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National Grief Awareness Day

I was always closer to my mother than my father. When my mom passed last year, I was gutted. I need my mom. I will always need my mom. It was no surprise that after 72 years of marriage, dad would follow mom to what I hope is a peaceful pond somewhere that allows them to float around and watch over us. Dad died two months after mom.

The surprising thing about that is that I’m having a much more difficult time getting over my father’s death than my mom’s. I miss him as much, or more? Grief is sneaky. It shows up when I least expect in and in ways that I never imagined.

Today is National Grief Awareness Day. As a person who is deeply involved personally, and with our little nonprofit, I should have had some fabulous event planned. I do have something planned but I missed the official date. While I was never the most organized. Just look at the pile of papers on my desk and the folding table to handle the overflow. But I did accomplish things. Lots of things. Since my parents’ illness and deaths, my inability to manage my life effectively and efficiently remains my daily struggle. I feel like I’m walking through a fog. I need to make a list. But making a list would involve getting out of a chair and finding a pen. I’ll get the pen and then I wonder where I put my notebook. It doesn’t matter, it probably is out of paper anyway.

Is it depression? Is it that I have lost my touchstones? And why am I dreaming more about my father than my mother? I don’t think there was anything left unsaid.

The day our father died, my sister, Deb and I were just destroyed. It was so soon after mom’s passing. The day was filled with “things to do.” As evening fell, we sat staring at each other. We were at our parent’s beautiful condo, with all their “stuff.” Being there made their absence so acute and all the more painful. Air left our lives. We were running on empty. We decided to get a late dinner. We went to a restaurant on the water. Is there a restaurant that isn’t on the water in Palm Beach? Not many. It was full moon that night. We decided, after a glass or two, that dad would forever be our “Man in the moon.” The next night was a total lunar eclipse. Deb and I stood outside, witnessing the eclipse together. In our childishness, we decided that Dad was somehow responsible for the event and he was sending us a sign that he would watch over us. As children, he was all powerful. In our grief, we wanted to believe he was still all powerful.

On this day, National Grief Awareness Day, I am grateful that I was not alone. Having a powerful connection to someone you love and trust is a true and necessary blessing. Thank you Deb! The point of Grief Awareness Day is that we can all bond, share, relate and be available for one another when life gives us a traumatic loss. Expected or not, old age or not, death is traumatic. It may not be surprising, but it’s always shocking.

If you are feeling grief today, my heart is with you. I wish for you the ability to express yourself, share with a loved one, be kind and gentle to your soul. Take a moment. Breathe. Just breathe.

Tonight is the last super blue moon until 2037. I think it’s my dad, coming to say “I’m still with you.” Such is the heart of the child within me. I love you Dad! I miss you so much.

God bless anyone reading this. Go out tonight and look at the moon. You might see my dad winking at you!


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