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My new Substack account on the loss of my mother.


silverkitties

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silverkitties

Hello Everyone—and a special hello to May, Missionblue, Reader, Eve, Tessa, and all of my friends:

I just started a series of posts on my experiences with grief: focusing on my mother, of course, but also discussing some of my other losses. For now, it’s free as I’m trying to build up an audience. (I really need the money badly as I still haven’t had a chance to look for another job during this horrible  year, albeit one without any deaths so far.) I will be writing about my mom’s illness, her death, my intense grief that first year, and the healing process which came in fits and starts. I should add that if you’ve read my posts here, you probably won’t get much which is new until much later. 
 

It can be found at francesachiu.Substack.com. Please subscribe if you find it at all relevant. The first post is Prologue: Where’s Mom? Will I see her again?

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Hi Reader, 

You are so sweet: I hope it does help people.

I know it’s sad, but 7 years later, I’m still grieving over my mom: I suspect it had to do with the fact that this past year has been difficult, physically and professionally, even worse than the year my dad died. 

Sometimes I inadvertently scream for her. What’s funny is that one of the cats comes running, lol. (I think  she still doesn’t know her name! ) That’s comic relief right there I guess.

I still think a lot about her so I thought why not write a memoir of thoughts? It will start with her illness and then go into the real meat: how I started to grieve after her death and the ways in which my grief changed as well as my reactions to people around me. And of course, how my relationship with my mom changed over the years and how she came to be everything for me. 
 

 

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Hi Silver:

So good to hear from you!  I just read your Prologue and subscribed.  You have a real gift for writing.  Although I am familiar with your story from  your posts here years ago, I look forward to reading about your new perspective as you look back on those years with your beloved mother. 

I can certainly relate, because I also was much closer to one parent, my father, who raised me as a single dad after my parents divorced when I was five years old.   He also was my closest relation and friend, my everything.   Like you, I feel alone in the world, and still struggle with grief and other difficulties, but also like you, I remain hopeful for the future.  I wish you much success with your newsletter, and with your life and career.  

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silverkitties

Thank you, Mission! You are an excellent writer yourself. 
I only found out about Substack a few months ago and thought it gave me a perfect excuse for continuing to write on my Mom,because God knows, it still feels so fresh. I suspect part of it is because my life feels so uncertain  and I have so little support. 
I can’t even call the suicide hotline just to talk. One of my recent alumna acquaintances who also lost her mom a few years ago called whereupon the hotline summoned the cops on her and sent her to emergency!. Thankfully, they allowed her to return home that night. 

So writing is probably the only outlet I have at this point.

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Thank you, Silver!  I also called the suicide hotline once shortly after my dad passed away, but I told the volunteer up front that I wasn't suicidal.  I didn't stay on the line long because I didn't want to tie up the service.   I was feeling anxious, and there was no one else I could call in the middle of the night.   

It is so hard to deal with grief on our own.  Even though I have a large extended family, very few relatives have bothered to keep in touch beyond the funeral for my dad.  Even the cousin who claimed she had a dream the night my father died has abandoned me.  In her dream, my dad asked her to look after me.  She took me to the cemetery a couple of times, but now she no longer talks to me.  She even left me out of her family reunion plans and her monthly family Zoom meetings!  I think it was all a lie about the dream.  It seems she was hoping I would will my home to her, because the first thing she gave me after my dad died was a will-making kit.

When I told her I will be selling my home, she lost complete interest in me.  This woman has more money than I could ever hope to have, since she married well.  She and her husband have 8 collector cars. She has been to Disneyland over 50 times and Las Vegas dozens of times.  I don't own even one car and have never been to Disneyland even once.  I was the caregiver for four elderly relatives in succession, so I missed out on a lot of fun, but I hope to start a new life after I sell my home.  Unfortunately, my plans got sidetracked by Covid.

