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Guest Sarah Mueller

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Guest Sarah Mueller

My father died in February of this year, just shy of his 57th birthday. For the most part my dad was in good health, although he liked his beer and smokes :). To say that he was a hard worker is an understatement, as far as I know he had never missed a day of work in his life. My dad was an over-the-road truck driver. He hated being a truck driver, but it paid the bills and my mom didnt have to work so he did what he had to. So one morning my mom came over and said that my dad didnt call her last night. To most people that statement shouldnt seem like a big deal, but my dad ALAWYS called my mom every night. I tried to blow off the conversation and went to work. About 5 hours later my world stopped. I work in a veterinary hospital and most of the time I do not get personal calls, however that morning I was paged saying that a man named Ronnie was on the phone for me. I immediately knew what was wrong. Ronnie was my dads best friend and I hadnt seen or talked to him for several years. It took everything that I had to pick up the reciever but I did. I drew in a deep breath and asked Ronnie what was going on, he told me that I was needed at home. I asked him where my dad was and he avoided answering me. At that point I was hysterical so he answered me, Sarah, your daddy died in Garden City, please come home. I wanted to die. My father was my world and he did alone in his GD truck of a massive heart attack, ALONE at the age of 56. There are not enough words to say just how much his death changed my life. When he died my youngest daughter was only 2 months old, he hadnt even held her yet. I am only 30 years old and I feel like I have aged 20 years since he has died. On the surface I seem normal, but underneath I feel like I dont exist. I have managed to almost destroy my marriage and alienate my 10 year old daughter. Does this ever get better? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Very similar to you - here is my story:

On June 29, 1989, at around 6am in Gilroy, CA., my dad was driving his truck to Las Vegas, NV., for a quick vacation. It was a Thursday. The weekend before he moved my sister and I into a townhouse, he was 48 years old, I was 24 years old and my sister was 19 years old with a 1 yr old son, my dad's first grandchild, and his only grandson. He was a carpenter all his life, very strong, very big, very handsome, I always felt safe knowing he was there, and always would be there. That weekend he helped us move, for the very first time ever, he looked different to me and I didn't know why, so I blew it off. That Wednesday, he came over before his trip to Vegas to say goodbye and have dinner with my sis and I, again, he looked different and I couldn't figure out why, as he left, he hugged me as always, but this time he wouldn't let go, and I didn't know why, so I just held onto him.

The next communication my family would receive would be at around 4am Friday morning, 6/30/89. At the age of 48, with one grandchild, never having walked me down an aisle to get married, at around 6am on 6/29/89, all by himself, my dad died of a massive heart attack. He was driving at the time, and was able to pull off to the side of the highway with minimal damage to his truck, and there on the side of the hwy, hwy 101 in Gilroy, CA., he died all by himself.

There is so much I want to share with you Sarah, but I'll begin with this. It's now been 16 1/2 years, it took me 11 years to work through the grief, and 11 years was way, way too long. I and my family know exactly what you and your family are going through. As the oldest, my sisters were 19 and 16, the 16 yr old still in high school, and with my parents being divorced, I had all the legal responisbilities to close all of his affairs, of arranging the funeral, everything. Even if my parents had still been married, my mom would not have been able to handle all the pressure and stress, even though they were divorced, they still loved each other very, very much, so much so that the night before he left town, they were intimate (she would later tell us).

The first year I went back to smoking and drinking, he left us some life insurance $ and to me it felt like blood money, so I squandered it all away within about 18 months, and boy the guilt from that.

But anyway, I just wanted you to know there is someone out here who has been through exactly what you are going through right now, only we were even younger than your family. I am now 41 years old and have since gotten married, both my sisters have more kids, but our dad has never been able to be a part of this life, this life of husbands and grandchildren, and yes, it's a knife in the gut and in the heart, and it will come out, but it takes a long, long time and a lot, lot of patience.

You need to not drive your daughter and husband away, you need them now more than ever, have them read this if it will help, write me and tracy.hebert@phs.com or tracyeh@deanith.net and I will tell you everything, I've written tributes, I've written about the journey, I've written about the pain, I would love to share all with you.

I'm on this post because on 10/25/05, my husaband and I had to put our preciuos 16 year old baby girl Meow-Meow to sleep due to kidney failure and hyper-thyroid. We don't have any children, and I love her as much as any mother loves her child, and it was completely devestating. It was the hardest loss since my dad, and there have been at least a half a dozen losses since my dad died, and Meow-Meow's has been the hardest.

You will get through this, but it is going to take time, and work, and patience, acceptance, and you need the help and support of your family, at least with my experienece, I couldn't do it alone. AFter the 1st year is when I met my husband and I was a complete wreck. Thank God for him, I prayed for the Lord to send me someone to help me through because I couldn't do it alone anymore, and He sent me Dean. I was able to stop smoking and drinking, I started paying the bills again and I stopped wasting money, and I let go of all the guilt, guilt over things I had absolutely no control over.

Please write back, and take care, and God Bless!

In Loving Memory of Loyd English, Jr., and Meow-Meow English-Hebert,

Tracy English-Hebert

I kept my dad's name to honor him.

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Well, just as I was about to reply to you I saw Tracy's response, and I have to say, there's little I can add at the outset to her posting. Your circumstances are so similar, I think you'll find alot to talk about together.

Things were very different for me, with all 3 of my losses, but if it helps any, I'm into my second year since losing my Mom ( and one brother - both in the same year ) and while there are still plenty of things that hurt, I also know I'm not in as bad shape as the first year.

In general, I think the longer we avoid the work of grieving, the longer and harder it is to progress to the point where it's not all-consuming in our lives. There are things to feel as deeply as we are able at any given moment, things to think about in our heads, things to try ( 'net boards, grief groups, individual counseling, etc, etc. ), things to read and educate ourselves about...a whole host of things to utilize in the interest of helping ourselves climb out of these dark, despairing holes. And I'm sure we'd all like to have done with it all yesterday! But it doesn't usually work that way.

Also, with the holidays looming ( and I think that's a good word for how many of us feel about holidays now ), I'm sure that's playing a factor in your sorrow right now, as these feelings usually worsen during those times we particularly associated with our loved ones' presence. However, it does help to talk about your days of sadness, whenever they are, with whomever is willing to listen. And that's what we're ALL doing here in this healing place. I've found that the more people I've chatted with who understood and accepted my feelings, no matter what they were, the better off I was, the more able I was to be able to work through things as they came up....and it's not over yet, so here I still am!

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