The Grief Grenade.

Returning home from the hospital early that morning, I crawled into bed at my parents’ house.

A few hours later I awoke to voices. Male voices calling to each other along with the scrape of shovels and the cracking of what sounded like cement.

Looking out the bedroom window, workers removed the neighbor’s roof. I watched them bending, lifting, and tossing deep red barrel tiles to the ground. I whispered through the glass,”My dad died this morning. Just a few hours ago.”

They kept working and laughing and living. Why shouldn’t they? He was elderly. He lived a wonderful life. That’s what happens. Humans grow old and die.

As the morning progressed, I thought of  my three children who had been wonderfully cooperative during the last week while I ran back and forth to the hospital. They hadn’t seen much of me or of fun the last few days.

It was time for them.

My oldest drove to Daytona to fish with a relative. My daughter and husband headed to see Les Miserables. The youngest and I decided upon the Lego store at Downtown Disney. It was late afternoon, New Year’s Eve and we headed to Disney World. Not that it would be crowded or anything.

Walking across the packed parking lot, I grabbed my son’s hand. I needed to feel his little warm fingers intertwined with mine.

We poked into many different stores saving the Legos for last like a huge slice of chocolate birthday cake to be savored after a good meal.

He stopped at a display of light sabers. Funny, how a build-your-own-light-saber station would prove irresistible to a 9-year-old boy. While standing there puzzled where to begin an eager Disney employee, John from Danbury, CT as his name-tag read, began to show my son how to assemble the magic wands.

CT John was most talkative. We exchanged pleasantries about the weather.

“I love my job, but don’t like the Florida summers,” he said. He asked where I was from and what the weather was like in Georgia. We talked and talked about God knows what and all the while my brain screamed, “My father died today John. This morning.”

It was on the tip of my tongue as he good-naturedly prattled on.  “Dad died. Today. December 31, 2012 will be on his headstone. Forever.”

lego man

But I smiled and chatted because John was a nice guy just doing his job and didn’t need me to dump a truckload of my-dad-died-today on him.

Leaving that store, I spied a group of women. One gal taking a picture of two others.

This was a job for the Picture Fairy.

The Picture Fairy in me magically appears after seeing someone who is the odd person out left holding the camera. I offered to take their photograph. They got all twitterpated and grouped together as three smiling calla lilies in a bouquet.

After they expressed thanks I said, “You’re welcome. You know my dad passed away this morning.”

No. Of course not. You don’t do that to people who are on vacation having a wonderful time. Especially when you are almost a half a century old yourself and should be nothing but thankful to have had so much of life with him.

So I smiled and said, “Happy New Year, ladies.”

Disney World is not a place to spread your grief. Especially, when your father lived a long and blessed life. Elderly people eventually pass on. That’s the way of things. Right?

No need to lob a wet-blanket, misplaced grief grenade right in the middle someone’s good time.

Here it is a week later and I’m still saying it lots on the inside.

“My dad died, you know.”

Over and over and over.

I’ll keep it to myself next time.


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38 responses to “The Grief Grenade.”

  1. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Death, no matter how old the person was or no matter how full the life lived, is hard and sad and confusing. Keep saying it out loud for as long as you need to. Sending lots of love your way.
    Samantha Brinn Merel recently posted..We’ll Be Right Behind You

  2. gem says:

    Found you on yeahwrite where I always lurk, sometimes post.

    Anyways…I send you hugs! My best friend’s dad passed right before Xmas. Her family has been my second family since I was 9. I turned into a weeping mess at the funeral. So okay I cannot quite say I “gt” you but, I can say, I send sympathies and loss is hard. It rips you open and is painful and yet, time heals. You will always have a scar, but time will heal.

  3. Many hugs to you.
    Christie @randomreflectionz recently posted..A Wealth of Summer Blooms in January

    • Jamie Miles says:

      Thank you all for your kind words. It’s odd how I feel this shouldn’t affect me as much as it does. I know of many who lost parents far younger and with tragedy. It’s just a deep sadness even knowing that it is inevitable for us all.

