Not Saga, Sage

Voice Card  -  Volume 33  -  Stuart Card Number 5  -  Fri, Sep 9, 1994 9:10 AM

This is ONE OF 3 responses to VC 32 Suzanne 1 ("Dark Side Saga")...


Your hello card and the card to which this one responds are very moving. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss (and once again, to you, too, Janine).

I remember when my father died, in 1986. It was and still is the most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with (worse than my wife's leaving me this summer, for instance, and certainly much, much worse than the previous, distant second place finisher of hell-in-my-life - studying and going through doctoral exams).

Even though my dad died suddenly - his heart failed as he was sitting by the pool, smoking a cigarette (he never did crack that nasty habit) - he had had heart disease for some time, and I had, I thought, been preparing myself for his death for some time. (I still remember walking up the hill to Orson Spencer Hall at the University of Utah in 1983 thinking that my dad didn't have long to live, and how John mysterioulsy appeared, walking stick in hand, quirky insights abounding, to relieve me of my morose thoughts.)

Nevertheless, when I got the word of my father's passing (I still remember when and where I was - watching Andy Griffith @ 1:00 in the bedroom of our fifth floor apartment in Salt Lake City), I remember it came as a sudden and great shock. Though I had been saying "I love you" in our phone conversations for the past few years (something I would never do when I was younger) I felt that I had never said it enough, of course. And I remember the numbness I felt, and of crying that Christmas season when Kathy was running around looking for gifts for her dad, and even to this day I still have intense moments of needing and wanting to talk to my father.

For a long while afterward, I would dream that he was talking to me. I still dream about him occassionally - the last time a few months ago, and I remember saying over and over again in the dream, "Dad, how nice it is to see you, dad, how nice it is to see you again."

But, and this is why I am writing this card to you, there will come a time (for me it was about 6 to 8 months later, for others it is no doubt different) when I realized that the grief was not so intense anymore. Of course, I still loved my father deeply and missed him like crazy, but the pain of loss wasn't so dominating anymore. I think my dad would have wanted that.

Yes, it's stupid and insensitive for people to say things like "Well, you knew he was dying, didn't you? Why aren't you over this thing yet? It's been two weeks, hasn't it?" Forgive them. They don't know. Or they forget how much such a loss hurts (I still remember how incongruous it felt for people at the gathering at my mother's house after my father's funeral to be talking about things like their bypass surgery and how I hadn't spoken loudly enough at the memorial service).

Anyway, all I'm trying to say in this digression-ridden voice card is how sorry I am for your loss and that, though the loss can never be replaced, the grief will eventually (though not in two weeks or even a month!) lessen and not hurt so prominently as it does now.