Letting Go and Saying Goodbye

11 years ago today, my life changed forever. Nothing has been the same since and I know it never will be. It’s taken me 11 years to accept and live with this. I don’t have to “get over” what happened as so many would have me believe. It’s not something to “get over”. It’s something that is part of me and I’ve learned that change isn’t always good and some things never really do get better. And that’s ok.

On April 27, 2005, I woke up to the phone ringing. Isn’t that how these stories always start? So cliché… But I digress. The phone woke me up and my sister was on the other end to tell me something was wrong with my father. I wondered what now could be possibly wrong with him as I had watched him turn into someone I didn’t even recognize over the past few years. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t spoken to him in 3 months time as I was angry with him… something I will always deeply regret. She told me he had woke up in the middle of the night, got out of bed and passed out. He had been taken to the hospital and they were doing a cat scan as he hadn’t woken up since fainting. She told me not to worry yet as they didn’t know much, to go to work and she would call me when she knew more.

I had a bad feeling, so I went to work and cleared my desk. I got a call telling me to come home. They wouldn’t tell me what the cat scan said. They just told me to come home. I was sitting at my desk sobbing, trying to figure out how bad this could be. I made the 2.5 hour trek back to my hometown to the hospital he was in. I’m told that he was in a coma since hitting his head, but that he would squeeze people’s hands when he heard my name. They told him to hang on, to wait for me. And he did.

By the time I got there, he was completely unresponsive. No blinking, no hand squeezing, just a deep sleep. I learned he had a brain tumor. The largest they had ever seen (he’s in some medical journal for it) and it engulfed so much of his brain that nothing could be done. The doctor gave him a week. He didn’t last the day.

I sat beside him and I held his hand. I told him how sorry I was, for fighting, for being angry, for not talking to him, for holding a grudge and being immature. I told him I loved him and I didn’t want him to be in pain or suffer and I was going to miss him and I wouldn’t know what to do without him… but that it was ok for him to go. And he did. I held his hand and I watched him draw his last breath and leave me. And part of me died with him that day. There is a hole in my heart that will always be there. I remember the day of his funeral I heard someone sobbing “No no no no!” and I fell to the ground as I realized it was me. He was only 54, I was only 22 and it was all so sudden. I wasn’t ready.

I was told it takes about a year to get over the death of someone. It’s not true. You never get over it and you don’t have to get over it. It is something that changes you and stays with you. I spent so many years trying to move past my grief instead of accepting it and living with it. I thought it was something to push aside and be angry about. Something to shove aside, push down, push away.

I have since been told that our bodies react to grief similar to a physical trauma. Each year, around the time of the death of a loved one, our body can go into a shock – just like it did initially. Instead of pushing it away, ignoring it, I’ve started being with my grief. Writing about it, thinking about it, crying about it. And honestly, it’s an easier burden to bear.

I am opening these wounds and sharing them with you in case you have had a hard time coping with loss. I want you to know that it’s ok to not be ok. To take time for yourself and be gentle with yourself. Take deep breaths. And cry. Cry until you’ve got nothing left. Watch sad movies, read sad books. Eat junk food. Do what feels right for you. And know that there are people who are there for you.






26 thoughts on “Letting Go and Saying Goodbye

    1. I’m so sorry about your grandma Lacy.
      Thank you for the kind words – it has been you that has inspired me to write more about how I feel instead of just recipes and food. Thank you for everything. You are amazing (and a pretty rockin’ cheerleader too).

  1. Omg Bim Bim, I love that you have the courage to write about this. I felt/feel the same way. I hope that by reading this I can take your advise and come to peace with how things are now.

    1. It was tough! I almost didn’t post it, but I’m trying to be more open in my blog, even if that means sharing things like this. I don’t know if we’ll ever truly be at peace at having lost dad the way we did, but I know each year we grow a bit in our grief. *hugs* Wish I could be with you and mom today. Have a good meal at his fav restaurant =)

  2. Kimmy, this is beautiful. Such a loving tribute and a reminder to love our friends and family well while we have them here. Grief is a powerful feeling. And you’re so right. It’s different for everyone, but accepting the process and being in it is such an import part of healing. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    1. Accepting it is probably hardest. I don’t think I really understood that until recently – I feel like it’s in our nature to fight “negative” feelings.
      Thank you Heather.

  3. It is true, time doesn’t really heal. You get better at coping, maybe, but the grief and the pain and missing part of your heart remain. I have lost someone I loved so much and I am still broken. (And yes, she was a cat, so people are even less understanding.) I think there is an expectation from many parts of society that you will just ‘get over it’. But we don’t. And it is important for people to understand and support that.
    Sending hugs for you. <3 <3 <3 <3

    1. Our pets are a part of our family, I don’t think people should expect less grief from the loss of one. I know there are some who understand though. I’m sorry about your kitty. It is always tough losing a love in our life.
      Thank you Susan =)

  4. Kimmy, your post brought me to tears. It’s true, you do not get over losing someone so close to you no matter what anyone says.

    It’s so brave of you to open yourself up like this.

    (((Hugs))) to you and your family.

  5. Wow girl, I can’t believe how similar your story is to mine. My dad died when I was 18 and he was 53, and we hadn’t been speaking for a week or so (which was really unusual for us). He passed away suddenly from a heart attack the day before my 19th birthday, and I never got to say sorry, which has forever (and will forever bother me). I don’t mean to take away from your post, I just wanted to commiserate. :-) It was really nice to read your story. xo

    1. This doesn’t in any way take away from my post! I appreciate you sharing this with me and feel so sad that you had to go through something similar. And right before your birthday :( That must have been so tough. I hope your birthdays are still a day of joy for you. Thank you for sharing. *hugs*

  6. Hi Kimmy,
    This post was so healing for me since I have been caring for my father who has been critically ill and unable to walk for over eight years. We experience so many emotions including stress, anger, love, regret, confusion, resentment when we are dealing with family and loved ones. All we can do is try to do our best. Be kind to yourself. Healing is a journey. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I appreciate it.

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