This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, i would suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you … find one and get a life!

In which bad things happen

 

I wrote a post the other day about how it seemed that so many people in my kid’s lives have died and somebody wrote me a comment about it.  That article is here.

 

The comment basically said:

“Is it harder to lose a loved one when you’re young or older? I don’t know. The losses I’m been through have ranged from so gut wrenching, I wanted to die as well, to what I guess you’d call a ‘normal’ loss. Painful, but expected and possibly a blessing in disguise.”

What’s worse? Learning to deal with it when you’re young”

 

That’s an interesting question and I’m not sure there’s any set answer.  The first person that my kids knew who died was my mom.  She died at 4 Am on a Saturday morning.  I had taken Keely to see her the night before because, at age 7, she was more aware of what was happening and was very upset and had a “bad” dream about ‘gramma’.

 

She drew her a picture and dropped it off and that was the last time any of us saw her alive.  Coincidentally, that Saturday we were having Andie’s 6th birthday party at a skating rink.  I decided that since there was obviously nothing that we could do for my mom and my dad had his siblings there as well as my mom’s sister, that we would go ahead and have Andie’s birthday party.

 

I wanted to show my kids that although bad things happen, life still goes on.  Of course, the party was a CALAMITY although in a very funny way.  I’m not sure I’ve actually written about that yet but I will.

 

At any rate, we had the party and life did indeed go on.  Less than two years later we were burying my dad.  Although I miss my parents terribly, the thing that makes me the saddest is that my kids never got to know them and they never got to know my kids.  I had incredible parents but I KNOW that I loved them and that they LOVED me.  Not a lot of people get that.

 

However, I was once talking to my mother-in-law and we were discussing her mom who had died at 101.  She was telling me that she shouldn’t feel so bad because I lost my mom so young and she had her mom so long.  I responded that I “didn’t think you could quantify loss like that.”  I mean, if my mom had been around for literally my entire adult life, it would have been devastating to say good-bye.  I can’t imagine having had her for 70 years and then she’s gone.  To me, that almost seems harder.

 

Also, as I watch Kevin deal with the aging of his parents and I hear other horror stories from my friends dealing with their loved ones, I can’t help but feel relieved that I’ve already dealt with this situation.  Although it was awful losing my parents so young, I never had to deal with the desperation that I see those who deal with dementia and other ailments.

 

So, in a way, I take solace in the fact that I had my parents while they were young enough, smart enough, and fun enough to really enjoy life.  Is that terrible?  I have no idea but it’s certainly how I feel.

 

As to losing people while you’re young, I can say with great authority that every kid I’ve known who has lost a parent when they were young (maybe not very, very young) but certainly in their teens, has had a drastic affect on their lives.  Loss of innocence, loss of a feeling of safety; it’s really taken it’s toll on these kids.

 

The fact is that you can’t control all the situations around you and that death seems to be a normal part of life.  Just the other day, another kid that my girl’s knew at school died in a car accident.  It gets to the point where you get jaded and used to it.  I suppose that what you need to teach your kids is that “bad things happen” and that “life goes on!”

 

That’s certainly what I’ve attempted to do.

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24 Comments

  1. By Word of Mouth Musings
    September 30, 2011

    My children have not had to deal with a loss yet, their grandparents are all still with us and in their 60’s.
    I cannot imagine my life without my parents here … just can’t do it.
    And extended family is so far away that the losses are really just names to us.

    You do have to teach your kids that sadly, bad things do happen … but cushioning them from the pain is so much easier right now ..

    • Lynn
      September 30, 2011

      well, it’s not like i would have gone to seek death; but it’s visited a lot!! just trying to teach them to deal

  2. ChiMomWriter
    September 30, 2011

    As someone who lost my mom when she was 8, I can absolutely say it absolutely shook my world, and continues to impact how I form relationships and now who I am with my own children.

    But you’re right here – You can’t qualify a loss. When a close friend lost her mom when she was 21, she kept telling me I’d had it worse. Not worse – different. She had grown to the point where her mom was her best friend. That’s a loss I can’t even begin to comprehend. And in the end, it’s not a pissing contest. It’s one of those crappy things in life that if nothing else, hopefully reminds us to live a little better the rest of the time.

