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Lions Roar : March 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2008 76 meant to comfort me. And it worked, and I felt better, and when I left, we were both laughing. So that was good. My grieving gave her something that she could do well, something she could succeed at, and that made her happy. It let her be the strong one for a change. They say every death is different, and I think every occasion of grief is different, too. When my dad died, I was angry be- cause he was angry and despairing. He did not want to die. He wasn’t ready. I was in charge of his health care, but I couldn’t do a damn thing to prevent or forestall this utterly unthinkable and unacceptably ter- minal outcome. I was mad at him for his lack of readiness and I was furious at my- self for my impotence and lack of compas- sion. After he died, I couldn’t think of him without a lot of pain and anger and con- fusion and despair, and a sense of having failed him. I couldn’t look at his picture without feeling my insides twist. I want- ed to look away. And I did. I remember I drank a lot, too, in order to get through it. I took his death very personally. It was different with my mom. We’d had lots of time together and we were both as ready as we could ever be. And I wasn’t drinking. I quit two months before she died. I’d done the drunken death-and-grieving thing once, and it was lousy. I didn’t want to do it again. I wanted to keep my wits about me. I didn’t want to run away. The last thing I promised my dad was to take care of my mom. He knew she had Alzheimer’s, and he was tortured at hav- ing to leave her behind. So for ten years now, I’ve been fulfilling my promise to him. And this has been good, too. His re- quest gave me something that I could do well, something I could succeed at, and this has made me happy. So I’m grateful to my parents for dying in my presence, and for teaching me their two different ways of how it can be done. It is hard work, dying, but after watching my mom and dad, I realize that we’re built to do it. Grieving is hard work, too, but again, I guess we’re built to do it. We come equipped with hearts to break, and eyes to A traditional hand-crafted Japanese cottage on 6.4 wooded acres in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in northern California. Built by Len Brackett of East Wind Inc. (www.eastwindinc.com), this home appears in Building the Japanese House Today by Peggy Landers Rao and Len Brackett, and has been shown on HGTV in a series on Asian Architecture in America. For photos and more information: http://web.mac.com/seikii A Traditional Japanese Cottage/Retreat for Sale MAR 68-77.indd 76 MAR 68-77.indd 76 12/19/07 2:16:13 PM 12/19/07 2:16:13 PM