I am very grateful that I have my roommate Ernesto still with me.  We aren't that compatible, but I don't like to live alone.  I also took in a homeless Mexican man who sleeps in the "haunted" cottage.  He's very friendly and appreciative.  Since my family doesn't seem to care about me, I now have my new family to keep me company.  I feel like I'm in the Steinbeck book/film Tortilla Flat.  We even call each other paisanos because Ernesto and Rogelio are from the same area of central Mexico where my paternal grandmother was born.  I've met quite a cast of characters since Ernesto moved in.  I also get to enjoy Chula, the sweetest dog I ever met.  She belongs to Ernesto's son, but she spends most of her time with us.   

Still, I would give anything to have my dad back.  I feel so bad that we didn't get to do many of the fun things I thought we would do together eventually.  He would have loved Las Vegas.  I would be so happy if we could just watch old movies together like we used to.  

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I’m about to go to bed here, Missionblue,  but I wanted to reply cos god knows when I’m getting up! My sleep has been so erratic these past few months because of all of the various pressures: getting more work on the house done and a new hot water heater. Plus possible hip replacement surgery and biopsies. All this on top of finding a second job. If it were not for my cats, I think I would end it all. 

I get what you’re saying about your cousin. Honestly, I think wealthy people are the greediest. JUST LOOK AT OUR STATE OF INEQUALITY! Although I suppose this is true everywhere in the world. You may recall my dad’s brother who’s a doctor but managed to steal his siblings’ share of the inheritance from his parents. (And of course, my father was too pussy to contest him: my dad was only ever talented at denying resources to his own family—mom and me—but generous to everyone else.) The sad fact is that the more people have, the more they want. If they have a mansion, they want another one. If they have a giant SUV, they want a yacht. Then a plane. Etc. And then they complain that taxes are too high!


We are loneliest when we are grieving. And what’s worse is how we get ignored. I know I certainly experienced people leaving me and dad alone: in fact, I was surprised that folks from the Taiwanese ASSociation, many of whom were my parents’ age, didn’t reach out to him. Once the memorial  service was over, they more or less dumped us. In the meantime, my aunts and cousins stopped calling; I was the one who had to make the calls. I never felt so alone.

Bless Ernesto…I know he is not perfect but he obviously cares for you. Has it been over 6 years?! Maybe you should have a cookout with your housemates and watch a movie together. Or introduce Ernesto’s sons and daughters to the movies you watched with your dad. 
 

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Silver, I wish you the best re your health, your home and your job search.  I can relate to sleep problems.  I used to have terrible insomnia but now I fall asleep just sitting in my living room chair.  I need more sleep these days than I used to. 

I recently got an email from a cousin who was replying to an email I sent her almost a year ago.  She said she just found my message.  I think she just wants to see if I sold my home yet   I replied a couple of days ago.  I guess I'll hear back from her in another year. 

We have a lot of cookouts here.  Ernesto used to be a professional cook.  It's hard to believe he moved in here six years ago.  I watch movies with Ernesto, but he prefers action films.  I've tried to broaden his cinematic horizons but he's not interested.  Since the pandemic,  I don't see his kids that often anymore.   My housemates understand my grief, because they are also middle-aged orphans.  Ernesto adored his mother.  She passed away suddenly last year.  It was very hard on him. 

I just lost a cousin in Texas in February of this year.  He and his two uncles came to visit my dad and me just two months before my dad passed away in 2014.  It was a surprise visit.  I hadn't seen them in thirty years.  I used to play with them when we were kids.  They lived just a few blocks away in those days.  I looked forward to seeing them again, but now all three of them are dead, at 57, 59 and 62. 

They were great guys, but they liked to drink.  Before they knew it, two had stomach cancer and the third collapsed from a heart attack.  It's so sad that eventually, everyone I ever knew and loved will die, if I don't go first. 

Hang in there, Silver.  Life is too short, but it's full of possibilities.

"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake… " -- Sir Francis Bacon   

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silverkitties

Missionblue, it’s true (hey, that rhymes!) : only the good die young. I’m sorry that you lost your best cousin and uncles. It would have been great to bond with them now. 

