My dad died one year ago February 9. In preparation for this important milestone, I knew I had to do something special. As I prepared for it I was overwhelmed with feelings and knew that I needed help. I remembered that a recent EOL doula student had done a lot of work around her dad’s relationship with his mother, who died young. My grandmother died at age 26. My dad had mentioned that he wanted to be buried near her. So, I planned to take some of his ashes to the cemetery. This led to so much more emotional work about my grandmother and their brief relationship.
My dad never talked about his mother. We didn't call her grandmother. There were no photos and the story was very fuzzy. He would answer questions, but I had to ask. All this is part of my legacy, stuff I'm trying to figure out. My dad was raised by his maternal grandparents and great-grandparents. His parents divorced in 1933 and his mother died suddenly in 1935 when he was just five. I found myself thinking so much more about what he went through, and why we didn’t talk about it, and how this affected us all. I wanted to know more about her story. Fortunately, I found some old letters that she wrote that filled in a lot of info, some of it very tragic. I'm going very deep, and I'm not sure where this is leading.
I continue to identify that I am grieving. I feel very new at grief. It's kind of foreign to me. We don't talk about this in my family (my legacy?). I'm pretty much alone. Or am I? Funny, I have studied this, I teach about this, I support others in doing this. Yet, it's been so difficult for me. I've had to learn to ask for help, slow down, be with it. I'm thankful for the student who ended up being my doula and going with me to the cemetery. She helped me create a ceremony. I also have my family and other people to reach out to, a supportive partner, and the time and luxury to be able to go inward.
It's been a very interesting year so far.
I'm on a journey. We are always on a journey. Sometimes the path is a little scary.