When I started this blog, I never imagined I’d be using it to grieve anyone besides my grandmother…which doesn’t make much sense since I plan on keeping this blog active as long as it isn’t cost-prohibitive to do so.
On Monday night, all of that changed when my uncle passed away. Funnily enough, I got the call while I was watching The Bachelor. My uncle had been in the hospital for weeks. My mother called me and told me he’d taken a turn for the worst. I found out from my aunt later that day that he’d been put on a feeding tube. I’d been holding out hope my uncle was going to come out of his illness alive until I heard that. From what I’ve heard from other people, and what I know from my grandmother’s death, once someone can’t eat on his own, or stops eating, he’s getting close to the end.
I immediately put a care plan in place: I told my cousin I didn’t think our uncle was going to make it and therefore, she needed to answer her phone when I called, no matter what. See my cousin and most of my immediate family all live in Pennsylvania in the town where I grew up. I’m down here in Georgia on my own for the most part. She agreed. That was on Tuesday, the 16th. By Monday night, he was gone.
I cried on the phone when a different uncle called to tell me my Uncle Rick had passed. I cried, hung up, checked on my aunt and my cousin, my Uncle Rick’s son, and then I immediately went into emotional shock and denial. It’s still really hard for me to believe my uncle’s dead, though it’s hitting me a bit harder today because I didn’t have work to distract me.
I’m also really, really, really angry. Here’s why:
- My family is really secretive when it comes to health matters, so I wouldn’t have even known my uncle was in the hospital if it wasn’t for my cousin Danielle. She’s the one I got most of my information from and who I told she needed to be there for me no matter what. I got ALL of my updates on my uncle’s condition from her except for when he took a turn for the worst and when he died. This really pisses me off because my family claims they do this to “protect” me, but I explicitly asked to be kept updated about my uncle’s condition so I could prepare myself as best I could, which you really can’t do, and they still didn’t do it…which brings me to the next thing I’m pissed about.
- So I was kept in the dark for protection, but once my uncle died, no one in my family checked on me until Thursday morning. THURSDAY MORNING. That’s three days later, (TRIGGER WARNING) I could’ve slit my wrists by then.
- I’m also really upset that I didn’t get to say goodbye to my uncle. When I found out he was in the hospital, I tried to call him, but he didn’t answer his phone and his voicemail was full. Towards the end, the hospital was taking an iPad into my uncle’s room so people could video chat with him. He wasn’t conscious most times, but it’s possible he could hear people talking to him. I found this out on Sunday. I tried to set up a call Monday night. My uncle’s vitals started crashing an hour later and then he passed away. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my grandmother either, not right before she died anyway. I said it to her the first time I saw her after she was placed in a nursing home because I thought she was going to die then. She didn’t. She lived for another three years.
- I’m angry that I haven’t received as much support as I thought I would. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by that given the same thing happened when my grandmother died, but I am because I thought it’d be different this time. I set up a support system for myself, but only one of those people has really come through. Granted my family is also grieving right now, so I know they probably don’t have the energy to check on me as much as they should, but it still hurts. Regarding my “friends,” two people have really come through for me, the rest, not so much. There is someone I knew whose dog passed away in 2019. I called her, texted her, offered to send her food, which she didn’t accept, but eventually, she allowed me to take her to dinner. What did she have for me when my uncle died? She’s sorry for my loss and she’ll keep me and my family in her prayers. No phone call, no text, just a few sentences. Now I know it shouldn’t be tit for tat, but I was really expecting at least a text from this person and it hurt that I didn’t get one.
- I’m angry that I have to go through this grief process AGAIN. It took me three years to be able to think about my grandmother and not feel incredibly sad, to feel sustained happiness again (though I haven’t felt happiness like I did before she died and I don’t expect I ever will), and now, here I am at the bottom of the grief well again. I don’t want to be here!
In addition to being angry, I feel really sad and alone. I feel like I’m going through this by myself, even though my immediate family is going through it too. It also sucks to lose someone during a global pandemic because I can’t just run to a friend’s house for comfort.
The grief fatigue is starting to set in. I didn’t get out of bed today until 9:30pm and even then, it was still hard to get up. I’m exhausted as I write this. I’ve also tasted metal in mouth at least once a day since my uncle died. Have any of you who’ve lost loved ones ever experienced this??
My uncle’s wake is tomorrow, but I don’t think I’m going to virtually attend (I can’t risk traveling to Pennsylvania right now). I’m not ready to see my uncle lying in a casket yet. I will be attending his funeral on Monday though. I am nowhere near prepared for that.
Even though I’ve been through intense grief before, this time around it isn’t any easier, though it’s less intense because I wasn’t as close to my uncle as I was to my grandmother. I still feel like shit, I still wish this had never happened, I still wish I could see the one I lost one more time.
The only “silver linings” I can find are that at least I’m working from home right now, so I don’t have to deal with a bunch of people in an office while I’m trying to cope, and that as my uncle really took my grandmother’s death hard, he’s reunited with her now and I know he’s happier now than he was on earth.
For any of you that have lost multiple loved ones, any advice on coping you can provide is much appreciated. I’m about to start watching comedy specials to help with the pain, so any you could recommend would be helpful too. I’m starting with Mo’Nique’s “I Coulda Been Your Cellmate!” so you can skip that one. A couple people have asked what they can do for me, and I was raised that when someone loses someone, you send food. So if you want to, feel free to send me a DoorDash gift card to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not sure when I’ll feel up to writing again, but if you’re a praying person, please keep me in your prayers.