Give Ernesto my condolences: I feel almost as if I know him now! I’m glad he did not have to suffer it alone and more to the point, that he had someone as compassionate as yourself by his side. It doesn’t take away all the pain, but at least diminishes it. You are doing no doubt what he did for you back in 2015. (That really was a horrible year for us.)

This brings me to thoughts on this site. I think it helped me tremendously. I was a huge mess before finding it and meeting incredible people like yourself. I like to think that it helped bring some normalcy to my life. I still recall trying to work on my book in January-March 2015 and feeling besieged by memories yet unable to deal with them because I had no real outlet and no one to support me. Then gradually, there was a group of us expressing our grief and comforting one another. 

Thats why it’s so wonderful that we continue to be in touch.  

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Ernesto and I thank you for your kind condolences, Silver. 

When I was living completely alone for eight months, the first time in my life, this forum helped me more than any other.   It is great that we are still in touch after all these years.  I also send my warm greetings to the other forum members who may remember me, though I think most of them have moved on.  It's too bad that our early posts on this thread have vanished into the ether.  

It has helped me a lot to have Ernesto and now Rogelio living here as much as it has helped them.   We just celebrated Rogelio's birthday last week with a cookout and two cakes,  one vegan provided by Ernesto's son and daughter, and the other a carrot cake which I provided.  It was the first time Rogelio celebrated his birthday in the USA.  He hadn't blown out birthday candles since he was 15.  

I try to count my blessings, but it's still hard to carry on without my dad, especially when I see, hear or taste something he might have enjoyed.   

I was lucky that Ernesto came into my life when he did six years ago.  He was literally the answer to my prayers.  (My apologies to those who may have already "heard" this story.)  One night in my loneliness, I cried out to God to send me a friend, and the very next day Ernesto appeared on my doorstep.  He had done some work for my dad and me the year before, but I really never expected to see him again.  He had come to visit my dad.  When I informed him that he had died eight months prior, Ernesto said he wanted to pay his respects at the cemetery.  He asked when he could take me.  I said how about right now?  He agreed without hesitation.  I was blown away, because no one else on the face of this earth, aside from a cab driver, would have done that for me on the spur of the moment.  Plus Ernesto did not charge me for gas, and he still doesn't.

After the first few months, not one of my relatives has offered to take me to the cemetery to see my dad or their own mother/grandmother, aunts, uncles, etc.  It's hard to get them to even do fun stuff since they have their spouses,  siblings, children and friends for that.  Since I stayed home for many years being a caregiver, and still don't go out much, I don't have a large network of friends.  

I am lucky that Ernesto is good at networking.  I have met some nice people through him and have several invitations to visit them in Mexico.  Too bad it's not safe to travel these days on account of Covid and the cartels.

I just got my second vaccination yesterday.  Ernesto kindly drove me to General Hospital.   After I sell my home, I plan to buy a car and try to get my driver's license.  I'm not sure yet if Ernesto will be following me to my new home.  He likes country living better than San Francisco which is too expensive.   If it turns out I don't like driving, then Rogelio said he will drive me where I need to go.   He loves San Francisco on account of the moderate climate.   

It can be risky to open one's home to strangers, but I got lucky twice so far (knock on wood!).  There's still a lot I don't know about Ernesto's  past, but what I do know would make a good book.  If only he'd give me permission to tell his story.  

Take care, Silver, and God bless...

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Missionblue, I just finished posting my new Substack entry so I’ll respond to you later: although let me say that I feel better reading about your cookout with Ernesto and Rogelio. I know it doesn’t really make up for your Dad, but maybe you will build a very strong and loving relationship with both. I recall that when my mom lost her mother, she and I became even closer. 
 

My new Substack post focuses on Mom’s first stroke: “can still remember that day—April 24, 2014. No, not the day she died—but the day that would foretell her impending death, another five and a half months away or so. But none of us knew it just then. Not Mom. Not Dad. Not me.”