  4. christina says:

    i’m so very sorry for your loss.
    christina recently posted..almost time

  5. I’m so sorry, Jamie. I hope you’ll write about it again and again — as much as you like — because there’s nothing more important than this… remembering and holding on to such a precious person in your life.
    Julia Munroe Martin recently posted..The Coveted Moleskine

  6. IASoupMama says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Many, many, many hugs. My husband is losing his father as I type this, so I know where you are right now and I know that such a profound loss deserves much space in your world.
    IASoupMama recently posted..Helpless: I Could Not Help Less

  7. Mayor Gia says:

    Aww, I’m so sorry for your loss 🙁
    Mayor Gia recently posted..Baking is Hard.

  8. Jill says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. It doesn’t matter if he was old and in bad health or young and in good. He was your dad. That is sad no matter the circumstances. Again, I’m sorry to hear of your loss.

  9. Pam says:

    No. Don’t keep it to yourself. Get it out. Let it out. Nothing about his age or health matters- he was your dad. That’s what matters. Thinking of you and sending hugs your way.

  10. Jules says:

    Grief bomb me anytime…I am here for you. I love you James!!!!!

  11. I really am sorry for your loss.

    Reading of your trip with your son though makes me believe the grief will fade and the fabulous memories you have will shine through.
    My Half Assed Life recently posted..Bling, Buttons And Memes

  12. This is a great post. Doesn’t it feel like having an elderly parent/loved one day almost makes it seems like there is no need for grief. After all, there was a long and happy life….I support you in grieving and telling DIsney all about it, though it’s probably best you didn’t for obvious reasons. This is a great post. I am sorry for your loss….Grief is like tar–it just gets on everything and it’s so hard to get off.
    christie o. tate recently posted..Desensitized

  13. TriGirl says:

    It is awful how everyone else just goes on with their lives while you’re grieving. You do just want to scream at them “Don’t you know what happened??” I’m very sorry for your loss; it’s wonderful that your father lived a long life but that doesn’t mean that you don’t get to miss him, even if it was his time.
    TriGirl recently posted..Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Running in cold weather

  14. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s hard no matter how great or long life a parent has had. I wish I could say something to make you feel better. This is a beautifully written post Jamie.
    Stacie @ Snaps and Bits recently posted..Saturday Night At The Doggie ER

  15. Kristin says:

    I am also so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine losing a parent, no matter their age. Grieve as you need. Everyone does it differently. Do not worry too much about what it looks like. It sounds like you have a wonderfully supportive family around you. Your post is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.
    Kristin recently posted..When Death Brought New Meaning to Life

  16. i’m so sorry. death is a horrible thing we all have to live through. old, young, it’s terrible to lose someone you love. and it’s surreal and strange that the world goes on. it’s so hard to process. i think you say it, inside, outside, as long as you need to until you find comfort and peace.

  17. Ginny Marie says:

    The loss of a parent is so difficult. I remember thinking the same thing as I wandered aimlessly through Target just do be doing something. I don’t remember if it was right before my mom died or afterwards.

    I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Ginny Marie recently posted..Scraps

  18. tiffani goff says:

    Beautiful. I feel like that so often in my life. Life goes on, people make plans and yet I live in a constant state of medical junk that preoccupies so much of our life and thoughts.

    love and strength to you Jamie….
    tiffani goff recently posted..Aetna has denied Tiara the medication she needs and I’m crazy mad!

  19. Oh Jamie, I am so sorry.

    You have such an incredible way with words. Your description of grief resonated so deep within me, as I feel that same way at times. It’s hard to watch the world go by when you feel yours is falling apart.

