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  • Mary-Sue Cowell

The Waves of Grief

It has been a long three months of loss. In May we were navigating a new cancer diagnosis for my father and by the middle of June we had to say goodbye. It has been hard and made even more difficult in light of Covid. I am grateful for the time we spent with him and the access we were granted to him during his hospitalization but there is no preparation for the finality of death and navigating this life without him.

The death of my father means the loss of so many things. The end of a life of memories; his interpretations of time with our family. Places and things that only he knew or remembered are gone. It feels as though I have no one to reference if I forget a connection to family or a name of place; a piece of my history is gone.

A lifetime of his memories are gone. A man I knew so well but feel like there was so much more to know. His laugh... and his yell; gone. His grandchildren do not have their Gido anymore. I don't have my weather man or co-pilot; I would often call my dad even while driving to Costco or to the cabin. We spoke often.

Many; myself included see 79 years as a full life and the cycle of life as ending how it should. In fact my father said he was grateful it was him in the hospital and not my brother or I because that is how life should go; parents die before their children after living a long, good life. He also told me that I am strong and I will get through this because I have navigated so many other difficult things in my life... and he is right.

What we did not see coming was that not even a month after saying goodbye to my father my husband's father would die suddenly and on the same day my mother in law would suffer a heart attack. I thought I was at a loss for words on what this feels like with my dad. I really struggle to find them now.

Grief comes at me in waves. Memories can create happiness and contentment but it can also be sad and dark at times. I am riding these waves, if I don't see the sun and the shore I feel like I am missing the point. There are lessons in loss... and I am trying to find them.

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