Here’s the link: https://francesachiu.substack.com/p/a-stroke-of-fate?r=22hhf&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

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Thank you, Silver.  Your story is beautifully written.  The gamut of emotions you had to endure:  the fear, the guilt, the hope, the love, the joy, the sadness, and the nostalgia are all palpable and deeply moving.  I look forward to reading more of your memoir of your wonderful mother. 

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Thank you, Missionblue: again, your compliment means so much to me because you’re such a wonderful writer yourself!

This is a great confidence-booster as I’m preparing for a podcast. Alas, my diarrhea is not helping.(I hope this made folks here laugh even though it’s not funny for me as I have to keep going to the bathroom…like NOW!)

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Thank you again, Silver.  Best of luck with your podcast!   I hope you feel better soon.

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silverkitties

Thank you, Reader!

Mission, I will save my more extended reply to you later this week: we have a hurricane warning for tomorrow and Monday. They are talking about possible 10-date power outages so I want to make sure everything is ready. Trying to do as much laundry as possible. It means no fans and no air conditioning and I hate heat. I hope there will be no falling trees; last year, I was lucky to have my lawn guy do it for cheap.He will not be able to cut this one down.

Take care, everyone, I will be back!

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Thank you, Reader and Mission!

Sorry, but last weekend was a nightmare: thankfully, the hurricane missed us, landing in RI instead. So we missed the wind, but got lots of rain. 

The whole scare depressed me a little as I was reminded of the last time we had such a scare: it was in late October 2012 when my mom was still alive. Despite the outage, Mom and I were fairly calm: we had each other after all. In fact, we had a good time walking to the library together. We were fortunate in that the outage lasted only 2 and a half days, as opposed to 10 the previous year. (My parents did not experience it since they were in Taiwan.)

I don’t know what I would do if we had an outage this year. At least in 2011 and 2012, the temps were between 30 and 60. It’s in the 90s right now. AND humid. Can you imagine not having a fan or air conditioning?!

In fact, I spent the entire day in my bedroom, the coolest place. And I just finished another post. This focuses on my mom’s cancer diagnosis. 
https://francesachiu.substack.com/p/kingdom-cancer?r=22hhf&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

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Hi Silver,

Thank you for sharing your newest post with us. I was so sorry to read about the insensitive doctors and how they delivered the news to your beloved mom. I can't imagine being so clinical at such a sad and difficult time. (((hugs)))

Glad to hear the hurricane missed your area. Watching the news about Hurricane Ida. It's so sad.

 

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Isn’t it terrible, Reader? The folks hit by Ida will be without power for at least a month and in broiling weather too. All power lines should be buried underground. If Taiwan can do it, I don’t see why the US can’t. CA is just beginning to from what I’ve heard. It’s because all these idiot legislators only want to protect the wealthy from tax increases. And incidentally, most have generators too. 
Wait till you see this new section I’m writing. The doctors are truly selfish and uncaring. I keep wondering if I killed mom by moving us out to CT. Maybe she woujd still be alive if we stayed in Chicago and had better doctors. Although here I’m also somewhat skeptical too. One nurse told me how she was instructed to take better care of wealthy people, particularly donors.

This country is the most disgustingly democratic country ever. I wish I were back in England where they had nationalized health care and everyone treated the same. Mom liked healthcare there too; she was amazed at how little meds cost.

 

Edit: undemocratic, not democratic

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I hear you Silver. It is disgusting that wealthy donors get preferential treatment. It makes me sick how many people have to deal with uncaring and incompetent doctors and nurses. Patients deserve a lot better.

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Just announcing a new substack post, Running on Empty: https://francesachiu.substack.com/p/running-on-empty?r=22hhf&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy This focuses on the period between  her cancer diagnosis and death. 

I’d also like to get a few opinions here. I want to discuss my lifelong relationship with my parents but am not sure how to place it in my narrative. Would it be better to incorporate it into the grief portion, or splice it between her death and the grieving process?

