On Death

Trying to make sense of Death in the first month of mourning

His last week; Cambodia, Feb 25, 2019

March 3, 2019 (My dad’s first day at the hospital)

I fucked up. I shouldn’t have brought him to the island. And maybe not to Cambodia. But things like this happen and I can’t feel responsible either. I just need him to get better.

Kidney failure?

What the fuck. I didn’t think he was that bad. How could this happen?

March 4

Dread. All I feel is dread.

Anything to take my mind off this misery. This uncertain misery which might somehow be worse than any possible outcome.

We came to the hospital for him to get better and now he’s just worse.

March 5

They said he has a 20 percent chance to live. Why does he have to die like this? I want him to die in peace. He’s hooked up to all those machines, but he's not getting better. What is the point?

He just wants to go home.

Ironic. He went to Asia for the second time and this is the time he is close to death — not when he was drafted for the Vietnam war 50 years ago.

March 5 — Thanks

Thank you for pretending you’re a monster in the basement so that we could squeal with excitement.

Thank you for coming to all my soccer games and taking me to practice, to school, to friends’ houses and often seeming like it’s what you wanted to do.

Thank you for taking a risk and coming to South America and Asia with me and completely going with the flow. Because you trust me.

March 6 — Gone

March 7

You squeezed life so tight it made you too bleed too.

March 7–10 — The Eulogy

His love is still here.

March 11 — Grief

Grief is a terrible mix of anger devastation enlightenment and confusion. Humbling.

I get to one day make peace with your death. In fact, I already do on and off. But do you? It all happened so fast; how could you have?

March 13

Some people are destined to die while they’re still very much alive. To never go grow old and frail. My dad was one of those people.

March 14 — Dreams

I had a dream the other night about his fever and in the dream, I did things over a different way — we got to the hospital sooner, and the verdict was that he would still die. Maybe that was his love trying to comfort me and tell me it’s okay.

But I still feel guilty — like he was in my care in some way. Why did I push him so far and hard? I didn’t know he couldn’t do it. He was tired and his immune system was weak.

I tried to do what I thought was right at any given moment, what was best for him given what he wanted. And he didn’t want to play it safe. He expressly said he didn’t want to play it safe.

And I thought he’d be fine too.

A part of me regrets this all completely.

And a part of me knows this is the only way it could have gone. This was his time. This is when he was meant to go.

March 18 — Memories

I smelled his clothes today. They had that musty sweet smell: my dad.

I remember hugging him, something we stopped doing as much when I was a teenager and needed to keep my distance from my parents. Something that started back up again as I became more open as an adult; still something we did not do enough.

March 21

I write to make sense of what goes on inside me. To tell myself a story that I can understand and digest.

But I can’t make sense of this. I try and try to write about it. But nothing about it is comprehensible.

March 23

He just wanted to be comfortable. He has just wanted a chair to sit on. This weight hasn’t lifted. I’m able to bear it most of the day but then sometimes I just can’t. And I feel like the world is over.

And then I remember it’s not what you would want. I remember that maybe you’re somewhere better despite how you suffered.

And that whatever It is now, it’s good. It’s peaceful. And that you got to see so much beauty in the world and in loving us.

March 31

All of a sudden, he turned from a person to just a memory. And that memory, like all memories, is fickle. It will warp over time. In my mind, his existence will become further and further from the truth of who he really was.

No matter what I imagine, it won’t really be him. It’ll just be impressions, anecdotes — that’s all that will be left. Already, that’s all that is left.

And one day when I’m gone too, no one will even remember him. He will only be a concept. “My grandfather was…” my unborn children will say. They are only concepts too.

April 1 — Contemplations

I scream: “Why?” I Plead louder: “Why did you have to go?”

The universe responds with a chuckle: “Oh, but you knew all along this is how it would end — didn’t you?”

I sit alone with my pity.

April 2

I know it won’t stay like this, as in I won’t feel like I do forever. But the world will remain a darker place.

I’ve become more afraid. Of dying. Of others I love suddenly dissapearing.

April 2

I’m grateful my father died within a few days. That this wasn’t dragged out over weeks or months.

I'm grateful there was no recovery in which he got “better” but could no longer live his life. That there was no panic after the panic.

As it is, he survived longer than he should have; the doctors kept him alive. Used machines so he could continue to breathe and eat. Even though he would die anyway.

I wanted them to kill him.

I couldn’t bear it any longer, seeing him suffer. And I was scared to face what might come next if he didn’t die there.

Who can I tell this to? Who will hear me? My father had no choice. I'm not even sure he knew he was dying. I guess we all had hope for some time, two days or so, that this might turn around. That his body might start fighting the infection.

He was healthy and vibrant, yes, but he was also an old man.

Why delay the inevitable for a shitier life? To come out of it all frailer and never recover? Who knows what it would have been like otherwise.

April 3 — Hear my case

The world has cheated me. And there’s no one I can go to. No lawyer. No jury. No court of appeals. There’s nothing I can say that can change it. Nothing I can do to go back.

The world isn’t the same place it was. It’s not the same place it always was. ALWAYS WAS.

My dad was a part of me. His existence an integral part of my psyche. My plastic child brain was formed around his being here.

And now my sweet dad is gone. It’s so obvious. Yet so unbelievable at the same time.

April 4

An impassioned sorrow is now a dull omnipresent pain at the back of my heart where the world stabbed me.

April 5 — Anger

This is no longer about my dad. He’s not here. It’s about me. At first, I felt bad for him, and I still do feel pity when I remember him suffering.

However, his loved ones, we are the ones who are suffering now.

My dad was the leader in so many ways. He was the one with the plan, with the cool head. And he just left us to fend for ourselves. After providing and giving so much. With no warning. No instructions on all the things I would ever want to ask him. And there have been many in just a few weeks:

How do I do my taxes?

What’s the name on the car insurance?

Why couldn’t he anticipate this? Why couldn’t he have prepared us more?

I feel helpless. The world has conspired against me. And now he’s passed to the other side enjoying his peace. Not all of us get peace.

April 6 — Mortality

Death is my God. Without it, I’m sure there would be no such concept. It is the single most powerful — what is Death?

It’s law. It's almighty. It’s what every living being must pay heed to no matter how powerful they are.

Still trying to accept it. This twist in reality. Which is not a twist because, in fact, it was the only thing that was ever certain.



Helping ppl have the sex life they truly want thru writing & education. Free weekly email, Insta, and more - > https://linktr.ee/monogamish_me

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Sarah Stroh

Helping ppl have the sex life they truly want thru writing & education. Free weekly email, Insta, and more - > https://linktr.ee/monogamish_me