"sometimes i just think it is very, very unfair... can you give me some tips ??? i am in desperate need of some help."

From: "M StJohn" (mstjohn@inetone.net)
To: "Richard Geib" (rgeib@rjgeib.com)
Subject: my mother's memory
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 23:07:09 -0500
Organization: Home
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.00.2615.200

how do you get through something like this? my mom just died january 2,2000 and i am having an awfully tough time accepting the facts that i will never see my mom to touch her face, to hold her hand, to brush her hair, to ask her what to do about my kid's being sick again?????? how do i tell myself everyday that i won't be able to go home after work and call her to see how she's doing? my heart just can not let go of the idea that she may be somewhere just waiting for me to find her and everything will be ok. i am not a crazy person and i know that will not actually happen but i can't get the thought out of my mind that "just maybe" it could happen.

my mom also had lung cancer and we only found out in october and she died in january. we thought she was doing great. her doctor's were very pleased with her progress and then one sunday morning she was found covered in blood in her own bed where my father passed away a year and five months ago. so, i don't really trust any doctor's opinions about anything at this point. they told my mom could make it. they never told me until afterwards that maybe, just possibly, there could be hemorhage to a vein or an artery.

i try to remember the good times i have had with her in the past but that only seems to make me more sad. that just makes me realize even more what i don't have anymore. everything i see, everything i do, everything someone else says, reminds me of her. when will this stuff stop??? i know i should be happy that she is no longer here to have needles stuck in her, tests upon tests ran, hospitals stays that she didn't want to do, weak shaky legs, i know that i should be grateful that she is with god and in a much better place but i can't get past the fact that i miss her so much.

] i think the fact that my father passed away so close to her death is not making it any easier. i had just come to accept my dad's a little bit when we found out that she was sick. it's just not enough time to take everything in!!!

sometimes i just think it is very,very unfair.

can you give me some tips ??? i am in desperate need of some help.

my email address is mstjohn_1999@yahoo.com

      Dear mstjohn_1999,

      What can I say to your letter? I am at a bit of a loss for words! I would tell you that human beings are more adaptable than you would believe, and that with patience all wounds little by little heal.

      I would share with you a letter I wrote to a student of mine whose father suddenly died of a massive heart attack. I will let the letter speak for itself. Be well.


Dear Maria,

Although it may not have been apparent, you have been very much in my thoughts these past few weeks. Going through the motions and managing heroically to keep your head above water in school, you nevertheless have at times had a sort of vacant, nonplussed air about you. This would be not unexpected. It would indeed be natural.

As I mentioned to you, my mother died not too long ago. Well do I know the feeling of shock and disbelief, the sharp pain and deep sadness that the death of a parent brings! And beyond that, I will not venture vain words to say what we both know to be true. Your father is dead. My mother is dead. What more can you really say?

Life has a way, sooner or later, of breaking people; but the wounded often end up stronger in the broken places, when time and distance work their healing magic. Your father could not control the circumstances or timing of his death, but he would want you to be happy and to grow up a strong and educated young woman of whom he could be proud. So be it.

I enclose two poems with this letter. The first, "The Wind" by Boris Pasternak, is for you to read when you have trouble falling asleep. The second, "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver, is for when you feel despair rising from your heart to your head as if to choke you. These poems have helped me, and I hope they might help you.

Be well, Maria. Despite everything, there are so many people in your life who love and want the best for you. Be strong for your family, and give yourself the space to be sad until you are no longer sad. Such a day will come -- I promise.

Very Truly Yours,

Mr. Geib

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