would happen just didn’t know when. I miss her. I cry. Her death was different. Her death was more expected. I was 41 When she gained her angel wings
Death and grief is different across the board. I do my best to honor both of my parents in little ways. Either way, I hope and pray I make them proud.