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Will I ever be again? (warning: unexpectedly long post!)


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Here I am again, Ms. Crankypants of the month. Lamenting my way through the forum...

But I keep thinking this and have to ask...will I ever be truly happy again? I mean happy like in a complete sense. Like Val, Katie and others have said many times...it's not that you are never happy, or that you don't go along with your life and have happy days, moments, etc...or you are joyless day and night...but will this hole in my chest every close up?

As many of us know, there are two camps; Those Who Have Lost a Parent and Those Who Have Not. My two best friends have moms as special as mine, and they are very close to them, they appreciate them, they depend on them to be there, to love their children, to pick up the phone when they call to chat, vent, share joy or sadness. Yet would it be remotely useful for me to take them aside and tell them dramatically to treasure of every moment of this life NOW, life with Mom in this world. That after Mom is gone, you won't be sobbing every day for the rest of your life, but your world will never, ever be the same, in so many more ways than you can ever imagine. Is it fair to even make them think about it? I know before I lost my mom, I never took her for granted, even thinking about losing her was...well...unthinkable. So I know they get that, but...

I'm just feeling selfish and a little bitter tonight, once again. I think it's my dad - he is suddenly worried about things like, for example, his personal hygiene (which he never worried about much when my mom was alive, much to her disgust)...and worrying about many other things he didn't really care about when Mom was around...and I figured out it's pretty much b/c of a lovely fact my sister recently shared with me - he's shopping himself around on the internet as a fairly well-off eligible bachelor. Yeah, Dad, that's the way to attract sensitive, safe women that will want you for you! Just post on there that you have an (albeit inexpensive) sports car, boat, lake house (oh, I'm sorry, that little lake house was my mom's, in her home state, where her family and friends were on the same lake road, where we grew up every summer, but you always resented it. But now it's the crown jewel in your chick-bait treasure chest!) Yes, I'm bitter. I love my dad very dearly, he is a great dad and wonderful grandfather...but he was a often a crappy husband.

My mom wasn't perfect and she was feisty, and their marriage was never great, but he hurt her so deeply in the months before she died by denying her the one thing she wanted (an enclosed porch on the lake house, it was something she latched onto as a goal to live for, to follow the progress and to sit on it and watch the sunsets that summer)...it's the only time in my life I've seen my fiery, self-starting mom beg and cry for something, b/c she was too sick and weak to do the logistics herself...and he ignored her and then when she got really, really angry at him and lost it, he said some despicable, totally untrue things to her, which is surprising, b/c usually the silent treatment was his M.O. I think that is the moment she gave up, meaning gave up on life. She sensed how stressed and distraught over this porch issue my sisters and I were and how we were fighting for her, and she did not want to put us through this anymore. She was truly the most unselfish person I have ever known. And the reality is that the minute my mom got sick, my dad was so scared and paralyzed that he just shut off his brain and started waiting for her to die. He is not a fighter by nature, so he couldn't deal. And I think not doing the porch was a big power play on his part..he finally had some control over my mom...God, that is hard to say or even think.

So YEAH, there might be a little bitter water under the bridge, I'll admit it! And my sisters and I can't acknowledge him dating, for obvious reasons but also for what happened with the lake house (I know I'll get flack for that, please please don't bother, it won't change my feelings, sorry!). But if he brought anyone to that lake house, I seriously think we would freak out on him. It is truly a sacred place to my sisters and me. We spent every summer of our young lives there, and we spent at least two weeks a summer up there with our own kids every year...and in my life of 41 years, a summer has never passed when I haven't made the seven-hour trek up north to the lake. To go and pick berries with my mom, and to plant flowers at her parents' grave in town, to take long walks on the dirt road by the lake with her, to sit out and watch the beautiful sunsets, to hang out with her cousins, second cousins, third cousins, aunts, uncles, etc...to watch her lay out big flat rocks and jars of paint on the back porch for my kids... That place is truly part of our most treasured memories, and it is our mom's legacy to us - she was very clear on that always. There is nothing on this earth that is more HER than that little house, and nothing that means more to us (my sisters and me...my brothers don't really care about it).

Believe it or not, all is okay now, we are appreciating the fact that our dad is here on this earth and we love him and our kids love him, and we see him often...and there's no talking to him about all this bad stuff b/c he just doesn't acknowledge negative things like that. He just shuts down. Unfortunately in our family things have to come to a head and then explode....

So I guess went way in a direction I didn't mean it too...whoops. So much for the short explanation of my initial topic.

So, to our friends out there that have been without a parent long-term...can you give me your insight? Thanks everyone.

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I'm glad you were able to get that all out. Sometimes just getting it all in writing makes me feel better. I'm a BIG believer in venting!

