Sunday, March 31, 2013

How Can the World Go On When My Loved One Has Died?

[Reviewed and Updated January 19, 2023]

I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything’s the same as it was
I can’t understand, no, I can’t understand
How life goes on the way it does
~ The End of the World
by Arthur Kent and Sylvia Dee, as sung by Skeeter Davis

A reader writes: My father died 5 weeks ago. He died at 49 of a heart attack, working in the snow. I was very close to him my whole life. I spoke to him three times the day he died. Little did I know that hours later I would be giving the hospital a positive ID to his body. I have trouble getting that night out of my head. My dad was the funniest and carefree person I have ever known, and I know I will never be the same. Everyone from old friends even down to my own mother has been insensitive and somewhat rude. People think I should be ok by now. I feel like no one around me understands how much it hurts. I can't imagine such a positive part of my life gone forever. I cry all the time everyday. I feel like there is no answer because he won't be coming back. I know my dad thought I was the most gorgeous girl, he was so proud of me, he bragged about me to everyone he talked to. It's hard to know the person who loved me the most is gone, and so is that love. I don't know how to act, I don't know how to treat people. I'm so angry that the world is going on like he wasn't that important. Even my brother who I know loved my dad deeply seems to be fine. I'm far from fine, and I'm starting to think I have a problem. I don't want to go to work anymore because the people seems to think I need to get over it, and a few have said that. I miss him so much I can't believe I will never here him speak again.

My response: My dear, I am so very sorry for your loss, and I think your reactions are perfectly understandable, given the closeness of your relationship with your dad. My own father died too soon many years ago, and I will never "let go" of him, either. He lives forever in my mind, in my heart, and in the way I live my life. All I can promise you is that over time (a lifetime, in fact) you will learn to live with this loss, and you will find a way to carry your father's love with you forever in your heart, and in your memories of him.

The feeling that the world goes on as if nothing happened, when your own world has been shattered, is one we've all experienced when we've lost someone dearly loved.

I think that feeling is captured perfectly in a poem by W.H. Auden entitled Funeral Blues. 

The poem became famous after it was read so beautifully by actor John Hannah, playing Matthew at the funeral of his beloved partner Gareth, in a scene in the film, Four Weddings and a Funeral 


This is the poem:

Funeral Blues
by W.H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good. 

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© by Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, BC-TMH

1 comment:

  1. Exactly how I feel after losing my husband almost 6 months ago to cancer. He was my everything and sometimes I just don;t want to go on without him.


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