Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The difference.

 "We are a family
Like a giant tree
Branching out towards the sky

We are a family

And so much more
Than just you and I. . ."

~ Family

My father's sister died in her sleep last night. Her daughter called her several times and didn't get through. Eventually she trusted her instincts and went to her mother's house. Several knocks and one police officer later, my cousin learned why my aunt wasn't answering her calls or the door. She couldn't. She had slipped away.

I wasn't close to my Auntie Liz. My recollections of her are built on childhood shenanigans leading to swats on our behinds and loud clapping hands as cousins all performed at family holiday gatherings. I also remember those same clapping hands on the dance floor on my wedding day. I hold this as a fond memory.

No, I wasn't close to her. But I am close to my father. And my father has lost his only living sister. His baby sister.

There were eleven of them to begin with. Seven boys and four girls. Three brothers and now four sisters have since made their transition. Now there are four. Four boys left, including my father.

Dad sent me a text message when he found out. I'm not sure he was ready to talk so he sent a simple text heavy-laden with sad-face emoticons. Something about that hurt my heart somewhere deep. I called him immediately.

Hearing him caused an ache much greater than those emoticons ever could.

You know? I deal with life and death regularly. I've seen people moments after losing a loved one and have heard them cry out with as much gut-wrenching angst as you can imagine.

But today, I heard my own father quietly weeping into the phone. Sighing and weeping and telling me he was sad. And no matter how much death and life you see on a daily basis, hearing your own father weeping is akin to having a ruthless hand clawing straight through your chest. And pulling your heart out.

This is the difference.



  1. I'm so sorry for the loss to your family. It is especially hard to listen as those we love suffer a loss. My father lost his uncle a couple weeks ago and listening to the person who was always so strong for me crying on the phone just tore me to pieces. And yeah, I really hate that death is such a part of my job in the ER. I really really hate it.

  2. Aww, I'm so sorry for your loss. I've only heard my father cry twice in my lifetime and each time it was pained me more deeply than I could have imagined.

  3. My most heartfelt condolences to your father, to you, to your aunt's children and to the rest of your family. May she live on forever in your hearts, in your thoughts, in your clapping hands. May your father celebrate her memory with his hands clapping twice as loudly at his own and also her grandchildren's weddings.

  4. I am so sorry. I am glad your dad has you and his grandsons to ease the loss. Saying goodbye to family is so hard. God bless and love.

  5. I am so sorry. I have seen my own father openly weep only a handful of times, and one of those times was when his dear sister died. I know how heart-wrenching that is -- sending love and prayers and healing thoughts your way.

  6. My condolences to your dad and your family. Joanne

  7. I'm sorry for your loss, too. Praying for your family.

  8. I have read your posts every day and usually a laughter or a smile escapes from me. Today, I wept like a baby. My heart goes to your father, loosing a loved one is not easy.

  9. I had my tissue ready for this one...

  10. I am very sorry for your family's loss. I will keep your father in my prayers.

  11. There is something heart wrenching about a strong presence like your dad (or mine) crying. It does touch your soul because it happens so rarely and only in moments of deep sorrow. Losing a family member is harder, I think, the older we get. Something about getting closer to the end yourself, losing parts of your childhood. Please tell your dear dear father that we are all praying for him, lifting him up.

  12. I am so terribly sorry.
    Peace be with you and your father and the rest of your family.

  13. So sorry. You describe the grief of a loved one very well. It is very hard to watch the ones you love suffer loss, harder still to lose ones you love so much.

    I have a cherished picture of my dad holding a photo of his sister, his only sibling, lost to us too soon, you can see the adoration in his eyes. It's heartbreaking.


  14. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
    Sending hugs your way ~

  15. From the deck of the Poop,

    My eyes welled up briefly then I smiled as I remembered my baby sister. She was born right after me. I taught her to drive and other things along the way. I'll miss her.

    Thanks for all of the wonderful comments.


  16. Dear Heart,

    A serious prayer that you and your family get trough his one, and that your father find comfort in all that is in his life at this moment. Take care of yourselves.

    Maria, fellow Meharrian


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