    From my own experience as a kid, what I want to show my kids IS that life goes on, but also that it’s okay to remember and talk about those people as well. That stories and memories are okay. It’s not something allowable when I was young, and “erasing” those family members from our lives was more confusing than the loss itself.

    (I am hoping you write about the birthday party.)
    ChiMomWriter recently posted..Get Inspired and Help 70,000 People At The Same TimeMy Profile

    • Lynn
      September 30, 2011

      i have so many stories to write about but keep getting side tracked. It’s weird how people always think that “you had it worse”. I mean, it ALL sucks. To me, it was about closure.

  3. Katja Brown
    September 30, 2011

    Humans are very complex beings and everyone that has experienced a loss deals with it in their own ways. You can not make it better or worse by comparing your own loss with the loss that somebody else experienced. All you can do is speculate about the “what if’s.”

    I think live is too precious to get hung up with the “what if’s.” Live life to the fullest, this day might be your last day on this earth.

    • Lynn
      September 30, 2011

      i just try to keep on keeping on for the most part

  4. Julie
    September 30, 2011

    As a mother of an only child, seeing her reaction to having to put her cat to sleep (Emma was 18 years old at the time) put me in a situation I had never had to deal with before (death). The cat was 16 years old and to Emma, her “sibling”. It devestated her but also was a huge learning experience for her. (I am aware that I am wording this poorly.) She still has both sets of grandparents and the loss of her cat actually taught her to appreciate them more. This is making no sense at all, but she did learn that shit does indeed happen AND that life goes on AND to appreciate what and who she has, just a little bit more.

    • Lynn
      September 30, 2011

      no…i get that. It actually is very difficult to put a pet to sleep. We’ve had to do it too!

  5. Name *
    September 30, 2011

    I am 25 years old. I am friendly, I love being around people, and I have many, many friends. In the past 6 years, I have lost 11 (eleven!!) people who were close to me, the most recent being last weekend. Only 2 were over the age of 29. This has rocked my life in unimaginable ways. If it was not for my Dad’s comfort, my community, and my remaining friends, I honestly think I would go crazy. If your kids want to talk about it, please sit and listen…do not give cliche answers. My mom does that, and it angers me beyond all belief. LISTEN to what they are saying and come up with a personalized response. It will make the tears go away for a little while. Ensure them that the spirit lives on. If i did not believe that I would feel incredibly lost. I think it is wonderful how much you support them and want to make them feel better.
    A quote I have at my desk at work, for when I start to become upset: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” –Elizabeth Kubler Ros

    • Lynn
      September 30, 2011

      That’s a LOT of people. I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t give my kids platitudes. I just try to be there and tell them only time will help. You can’t make sense of it. Some death is preventable…most isn’t.

      I’m glad you have a support system.

  6. SingleishMom
    September 30, 2011

    My son is still too young to understand, but he will learn about loss in the sense of absence of people. My parents have both passed away, and it kills me that he will never know them.

    I also hate it when people play the “who had it worse” game. There are no winners in that game. (I’ve actually started writing a post on that, but I haven’t quite finished it yet.) Just because someone has experienced tragedy doesn’t mean that your life isn’t hard (or the opposite, for that matter).
    SingleishMom recently posted..Taking the First StepMy Profile

    • Lynn
      September 30, 2011

      i know…i hate that too! My daughter has a tumor and she acts like NOBODY else ever had a problem. Just because her’s is a bigger problem doesn’t negate the impact of the other peoples problems. It is ridiculous how people will try to top you in the “i had it so terrible” thing.

      • SingleishMom
        September 30, 2011

        Yeah, I dropped a friend from college because of that. She was always trying to one-up me, no matter what the situation. Her classes were harder, her boyfriend was sweeter, her grades were higher. I’m not really sure why I stayed friends with her, but the last straw was a few years after college when I called her because I really needed a friend. The conversation went like this:

        Me, in tears: “My mom was just diagnosed with breast cancer.”
        Her: “Oh. Well, *my* grandma died!”