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Hi Silver,

Thank you for letting us know.

In my humble opinion, I would suggest the latter. You're a wonderful writer and no matter how you choose to incorporate it into your narrative it will be powerful.

Please take care and have a good long weekend.

 

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Thanks, Reader—I’m still thinking about it and will probably need at least a week to think about it. At the moment, I’m jumping into my reaction to Whitney Houston’s songs which carried me through my grief. 

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Reader, that is one powerful song. This is Whitney at her most mature.

I love All at Once and Run to You because both songs just brilliantly capture how I think of Mom.

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Thank you, Silver, for sharing another excellent installment of your grief journey narrative.  I can relate so much to the things you wrote about -- from your mom's experience with Lovenox to your wondering if the hospital was trying to hasten your mom's demise.   I believe the hospital killed my dad by giving him not one but two pneumonia vaccines when he was in a weakened state.  He had a massive heart attack later that day.  Not that I am against vaccines, but they shouldn't be administered to someone who is already seriously ill.  The pneumonia vaccine can be hard on even healthy individuals. 

There were other errors as well, so egregious, that I could swear he was a victim of a death panel, which of course, hospitals deny exist.  When I asked them to switch him to another hospital, they told me he couldn't be moved.  And yet, the same hospital had saved his life at least twice before during previous stays.  On one visit he practically received VIP treatment.  On another visit they almost killed him by delaying his surgery for hours until he started    vomiting from low blood sugar.  Thankfully, a compassionate nurse canceled the surgery.  How could service change so drastically at the same hospital?  It was the luck of the draw.  It certainly wasn't my dad's fault.  He was a model patient, a charming man.  Oftentines, he wouldn't call for assistance to use the commode.  He would struggle on his own, because the nurses would complain about how overworked they were.   Sometimes they wouldn't answer.  It didn't matter how nice he was -- I think he was too nice.   

To my disbelief, even in Intensive Care he was not monitored closely enough, in spite of the reassurances of one crew of nurses.  The next shift was a different story!  I've never had to stay in a hospital for my own care, and I hope to God I never do.

Sadly, even at two other hospitals my dad went to before, he experienced errors and delays in receiving the proper care.  Not all the medical personnel were negligent, but even one or two are too much.  There were at least three who I feel were negligent during his final hospital stay.  But I felt I wouldn't be able to prove anything on account of his age and comorbidities.  Naturally, they would say it was his time.  All I could do was commiserate with the relative of another patient who also received inadequate care, including a misdiagnosis.

In reference to your question, I agree with Reader.  I'm sure that any order in which you decide to present the details will be the right order, thanks to your superb skill as a writer.  

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Thank you! And I feel for you,Missionblue: I was informed by an ER doctor that they don’t give priority to elderly patients because they are likely to die anyway. Can you believe that? I guess she was at least honest. I wouldn’t be surprised if the doctors tried to off your dad or my mom. It’s really very easy because they can make uP some medical nonsense and blame it on an elderly patient’s alleged weakness as you suggest. And if that person seems weak, it’s just convenient to kill them by overdosing. Even my cousin the pharmacist commented that my mom’s meds were rather strong for such a frail woman  

Unless, of course, they are wealthy. Doctors love nothing more than kissing rich a$$. Because they aspire to that position and, perhaps more importantly, are also afraid of being sued. 

I also wonder if we got screwed because we didn’t have a man with us. My dad obviously had dementia so they could give a flying phuck about him. I was obviously single too: so they knew either way we were practically defenseless. 

All of this almost makes me feeL I killed Mom. Maybe if we stayed in Chicago, this wouldn’t have happened. But over there, as I think I mentioned, a nurse told me hospitals only care about rich donors. 
 

