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Wed Jan 1, 2014, 11:38 PM

Working my way through the loss of my Dad

Dad passed away just before the end of August. He'd been very ill in March and had made his peace, happy that he had turned 90, but he recovered and way doing pretty good until a catastrophic event that ended his awareness a week before he passed.

At the same time I pretty much lost my little sister and her oldest daughter. They acted as though they were the only ones losing our father and were very inconsiderate and at some points extremely cruel to my mother. I may never speak to either of them again, I am that angry with their actions.

We're losing Mom, too. At 92 the loss of her husband of 67+ years is accelerating her previously mild dementia. She's still hanging in there, but I can see the deterioration in just the last few months.

47of74's thread about the memory bear that his/her aunt gave his/her grandma (http://www.democraticunderground.com/1234790) made me think about what I have begun working on. My Mom has a memory bear that was made from clothing of our brother in law after he passed and she treasures that bear.

My older sister gave me eight plaid shirts that were my Dad's and I was supposed to find someone to make memory bears from them. Instead I am making them myself. So far I've done the sewing on two of them, but still need to stuff them, stitch the seams shut, and sew the faces on. I'm carefully cutting the collars from the shirts and will button them on each bear.

I started wondering why I have taken this on - I don't really want a memory bear. I don't give a shit if my little sister or her crazy daughter want them. I'm stitching them for my Mom and will let her select who gets which bear. If I do keep one, it may be made from the leftover scraps. mom wants the bears to each be made completely from a single shirt so she won't even notice if I keep one made from the extra bits. With Mom, my sisters, and the grandchildren, there are nine people who might want memory bears - we don't have enough shirts. Maybe I can get two bears from the scraps and someone else will want a mixed up bear.

Tonight I decided that this is one way I am working out the loss of my Dad. I think the hardest day is yet to come. February 2 would have been Mom & Dad's 68th wedding anniversary. At least Mom will have a memory bear from Dad's shirt to hold that day.

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Reply Working my way through the loss of my Dad (Original post)
csziggy Jan 2014 OP
BlueStreak Jan 2014 #1
csziggy Jan 2014 #3
LineNew Reply .
NRaleighLiberal Jan 2014 #2
csziggy Jan 2014 #4
NRaleighLiberal Jan 2014 #5
csziggy Jan 2014 #6

Response to csziggy (Original post)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 11:48 PM

1. People deal with this different ways

I'm really sorry to hear your little sister took a direction that isn't helping. One would like to think that this would be a time that the family could come together, and set aside other petty things.

But sadly it doesn't always work out that way. You have to work on your grief and not let the others get you down. It sounds like you are doing exactly that. I know you are putting your love into those bears, and I think others will feel that love.

Good luck with your steps ahead.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 11:56 PM

3. Thank you

I've been talking to a grief counselor. I want to be sure that my anger at my little sister does not hurt my Mom or make my older sister's life more difficult. (My older sister is executor and she is also in charge of Mom's care at this point.) If I have to be civil to my little sister to make things easier for the people I do still care about, I will - but it will be very hard for me.

In a way I think making the bears will be a penance for me and a way to set aside my anger and to think about my grief - something I have been avoiding.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Wed Jan 1, 2014, 11:51 PM

2. .



Boatloads of empathy coming my way to you. As 2014 starts, I was journaling today about 2013. My wife lost her mom in October - it wasn't all that sudden, but was far more of a family drama than was desired - she ended up somewhat estranged from her brother and sister (long, long story - my wife tried to be the "adult" in the room and kept her mom's best interests front and center, but the other two had their own agendas working). My wife lost 2 friends, and an older woman she was caretaker for, very close to the same time. Sue is an amazing woman - one of her current jobs is sewing memory quilts for families, ironically enough. It has been tough for me to watch her go through the dance of trying to stay connected with 2 people she loves, even as they all mourn the loss of their mom.

At the same time, my mom is nearing the end, in a nursing home in Florida - my brother is the nearby caretaker, and it has taken an awful toll on my relationship with him. We are heading south for a visit some time in the next few weeks. I dread it for many reasons, but it is an important trip as well.

Families are so complex...and loss so difficult.

here's to finding peace in the new year.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 2, 2014, 12:04 AM

4. Thank you

Condolences to Sue. I understand what she went through - my little sister acted like the spoiled child she is. At 56 she should be beyond that. I'm doing my best to support my older sister in the things she has to do taking care of Mom and of Dad's affairs. She's been doing it for months and is catching flack from little sister and from Mom now that Mom's dementia is advancing.

I hope you can work things out with your brother - it sounds as though he is like my older sister, taking care of things. Do have a good visit with your Mother. Every second counts.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 2, 2014, 12:08 AM

5. ..and thank you. What Sue and I will probably do is mix our trip -

spend 3 days with my brother in the Brandon area, then drive down to Captiva or Sanibel (we've not been there) and spend a few days - it will be right around each of our birthdays - to mix some fun/each other time with the family duty time.

We did the same thing in October - the rough week, followed by a few days in Vermont revisiting our old dating grounds. Was quite something, not having been back there in 33 years!

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 2, 2014, 12:16 AM

6. That Southwest coast is pretty

And this time of year the birdwatching is great if you're into that. I love the "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. Even when my knees were bad and I couldn't hike, I could see lots of birds from the wildlife drive. http://www.fws.gov/dingdarling/

My other favorite place down that part of the state is Corkscrew Swamp outside of Naples. http://www.corkscrewsanctuary.org/ Really nice boardwalk and lots of birds. Last time I went, I took my electric scooter down the boardwalk. Next time, I'm hiking the whole thing with my new knees!

We tend not to do the beaches, being native Floridians, but we love the wildlife!

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