As far as, "Does it ever get better?"...I think it does. I pray it does. My loss of my Mom still feels so fresh though it has been 9 months. I don't have any perspective on that, yet. My father died 30 years ago next month. I've obviously lived a life-time in those decades, and there isn't the chasm inside of me from his loss that I experienced for years. I still feel sadness from time-to-time because of what I lost, but it is certainly managable.

I think we need to be patient with ourselves and our grief. When I feel like it will never be better, I think of where I was 6 months ago. I've certainly made 'progress' since then--if that is the word. I'm happier more frequently.

Here is the proof to me: yesterday my daughter had the game of her life in basketball. I was so excited, and my first thought was that I couldn't wait to tell Mom. Usually when my head goes there, I am washed away with fresh grief. Yesterday I actually smiled at that moment instead, with the realization that Mom already knew.

It may not seem like much to others, but it was a huge victory to me. Celebrate those 'little' victories, and be good to yourself!


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Wow Michele what a great post. I am so glad you were able to open up like that.

I think you are so lucky to have so many memeories of the familes lake house. They are memories that will always hold strong in your heart of hearts.

You seem like you have a wonderful family and are really close with your siblings and cousins etc. Please count your blessings for that. So many of us here were not as fortunate to have childhood into adult memories like yours.

Will that hugh hole in your heart every close? No, but in time it will become smaller and less agonizing and more tolerable, but there will be days when it will hurt all over again.

I am glad you are not holding a grudge against your dad. That wouldn't accomplish anything.

I just have one suggestion. I guess you can call it for closure. Remember this is just a suggestion. But since that Lake house is still being used and will always stay in the family that maybe the relatives that share it can get together and build that enclosure.

I know you may be saying it's kind of late for that now. But it really isn't. If there is an afterlife (which I believe with my whole body and soul) that you mom would be so happy and so proud of you all.

My heart to yours..


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Does it ever get better and will you ever really be happy again? YES!! YES!!! YES!!!

Our lives are like a book, we take on new chapters as we grow older and as each day passes. Our lives change and the story does too. I look at the picture of your BEAUTIFUL BABY and I can ASSURE you your life will be happy and full once again. It's be a little crazy too! :wink:

The first couple of years after we lose our parents or a loved one are always the roughest. The first year we are numb, the second year we are in shock reality hits they are really gone, and then we slowly start to rise again and move on because that IS what life is all about. I like to believe our loved ones would want us to get on with our lives. They don't want us being stuck in grief. I find comfort in thinking that.

That doesn't mean we ever forget our loved ones, that will NEVER HAPPEN, but we learn to live without them here with us. We always carry them in our hearts.

Let your grief run it course it's what has to be done. ((((((((((Michele)))))))))))

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I have the best friends who don't get it. I have ones who take advantage or sem ungrateful for what they have. Is that how we were before? I choose not to remember. I think I went through phases as I got older and more mature and a family of my own I grew to appreciate her more. Maybe your friends will too or maybe, sit down with them one night, with a bottle of wine and just say it. Say girls, you know this thing in my life has crushed me beyond what you can comprehend or see. I know I don't have to tell you this for you, but I have to say it to help ME heal, PLEASE look at your mom an a new light. Look at everything she has to offer and teach. Look at all the Love she gives that not even she is aware of it. When she calls and is bugging you, think of what it would be like to not have the call at all. (I have lain by the phone praying for it to ring... knowing it never would) WHen they complain about having to go to moms house, say, well, it is a beautiful thing you can go there.

I know they don't want to hear it all again but maybe it will remind them to at least hold their mom's little closer next time they hug goodbye.

Haveing been through the father deal (well stepfather so maybe easier for me to LET GO although I haven't) I realized that it is better to have him here than have NOBODY (my real dad died too) so anyway, that's not my point.

When the time comes, get together with you siblings and stand firm on the idea that you do not want a new woman at the lake house. I know it may sound selfish or it may even be wrong, but ask for this one concession.

I tell you, I walked into my mothers house and had no clue that his new wife would be standing there cleaning out mom's kitchen. Seeing her stand there with my grandmother's teapot wth that bleach smelling rag (my mom would have never bleached it) threw me into such a rage that I don't remember driving home. I know this is extreme and immature but you know what else? I feel I had handled myself with grace long enough and I think my mom would have agreed with my reaction, heck she would have made me peel out of the driveway.

You don't want to see the replacement in such a sacred place, not yet anyway. Maybe someday.

SOO I have gone on and on here making it about me again...

Does it ever get better, are you ever truly happy again? I am nearly 2 years from mom and over 4 from dad.

I think at moments yes. Things will always happen to bring you down but they get more gentle (as Katie says often). Some still bring you to your knees, but really a few sad days in the month of happy ones are alot better. I never knew I would use the word BITTERSWEET so much in my life.

The most painful times are reliving things that we did together special, just her an I, and I try at all costs to avoid this.

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