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I do believe that elderly patients are neglected more than younger ones.  One nurse suggested I take my dad off the ventilator and let him die naturally.   Luckily, he was able to be weaned off the ventilator, so I had a few precious days filled with hope that he would recover.  At least, he could talk again.  Then they transferred him to Comfort Care because he chose not to have the heart operation he needed.  There was no guarantee he would have survived, and they said he could end up like a vegetable on a ventilator and dialysis.  They presented the dilemma as have the surgery or Comfort Care.  There was no other option like caring for him until he feels better.  It ultimately was my dad's choice not to have the surgery, but they really pushed Comfort Care instead of normal inpatient services -- I believe for their own benefit, not his.  

I don't blame my dad for not wanting open heart surgery.  They had almost killed him with that delayed foot surgery.  After the surgery, he was worse than before.  When I got him home his toes were gangrenous from the hospital not changing the dressing often enough.  Thank heaven for a great visiting nurse who taught me how to treat the gangrene with medicated honey dressings.   It took a year for his foot to recover completely.  The doctor called it a miracle.  It wasn't a miracle, it was proper daily care!  I think she was disappointed she couldn't amputate his leg below the knee as she had predicted.  That would have paid nicely for her next vacation.  

I also tend to think that having a man with me might have made a difference.  It certainly does with home contractors and car mechanics.  Even my half brother who is an RN wasn't much help to me until the very end when it was too late.  It's sad that I have only one cousin still living in San Francisco.  She is a Buddhist minister, and even she didn't have the time to visit my dad.  In the old days, my relatives chose to live close to each other.  Nowadays, they are spread far apart.  

Don't blame yourself.  Hospitals are the same all over.  They are in the business to make money.  Unfortunately, most doctors and nurses are motivated by money more than compassion.   Even if they started their studies with great zeal and the best of intentions, they get burned out and become inured to suffering.  It's sad to see nurses and doctors laughing in the middle of the night at the nurses' station when the patients are trying to sleep.  Can't they build a sound proof laughing room for their flirtatious jokes?  They also did noisy repairs to the hospital in the middle of the night.  A rolling table got flipped into the air when a nurse lowered the bed without moving it out of the way.  Even a clock fell off the wall of my dad's room.  It was a comedy of errors, except it wasn't funny.    

That's just my dad's hospital experience.  I had a family friend who had Guillain-Barré syndrome at a different hospital.  He was paralyzed and couldn't speak.  A nurse used ear drops on his eyes and another tried to feed him exercise putty because it was in a paper cup!

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Exact, Missionblue. When you think about the number of nurses who don’t even get vaccines, you know the medical profession is seriously messed up.

I still think about what they did to my father. He got desperately hungry at the hospital (woujdnt eat at home) but they wouldn’t him eat, saying they had to run tests.And yet, they waited far longer than was warranted. So meanwhile he got weaker and weaker such that they claimed he couldn’t thrive. I still suspect he could have lived a little longer. Just like I believe they gave my mom a medically induced coma.

I don’t know if I told you but there was a child abuse and moleststion case at my mom’s hospital. The doctors and staff covered it for over 40 years. This was discovered after a huge cache of child porn was found at a doc’ s house. 

The only thing the docs care about is their precious “vacay”

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I'm here :) Just woke up feeling a bit lost, thought I'd just pop in and see. As I'm a couple of weeks late, I have a lot of catching up to do. I will come back and read later.

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I hear you about hospitals, Silver.  Some nursing homes are just as bad or worse!   

I hope by the time we need longterm care, there will be robot nurses who are programmed to be nice, ethical, and on time!  A lot of human nurses and doctors  have no heart either.

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I know, Mission—and it scares me. I’ve been reading stories from other folks, including white men, and a lot of them are complaining about irresponsibility.

I was feeling very depressed today even though it was sunny…..somehow it felt so quiet. I felt myself missing Mom and yes, even Dad. And I wonder how I will feel when my cats die one day. They are the only ones making my life worthwhile right now. 

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I understand, Silver, it's tough not having a lot of safe options to socialize during a pandemic.  A friend who works in a doctor's office was telling me that now there is a new variant coming from Africa called Quartz that may not even be helped by a vaccine.  Times like these are when I'm glad I don't have children or elderly parents to worry about.