    I love that you went to Disney. Every aspect of that is so good. You’re a very strong person.
    Dawn Beronilla recently posted..Give Me A Break

  20. I am sorry for your loss. I do know that your dad died and I am thinking of you. Also: I’m the picture fairy too!
    Tiffany @ Queen Conundrum recently posted..Stubborn Love

  21. So sorry for your loss…I hope each day that passes brings you a little more peace….

  22. Jared Karol says:

    My condolences to you and your loss. Thank you for not keeping this to yourself though. It was good for me to read this post. My dad 12 years ago, and like you so eloquently captured, life for everyone, including me, just went on, as it must, as it knows no other way to proceed. While the pain never goes away, it does get easier w/ time. Thinking of you. . .
    Jared Karol recently posted..No Refills

  23. I am so sorry for your loss and support you in telling everyone you meet from Disney workers to the dry cleaners. You deserve all the support and love you can take in. Don’t know why I feel so strongly about this, but if you don’t feel that you can tell strangers out in the real world, at least keep telling me! Hugs to you and your family.
    Mary @ A Teachable Mom recently posted..Limit Setting for the Squeamish

  24. Larks says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. This post was so poignant and beautiful and relatable. Many years ago now my grandmother killed herself. I was driving across the country when my dad called to let me know. I knew I couldn’t wander into random gas stations and greasy spoons and be like, “Hi. Nanna’s dead. Do you take Discover?” but it was so hard not to explode. My heart goes out to you and your family.
    Larks recently posted..Holiday break or that one time I was almost the crazy store-yelling lady.

  25. Jen says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It sucks that we’re not supposed to talk about our hurt and we have to keep it all inside. Hopefully being able to share your grief here has helped you a little.
    Jen recently posted..A Wish is a Dream Your Heart Has

  26. Gina says:

    I have tears! I’ve missed you here.

    It’s your life now and I’m sorry for that. I could feel every word of this like a line straight to my heart. My husband has experienced this. I have not yet. Life changes and it’s different but that doesn’t mean we like it or it won’t be a part of us forever.
    Gina recently posted..Baby-sitting the Big Girls, Oh My!

  27. What a heartbreaking, painfully truthful story. That is how I felt when my grandmother died, like it was a bomb hanging from my lips that I felt like I needed to drop everywhere, but at the same time, how could I do that to people?
    I am so sorry for your loss.
    Natalie the Singingfool recently posted..Happiness, Thou Elusive Beast

  28. Michelle Longo says:

    I am so, so sorry. This post was moving. I have tears. I remember that first week or two after my mom died and that sort of thought crept in. The world goes on and you’re there in it, except you aren’t. Sending you many hugs.
    Michelle Longo recently posted..Garden Gate.

  29. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sadness can happen even in the Happiest Place on Earth.
    Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom recently posted..Filmy at 1600: Al Roker Sharts His Pants at the White House

  30. Angela Ryan says:

    I am sorry for your loss. I wish I had something beautiful and brilliant to say to help with your grief, but you have already written that. I find, as I’m sure you’re aware, that writing is so healing. I hope this has helped you. Loss is never easy, even though we all know it’s inevitable. Bless you.

  31. Peach says:

    Words don’t say enough. Just know that we are reading and we are here, no matter what tone or mood your writing needs to take. Xox
    Peach recently posted..Sequins to Nikes

  32. WOW. Am having a hard time typing through my tears. You captured it perfectly. That is exactly what happens, how it feels, what the inner voice says. This is an incredible piece of writing. I am going to share it with my sister.
    thedoseofreality recently posted..Friday Feasts: Please Pass the Beano

  33. Kathleen says:

    Oh, Jamie. We can tell ourselves over and over that they had long, full lives, but it doesn’t make their absence from ours hurt any less.

    I’m so glad you shared this with us. Disney World might not be the right place to let it out, but here, with all your blogging friends, is the perfect forum.

    Wishing you peace and comfort as you navigate your way through this difficult time.
    Kathleen recently posted..I Quit

  34. shannon says:

    Oh wow. You sure can write, lady. All of the hugs to you. Permission to talk about it until you don’t need to.

    shannon recently posted..folding the shit out

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