Jun 14, 2016

Now I Can Find Relief. I Grieve.

(song: I Grieve/artist: Peter Gabriel)

My therapist told me to write. Doctor’s orders.

My dad died. 
Every time I write it or say it, it still feels like the first time. 
My dad died. 
My dad is dead.
My dad was old. 
He was one of those “he had a full life” cases. 
He was 86. 
My dad died when he was 86.

My dad started 24-hour oxygen in June of 2015. I spent the last 8 months traveling back-and-forth from NY to GA to spend as much time with him as I could, except January when I was under strict orders not to travel after my back surgery. I called my dad the morning of my surgery and demanded he stay alive until I could fly again. We laughed but we knew that neither of us got that choice so we said goodbye every time we talked.

Feb. 2016 - We both survived my surgery, and for awhile were cane twins.

I was lucky because I knew he was dying. I knew that every conversation I had with my dad was one chat closer to the last. I audio-recorded our conversations and made short videos of him telling stories and jokes. I wrote parts of his eulogy while he was still alive so that I could share my memories with him. I knew the end was coming and I know how lucky I am to have been able to say goodbye over the course of 9 months. I mistakenly believed that this gift of time and knowledge would make things easier when I became a member of the Dead Parent Club.

But, no. It still came as a shocking blow to get that call on May 12th. I had been willfully ignoring the impact that the end-of-life experience with my dad would have, and how abrupt the end would feel even though we knew it was coming. In some ways, the past 9 months with my dad was more meaningful than the collective 41 years I had with him. In every way, right now.

I feel broken. I look normal on the outside but I am hollow on the inside. I'm so angry. I want to go for a run, but I can't. I still can't fucking run! Even if I could run, I feel painfully awkward when I'm outside of my home. I feel so different right now. I have all the textbook grieving stuff going on – intermittent waves of sobbing (occasionally in public), constant fatigue but inability to stay asleep, forgetfulness, guilt, self-loathing, weight gain, anger…lots and lots of anger. In short, I'm a mess. 

I just want to hide. And that's exactly what I'm going to do when I go back to Georgia for summer vacation. The last trip of the year. Time to unplug and take care of me. 

Have a great summer, y'all. See you in September.

Let the healing begin.


  1. janet Locke6/14/16, 9:45 PM

    I understand Allison. Beautifully written. Grief is part of all my days, but has opened me up to an even deeper love for life. Bless you.

  2. Praying for you and your family. With a sick and aging parent, I felt every word. It's amazing how unique the experience feels even though it's one of life's most natural stages that's shared by so many. Again, praying for your peace.

    1. Thank you so much, Akiba. It helps to know that so many people really understand. Your words are so appreciated. I'm also praying for your peace.