Speaking of quartz, Katy Perry claims her rose quartz helps her attract men, and Adele swears crystals decrease her anxiety onstage.  Whatever works.  

Once the pandemic passes, there are ways to meet people such as online dating sites, MeetUps and various groups related to specific interests.  Of course, nobody can replace the unconditional love of a parent, but I don't like to live alone.  That's why I have two homeless roommates, and it's working out for me.  At least, they make me laugh and they like to barbecue.  I have an elegant older friend who also depends on her Mexican gardener for companionship.  A lot of them have a code of rustic chivalry.  Just because they're homeless here doesn't mean they don't have decent homes and families back in Mexico.

I have a single friend overseas who lost both of his beloved parents and was depressed for years, but he finally looks happy again.  He recorded himself singing songs in his convertible.  It took 15 years to get to this point, but he made it!

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Actually, I’m not too interested in meeting people: I just really miss my mom especially because no one understood me as much. 

There are days when I feel good—and there are days I feel like crap. Today’s one of the latter. Maybe I’ve been thinking and writing too much about my mom; maybe  it’s listening to too much sad tunes. I think I listened to Mozart’s Requiem twice and now can’t get it out of mind! ( I was listening to a lot yesterday when planning a new post on music.)

But a good friend called me last night; we had a great conversation so I don’t know why I’m feeling so blue 

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I know what you mean, Silver.  I have days like that, too, thinking about my father.  There will never be another person in my life who will understand me as well as he did.  

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Yup. The friend I mentioned is a wonderful guy; we joke about being GF and BF. We agree 99% on politics and we love Thomas Paine (we’ve both published on him).

But, Mission, he’s just not as open minded as Mom.Even though she was brought up on classical, she learned to appreciate pop—like Michael Jackson. 
My friend HATES MJ. Calls him a pedophile. He may be—but the evidence has never been clear. Plus I believe in making a distinction between an artist and a person. Someone may be a great musician but lousy human being. For instance, the anti-Semitic Richard Wagner.

I miss not being able to discuss fashion, stocks, and movies…none of my friends have these interests. I feel I can’t be myself with others the way I am with Mom.

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I feel the same way, Silver.  It's so hard to find someone who shares my interests.  They must be out there, because nobody is that unique, but where?   I have tried several dating sites, and have received plenty of responses yet only two men have commented on my interests.  

About Michael Jackson, I also admire his music, but not the man.  He never sang about pedophilia, thank goodness. I have the same attitude about  Richard Wagner.  He was not a nice person in many ways, but he predated the Nazis, and there is no anti-Semitism in his librettos that I know of. Shakespeare perpetuated a vile stereotype about Jews in his character of Shylock, yet he is still loved the world over. 

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So well put, Mission! With our parents, we can be genuine. For the most part, we know they will never dump us because we disagree. We can accept our differences in opinion. For instance, mom and I had very different feelings about Hillary. My mom thought she was great; I couldn’t stand her. I only voted for Hillary when she agreed to Bernie’s platform. And I told myself, if nothing else I’ll vote for her…just for Mom. Since then, I’ve sought out diehard Bernie friends….but even there, we’ve had arguments and breakups. 
I absolutely agree with you on MJ and Wagner. I’ve noticed that the vast majority of those who believe in allegations against MJ are predominantly white. I have to admit I don’t know who to trust—but I do otherwise admire his tireless devotion to children. He visited a foster care facility and was shocked by its conditions, whereupon he made a huge donation to them. He also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on toys for underprivileged children; one assistant noted how he, MJ, and others would test the toys and put in batteries to make sure they were working. 

As for Wagner, he once said something that surprised me pleasantly. Someone asked if he objected to a Jewish conductor who was performing his work: and he answered as long as he’s great, it doesn’t matter. 

Shakespeare doesn’t get as much flack, I think, because he didn’t have a long history of anti-Semitic remarks like Wagner. And yes, he’s been criticized by a number of literary scholars for his creation of Shylock. 

