Grieving

There wasn’t a thread about this, but grief touches all of us at some point. As a long standing community, we have celebrated and commiserated in a variety of topics. Grief is one of the hardest human experiences, so why not utilize this community to help eachother cope with crushing loss.

Today, I went to my cousin’s memorial service. Due to family politics, I can’t post about this on social media, so I am posting about it here.

My cousin was in his late 40s, and he died of a drug overdose. We were never close because he was an addict from the time he was in high school. Since I was significantly younger than him and was adopted into the family at the age of 9, I never knew him before his addiction. My father and my Uncle have no relationship as my father detests my Uncle’s refusal to ever truly act as a father to his three children, including my now deceased cousin, and the fact that my Uncle is a self-centered, leech and a bumbling moron.

At the service, I watched my Uncle make his son’s death not about the deceased or the totality of the family who mourns him, but about himself and how many people he could get to take him out for lunch in the upcoming weeks. At no point did my Uncle take any responsibility for not intervening when my cousin was young. At no point was he a father. He was just reveling in the attention, pity and actual free lunches he could line up. My heart breaks for my grandmother and my living cousins, but the service left me filled with rage. I want to be supportive of my grandmother in this time, but my Uncle, who lives out of state, will be staying in her home for who knows how long.

I feel awful that I never knew the man who existed beneath the drugs and the crimes that the drugs fueled. More than that, I am angered beyond words at my Uncle who is making my aged grandmother, who has severe breathing problems, wait on him hand and foot while she grieves the loss of ger first born grandchild and he mooches off her and old high school buddies.

It’s gross, and I feel ill even thinking about it. However, I will visit my grandma daily to check in and help out while trying not to kick my Uncle out of the house.

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First: I’m sorry for your loss. Grief sucks.

Addiction is a beast. My uncle suffered from it as well, and as you with your cousin, I never knew him when he was sober. It’s sad, because you know there was a person there you would have liked to know, but there’s just too much in the way.

Your Uncle sounds pretty awful. We like to think that mourning brings family together, but I’ve found it can also show you who the real selfish assholes are.

Though, in a way, it’s a mercy that they self-identify like that.

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I just learned that my paternal grandmother, my last living grandparent, passed away this afternoon. I am heart broken.

She was a kind, funny, and vivacious woman. Our whole town new her and loved her. Her story, which I do not have the wherewithal to do justice at this moment, included surviving the depression despite desperate poverty, being widowed with two young children in her 20s and taking up working in a time when a woman working was an anomoly. She remarried and worked on her husband’s farm and, once her children finished high school, she became the first woman police officer (while still working the farm) in her county and in most of Upstate NY. She was a pillar in the community - volunteering for every town event, making pies and cookies for every fund raiser or celebratory group gathering, donating her money and time for food programs, she was a deacon at her church and served as the treasurer of her church and the local historical society for years, and so on.

She was active - mentally, physically, and socially - to her last moment. Even when life gave her so much hardship, she took more enjoyment from everyday things than any human being I have ever known. She was open minded and, unlike many in her generation, accepted new ideas and change easily. For instance, when several members of her church left over the new pastor being an openly gay man, she invited him and his husband to her home for a welcome meal and they became some of her closest freiends the last ten years.

She was rare. She was fine. She was resiliant and effortlessly kind. She was her own light in darkness.

A mother of two, a grandmother of six, and a great-grandmother of seven (with one on the way) left the world today.

I will miss her so.

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