        I got off the phone as quickly as I could and I haven’t spoken to her since. (Although I wonder if I’d “win” now, since BOTH my parents are dead. GO me! )

        I hope for the best for your daughter and for a quick recovery.
        SingleishMom recently posted..Taking the First StepMy Profile

        • Lynn
          September 30, 2011

          i know people like that…here’s the thing. my brother was hit by a car when i was 7 and he was 10 and he was disfigured. He had to have this major surgery in NY. My dad once told me that it was unbelievable how messed up some of the kids up there were. He said, “no matter how bad things are, there’s always someone worse.” That’s always stayed with me. I never try to top anybody. Cuz honestly, your broken finger hurts YOU more than my broken leg would hurt me, ya know?

          See ya

  7. Redshoes51
    September 30, 2011

    I am not sure the timing really matters… when someone dies, it’s a loss. It’s suffered and endured by someone. If anything, maybe the younger we are, the more confused we are about what has transpired…

    I wish I wish I WISH I could have had my Mom and Dad longer… *sighs*

    ~shoes~

    • Lynn
      September 30, 2011

      Me too! My kids barely remember them :(

  8. Julie
    September 30, 2011

    My children, the oldest in her second year of college, have yet to experience death with a close relative. While the time is coming, I’m afraid it’s going to happen all at once. Just be grateful for every day. Cliche I know, but it’s true. And thank you for making me laugh with your blog!

    • Lynn
      September 30, 2011

      Well, it s not like it gets easier though so putting it off isn’t bad either. I wish my kids had known my parents.

      Thanks for reading and enjoying my blog!!! :)

  9. RCB
    October 2, 2011

    Hi there, Lynn. I think that when it comes to grief it’s not so much the number of years that matter but first and foremost how close you were to the deceased. Of course, this is a subjective thing. Ideally, we don’t want to lose anyone we love, right?
    RCB recently posted..BrainwormsMy Profile

    • Lynn
      October 3, 2011

      I agree…it’s difficult whenever it happens…

  10. TheZB
    October 4, 2011

    I hate that all the loss in my life has left me a bit jaded. Not only are there a LOT of deaths in my past, but divorces as well. (Not me, but my mother, my aunt, their mother, their father…) Between just those 4 people, there have been 15 or 16 marriages. Although *most* of those involved are still living, and other than my mom’s divorces none of those really affected me directly, the end of my mom’s marriages resulted in absolute severing of contact from whoever she had been married to. With every new marriage, we moved, further cutting us off from whatever had been familiar. Although I’m a fairly well-adjusted chick, and am myself happily married despite the long odds against it, I still find myself struggling on occasion to be open with others rather than cracking cynical jokes to keep distance. Seriously? Every male figure in my life has either died or dropped off the face of the earth.

    But I also have a friend who lost her mother and younger sister within the 4 years of high school, who dealt with the new “evil-stepmother” who she wasn’t able to connect with for a long time and went back and forth between living with her dad and grandparents.

    There is no better or worse when it comes to tragedy and trauma. It all sucks, and we just have to power through it and try not to think about what’s going to knock us in the chin next. Otherwise, we totally miss the point.

    • Lynn
      October 4, 2011

      Wow! That’s awful…and I know what you mean.

      In less than two years both my parents died and my son was diagnosed as autistic. It’s tough! I hate that for you but as I told Keely when she first got her tumor. It’s not the adversity, it’s how we respond to it that defines us.

      Loved your comment..loved it!!!

  11. Susan R.
    October 7, 2011

    Nicely written Lynn! It certainly touched my heart, along with a big tear in my eye. Brought back wonderful memories of your sweet, kind, fun, lovely parents. Most vividly in the summers at their pool.

    Blessings to Keely! Great message to her and all of us to always keep close at heart….It’s not the adversity, it’s how we respond to it that defines us.

    Love to you, my dear ole’ friend!

    • Lynn
      October 7, 2011

      Thanks Susan…appreciate it

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