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Hi Silver,

Sorry to hear you're feeling blue. I noticed your mom's angelversary is in October. The same month as my dad. It's hard as the date gets closer. I'm still in disbelief that I've been on this Earth without my dad for almost 5 years. It doesn't feel possible.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and feelings and experiences with us. I know it helps me feel less alone. 

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Yes, Reader, her angelversary  is approaching….I’m realizing this as I write the blog: and it may be the recollection that is depressing me.

I’m sorry about your Dad…I still remember you posting about it the first time in 2016. It really is hard to let go when you love someone so much. My fifth year was 2019: I cried a lot after I turned in my revised book to the editor in October not only. because I knew Mom was not going to see my book, but also because I had started in November 2013. Naturally, memories of that month gushed back. I was strange,y depressed then when my parents left for Taiwan; I had not felt like that before. Oddly enough, as the docs told me, my moms cancer started that month. It was as if I had 6th sense.

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Thank you for your compassion Silver. 

You're very brave to write about your mom and to share your story with all of us. So many things you talk about remind me of my dad. 

Take care and hope you're feeling better.

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First of all, I apologize for my embarrassing typos. I should never type on my phone but I do:)

I felt there needed to be awareness of the grieving experienced by adults, especially middle aged and upwards. The vast majority of resources for those who have lost their parents are aimed at children and teens—understandably so since they are still vulnerable at that age. 

But there are a good number of folks over 40 who grieve for their parents: especially if they’re single or childless and whose longest and deepest connection is with their parent(s). We see that right in this forum. 
 

That’s why I felt compelled to write this: to tell all those still grieving for their parents that it’s ok. And that it’s never right to be criticized for taking  as long as you need. And NO ONE has any right to tell you that a spouse’s or child’s death is worse. If your parent has been the only and most important person in your life, it’s as bad as any other grief! GRIEF IS NOT A PISSING CONTEST.

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I wholeheartedly agree, Silver.  Thank you for sharing your story.  Even though the death of one's parents is the natural order of things, the loss is tremendous, if there has been a close, lifelong bond between the parent and the adult child.  I had my dad with me 55 years, but the fact he had a long life doesn't make losing him easier, because time strengthened our bond.  Even though his death was from natural causes, it still felt sudden and unexpected when it actually happened.  On top of that, I suspect he died from iatrogenic causes.  If any grief is worse than another, I would think that losing a loved one through violence, accident or medical negligence is the hardest. 

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Yes, thank you! Violent and sudden unpredictable death is probably the hardest grief to deal with because shock magnifies everything.

 I often wonder how I woujd have felt if I lost my mom later, say if I were 65 rather than 51. Would it be even more difficult given our length of time together? Yet, having said that, I would not have wanted to lose my Mom when I was in my late 20s because it was arguably the most difficult part of my life, second to losing her. I felt near suicidal at times. The point tho is that the loss of a loved one is difficult and unpredictable, anytime and any place.


No one should ever be reprimanded for grieving. I remember quite a few people here who reported getting criticized for doing so: one was a young mother who was told that losing a parent was nothing compared to losing a child and she should get over it. Another was a wife shamed by her husband for grieving over her mother’s passing. Talk about adding salt to one’s wounds!

I gotta say my father, despite being an ass in general, was at least not as insensitive. He let me cry at the dinner table night after night. And really, I think this allowance made the grief more bearable because bottling up emotions only makes things WORSE. 

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That is so true, Silver.  Losing a parent at a young age must be worse than losing them at an older age, because of all the time together that is lost.  Plus young people need their parents more than mature adults.  I guess I would rather lose a parent in middle age than when I'm old myself, because old age is hard enough already. 

I know it's not a contest, but I think that the suicide of a loved one must rank up there with the hardest grief of all, because it might have been preventable. 

Still, no one has the right to dismiss another person's grief.  The worst grief is the one you experience yourself.  No one can feel another person's pain.  One can only empathize, and some people can't even do that!

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