I haven't spent much time thinking through this post, so bear with me.
Tenessa, my dear friend, called yesterday to tell me her father died. It was unexpected, and he was only 57, and they are understandably heartbroken. He was a kind, loving father and grandfather, and the world is truly a darker place without him.
And it sucks, knowing someone you care for is hurting on that profound level. It's hard going about my day, making grilled cheese sandwiches, thinking of Tenessa and her brother picking out funeral songs. It's hard listening to my student explain that he's just too busy to come to class when someone I love is writing an obituary.
I really think we should talk more, as a society, about how hard it is to lose a parent. Grandparents are hard, too, but they are people you expect to lose, really, before you yourself are old. But parents, gak. There's just such an ache left behind, a feeling of something missing, and it doesn't seem to ever go away. When my dad died, I kept thinking "Why didn't anyone tell me how hard this would be?" Maybe people had, but it's one of those things you don't really understand until you experience it.
When my Grandma Beulah, my mother's mother, died, I was 16, and I remember being genuinely sad, but also relieved. She had been ill, near the end, and her suffering was over. I pointed this out to my mom soon after the funeral. I can still hear her response. "I know, Jenny, but golly, I miss her."
I'm so sorry, Tenessa and Tommy and everyone else who is hurting today. I'm sorry, and it's awful, and I'm glad I got to know your dad, just a little bit.