Love and Grief
Affirmation: We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
My dad, Frank Grolimund, died when I was 34. He was 62. He died from a glioblastoma brain tumor. At the time, I didn’t recognize how young we both were. Now that my age has passed his by several years, I am fully aware of how young he was. The diagnosis was a mystery to us and to him. They did the surgery and then we had one meeting with his doctor who explained to us that my dad would be alright for a short while and then the tumor would return. He didn’t explain what that meant but we knew it wasn’t a good thing. He never told us, “He’s going to die.” I’m not sure we would have heard him or believed him. My dad was not in the room for this conference and no one came to offer us guidance about how to deal with all this. He died about 18 months after the surgery. His death had a profound effect on my life. I don’t think I ever stopped thinking about death after he died. He had such a zest for life. It was remarkable! He was my hero and I loved him dearly. It’s been over 30 years and it still makes my heart ache that he’s no longer on this earth.
Yes, I have many other friends and relatives who have died but these two men were dearest to me. My father’s death left me with a sense of urgency. I fully recognized that I didn’t want to miss a thing. I also don’t put many dreams on hold. One of the questions in my monthly review is, “What did you want to do that you didn’t get to do?” I must admit most months I don’t have an answer to the question. Most months if I had something I wanted to do, I went and did it. I know there may not be a next month. That was the gift I was left with after my father’s death. I was left with an awareness of how important life is today. I’ve been gifted with the appreciation of the people I love and how fragile their existences are.
In the Irish movie, A Shine of Rainbows a widower is left with the care of a young boy that his wife was in the process of adopting. The young woman who dies loved color. She herself had red hair and bright green eyes and she wore bright rainbow colored clothing and decorated her home with lots of bright colors. One day the young boy comes home from school to a house denuded of all the woman’s things. The husband has gathered them all together and is burning them. The young boy runs to the fire and saves his “mom’s” favorite scarf. They grieved in two very different ways. One was trying to erase all his memories (which, of course, one cannot do) and the other was trying to hold onto all of them (which, of course, one cannot do). Eventually, they find healing. They find it by sharing the love they both have for their dead loved one. They come full circle and you can see them entering the final stage of grief, healing is taking place.