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Life Sucks And Then You Die

Life Sucks And Then You Die

Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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My father-in-law died this morning.

It feels weird writing that, because it doesn’t feel quite real yet. He’d had respiratory problems and I think we expected him to get well soon.

He didn’t. His kidneys started to fail, and just about all his vital organs  started giving up.

Two days ago, the doctors informed us that he wouldn’t make it until the end of the week. Yesterday, we were informed that he wouldn’t make it past the day.

TTG and his mum had kept a bedside vigil for eighteen hours, and when he drove his mum home so that she could take the dog for a walk, that’s when his dad finally succumbed. He died in the hour that they were gone. Paul is inconsolable. My MIL is resolute, and determined to do what has to be done to get through this devastation. I can’t imagine the pain of losing somebody that you’d spent sixty years of your life with, but my God she’s handling this like a boss.

He isn’t the only family member or friend that I’ve lost in the past couple of years, and with every death, regardless of the circumstances, I’ve learned a few things. Firstly, tomorrow isn’t promised, so love the people in your life as much as you can. Secondly, behind every smile is a story of heartbreak yet untold, we never really know what’s going on behind closed doors. We don’t know what hardships people are suffering, we don’t know what they’re currently going through. We don’t know if they’ve just lost a child, we don’t know if they’ve just lost a husband.

As I watched my MIL deal with things this morning, with military precision, I understood that it would be easy for an outsider to assume that she’s OK. She’s not OK, not by a long shot. Like so many strong women, she’s just doing what must be done. But it’s going to take a toll on her eventually.

I’ve seen her like this at least once before. Nine years ago, she had to bury her daughter who died after a battle with cancer. The plan was always that her and my father-in-law would go first. What’s that saying? You never expect to bury your children. That’s what she had to come to terms with. Now she’s lost her best friend and husband of sixty years.

My job this morning was to be the pragmatic one, to allow my husband and mother-in-law to come to terms with their loss. My MIL wasn’t having any of it. “I don’t have time to curl up and die”, she said.  So I helped her make checklists of what needed to be done. We made a list of all the people who needed to be informed. I created a Funeral Arrangements sub-list, and systematically went through all the different tasks, who would execute them, and when by. I made a shortlist of solicitors that we could use, in case we didn’t get a good recommendation from friends and family. It helped me, and it helped my MIL. For now at least. We have a plan.

Once everything is done, I know that she’ll quietly fall apart, because when all’s said and done, she just lost the love of her life.

Oh, and how do you explain to a 3 year old that the grandpa that she loved and adored so much will no longer be able to help her put her jigsaw puzzle pieces together?

4 Comments »

  • I’m so sorry. How tragic for your husband and his mom, and all of you.

    Don’t let her be too sensible — it’s a bad time to make decisions and she might go overboard with clean up and regret it later.

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  • Kelly Campbell
    August 25
    5:23 pm

    My deepest sympathies to you, your husband and your FIL’s family and friends.

    We lost my cousin yesterday. He was *only* 49 years old.

    ReplyReply


  • Keishon
    August 26
    4:56 am

    My condolences to your husband and his family and to you all. I was just checking in to see how you were doing.

    ReplyReply

  • I am so, so sorry, Karen. I know you are strong and that you will be strong for Paul and your m-i-l as they need it, but you too have lost someone you love. Give yourself permission to grieve, and to fall to pieces, as you need to.

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