Sadness is the Monday Meme

My parents were the younger and youngest children in their families respectively. By the time they met and married, they had nieces and nephews in grade school. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they couldn’t have children and after seven years, they adopted me. So I was always one of the younger cousins. I was a child when many of my cousins married and started families of their own.

My oldest cousin, Dar, married at nineteen and her six children were more like first cousins to my sibilings and I then she ever was. Although I lost touch with my extended family when I went off to university, I did grow up, in a sense, with these second cousins.

Dar died a few years ago after a long battle with cancer. She was in her mid to late fifties. Young by today’s standards though my own widowhood has taught me that people are very unrealistic about what “young” really means. I think my late husband may have been in hospice at the time, so I didn’t get back for the funeral and never sent a note or card to her husband. At the family reunion this last June however I had a long talk with one his daughters and discovered that he has adjusted, as we all do, and was doing well.*

DNOS called me Sunday morning to let me know that Dad was not doing well. He’d had a rough night. His breathing was not good and he couldn’t get out of bed. But she had other news too.

Dar’s youngest son, who is thirty, came home after an outing with their two older children – aged 8 and 2 – to find his wife on the bed and not breathing. He discovered  her because their baby, born just this August, was crying. He and his father tried to revive her but she was already gone. She was just 27.

Twenty-seven is very young.

I called a cousin who is close to the family. She is DF’s godmother in fact. She filled me in on the details. Everyone focus’s on the details in the aftermath. The timeline of events takes on huge significance. The story is told and retold, passed from one person to another. It’s important, as validating as the life that is now over. And it will eventually make the loss real.

I reminded my cousin that DF will need support for a long time to come and to not let that be forgotten after the first few months, as it sometimes is.**

CousinA also talked with me a bit about Dad’s turn*** and how hard it is for us now too. But I didn’t agree. 27 is not 81. Young and healthy with a life ahead of you and small children is not old and ill with grown children. All deaths are not equal. Some are more tragic and more unfair.

I have no prompt today, but I invite you to share your tales of loss or memories of loved ones. It’s a good thing to tell the stories because they are reminders in these uncertain days of the other thing we have in common with each other – our mortality.


*How well a bereaved person is doing is never really known to anyone but the person. Family and friends always believe we are better than we are. It’s a very subjective call.

**She agreed and of course brought up that if anyone would know this it would be me. I don’t like being an expert on the subject.

***I am reminded was we speak that death often comes in threes. My uncle’s wife two weeks ago and now my cousin’s. And Dad has taken a turn.

7 thoughts on “Sadness is the Monday Meme

  1. My heart truly goes out to you. I can’t imagine losing a husband or a father.

    I had never lost anyone really close to me until around eight years ago, when my grandparents and two uncles all died in one year. Just like that–two houses were empty. Then I lost two co-workers, and two members of my writers’ group, and a mentor. THEN, four years ago, my baby brother was diagnosed with an unknown lymphoma cancer right after his wedding. Three years ago, my father was paralyzed by a brain tumor. Two years ago my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer. We lost Baby Brother this past May. When it happened, it was just me and him in the room, together, so I’m feeling you on that.

    At that point, I just wanted to up and die.

    The good news is: My father has recovered. My mother is in remission. My middle brother is whole and healthy, as is my son. And I have my writing. It’s a day to day journey, one day at a time, and I try not to consciously wait for the other shoe to drop.

    Be well. You are in my thoughts.

  2. sorry to hear about more sadness… but i agree that it’s not a direct comparison between 27 and 81. my dad told me he had no regrets, and while he was a little scared at the prospect of dying, he had no unfinished business and was as ready as a person can be… to me? that’s the best you can do…

  3. I am very sorry to hear what’s happening in your family. We’re still reeling from a suicide of a co-worker at our organization. It’s very much a close-knit family, so it has hit us very hard. We’ll be keeping you in our prayers as well.

  4. I have no business posting a comment. At this late stage of the game, I have yet to suffer the loss of a loved one. Dear old Dad passed away but after a 22 year absence, I couldn’t feel anything at all. It makes me wonder how/if I’ll cope when a big loss finally visits my doorstep.

    Consider yourself blessed. We all cope when the time comes though because what other choice is there?

  5. “At the family reunion this last June however I had a long talk with one his daughters and discovered that he has adjusted, as we all do, and was doing well”

    thirteen and a half months after stephen’s death I think I’ve only adjusted about 1/4 inch. it’s still a horribly black and painful time for me

    Well, that is the impression he chooses to share with his grown children and I think many of us put on a front at some point that become reality at some other point. It is different for everyone. He was widowed in 2005, I think, and my cousin had been ill for over two years. She lived far beyond what the doctors expected and lived much of that time as she pleased. I think they both considered themselves quite fortunate.

  6. I’m sorry to hear of this loss in your family, Annie. 27 IS too young. Hugs.

    I’ll pass on the meme, today. I’ve got a whole blog worth of sharing on this subject. I daresay there may be little left to share.

    Thanks and don’t worry about sharing. Some of us have shared above and beyond already.

  7. I’ve had two people die young in my family. One was my sister’s first husband, who committed suicide at age 25. Come to think of it, her other husband died of a heart attack in his 40’s which is young.
    The other was my nephew’s wife, who died of an epileptic seizure. I have an idea that it was brought on by meth addiction, but don’t know. The nephew is the suicide’s son. I don’t know what is more tragic, when they die young from disease, or when they die, more or less, by their own hand.

    I guess tragedy is in the point of view.

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