The Difficult Post

The Difficult Post

Mom and Doug having fun on Christmas 2007.

Today marks exactly one year since Doug died. I have been sort of dreading this day. I’ve actually been dreading this whole holiday weekend  because I knew it would be difficult.

I’ve thought about that day many, many times over the past year. It is impossible to think about without tears welling up, no matter how hard I try to keep it together. I can’t think about that day without crying even just a little bit.

That moment when he died was the worst, most horrible pain I have ever known.  It is still a very raw wound and when I poke at it it hurts.

I wonder a lot why it hurts so much. I’ve lost loved ones before and that was very painful too. But there was something about watching my stepdad  die right in front of me that might have fucked me up just a little bit forever.

I remember my mom telling him to go, to just let go, and he listened to her. He did let go. his breathing became more shallow and then he took his last breath. And when he did It was like my heart just completely broke. I audibly said, “no” because I couldn’t deal with what was happening right in front of me. I couldn’t let go. I didn’t want to let go. And yet I had to let go because he was leaving us.

And then he was gone. It was just his body laying there on the bed. He looked so peaceful, like he could have been asleep. But he wasn’t there. It was the vessel that held him that was left behind, laying there on the bed.

It has taken me three days to write this post. I keep trying add something here at this point about how in that moment of great suffering I have also found great joy. But I can’t seem to write it without it sounding cliche. And I think, also, that the whole finding joy part deserves more than just something tacked onto the end of this post.

I think what I wanted to do today was just acknowledge this moment that happened exactly a year ago because it was significant.

Miss you, Doug.

The Oregon Rain makes me all introspective


At my meditation group there is a friend who has had to deal with a lot of death lately.  She was exasperated and wondered aloud how long she would have to deal with this. “For the rest of your life” was the response.

And this is so true. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I’ve been going through the grieving process. This has been one of the most painful things I have ever been through. And the worst part of it is the thought that I will, most definitely, go through this again. It is inevitable. That seriously sucks. I’m sure that it won’t get better with each new experience. I’ve experienced the death of a loved one in the past. My Grandparents. I still think about them almost every day and they’ve been gone for twenty years. I even cry sometimes when I think about them.

At the same time I’m ok with it. I have to be ok with it. It’s going to happen and I can’t fight it. I guess when it happens I’ll deal with it. I will experience that pain. But rather than dwell on things that haven’t happened yet,  I will enjoy those who are with me right now completely and fully while I’ve got them.

On Grief


I’ve been going to a meditation group once a week. I’ve been going for about 2 months now and I love it. I think it has kind of changed my life. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been interested in Zen and have been reading and learning about it for a couple of years. The only problem is that I hadn’t taken the time to develop a zazen practice. And that is kind of the whole point of Zen.

So anyway, one of my really wonderful new co-workers invited me to a meditation group she goes to on Wednesday nights. I am really shy about meeting new people and it, generally, takes me a long time to work up the courage to go to things like these but I just decided to throw caution to the wind and go. And I’m so glad I did. We sit for 30 minutes and then talk a little bit about an aspect of zen and it usually leads to some really interesting conversations. The people I have met there are the best. There is something really wonderful about being with like-minded people.

So. All of that to tell you about my thoughts on grief.

Grief is an interesting practice. I was talking a little bit about this last night to my fellow meditation groupies. It’s  been a weird experience. I’ve never really had to go through anything like this before. But it’s an interesting emotion to have to deal with, when you analyze it. At least for me. It’s the kind of thing that you are really forced to reckon with. You just can’t ignore it. At least I can’t. It is just so there.  All the time. Sometimes it’s buried inside and I don’t feel it so much. But other times it bubbles up to the surface and I just have to deal with it. It bubbles up at the most inopportune times it seems. It is really an inconvenience, if I was being honest with myself. Because I’m just going along with my life, everything fine, and my thoughts go to something that reminds me of Doug and there it is right there in front of me, needing to be dealt with.

This little line from Michael Rosen‘s picture book, “Going on a Bear Hunt” really distills it down:

“We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We have to go through it.”

This line has run through my head since the day after Doug died and I read some articles about grief. There is an ancient African saying that was quoted on one of these sites:

“There is no way out of the desert except through it.”

I’ve found myself in the desert.

I’ve found myself in front of this obstacle and there is no way of avoiding it. I just have to go through it.

And, boy, do I ever have to go through it.

So I deal with it by crying because that is how my body reacts. And it’s o.k. I need to cry. Crying heals. But sometimes the tears come at the most inopportune times. And it can make people feel uncomfortable because they don’t know how to deal with it. They don’t want to see me (or anyone) sad. It’s hard to see people in pain. And our society is so used to just pushing those feelings down. We are supposed to “buck up” or “pull ourselves together.” When really we need to just get these feelings out. We need to acknowledge them and feel them and experience them for what they are so we can heal.

That’s what grief has taught me. That it is ok to feel negative feelings. And in fact, it is essential to feel them. We are human beings. We feel things. We are sensitive creatures. Life is suffering. We are going to suffer, no question about it. It will happen. And when it does, feel it. experience it.

torn up


My step-dad passed away yesterday morning while I was there. My mom, brother and I were there to hold his hand and tell him much we love him as he was taking his last breath and I’m so glad he had us all there to help him to the other side.

I’m just so torn up though. I will write about the experience at some point. I think I need to. Today though, I just need to grieve.