I grieve the death of my adult daughter every single day. Here’s how you can help people like me—and maybe yourself.
MY DAUGHTER, LEAH, GAVE BIRTH TO HER THIRD child and out of the blue was immediately diagnosed as having stage 4 breast cancer. She was beautiful and fun, and she loved her children and husband, Eric. She was an Emmy-winning producer for ESPN and had long, gorgeous red hair. For two years, she battled cancer and wrote a spirited blog that captured her humor, which surprisingly had not left her. Several thousand strangers were captivated by the precious gift of feisty fortitude that she gave to her readers.
She died in 2010, at age 43. I still cry a lot and think of her every day. Sometimes, the grief overwhelms me.
I remember holding her as a baby, then watching her do cartwheels on the beach, then enduring with parental acceptance the teenage fleeting punk shaved hairdo and a year later taking her to France to study abroad.
I remember watching her hold her firstborn, a daughter named Teagan, Leah’s eyes transfixed in wonderment, as mine had been when I first held Leah three decades before. When baby Oliver was born in July 2008, Teagan was almost 4 and Wyatt not yet 2. I live in Washington, D.C., and Leah lived in Dallas. “Don’t come for two weeks, Mom,” she told me. She and her husband could handle everything, and he was taking time off from work.
Then the email—just a little something wrong with the platelets. Then the next one—something to do with white cells. I froze. And then made a plane reservation. Tests and more tests. I was in the room when the doctor came in. She did not mince words. Leah had advanced cancer. Leah and I stared at each other, wordless. She made a quick call. Eric raced to the hospital from work. When he came, I rushed out of the room and threw up.
I feel such pain in my heart as I write this. Losing a child “is a trauma that doesn’t go away,” says Marsha Mailick, a social scientist at the University of Wisconsin- Madison who has studied bereavement. But to be an older person when an adult child dies brings particular trials, both emotional and pragmatic, she notes. As for me, no one and not anything could have prepared me for this loneliest of roads, which was compounded by the death of my second husband, who had been hit by a car and killed four years before Leah’s death. I still deeply miss this lovely man, my rock, who was gone when I so wanted him by my side.
It took all of this to really understand what awful, searing grief is like: the punch in the stomach, the feeling of electricity shocking and shivering through your body, the tears that come in an instant.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
TANYA TURNS DOWN MARRIAGE PROPOSAL!
Fears Texas Tornado’s lover will ride into sunset
PRISON GUARD CAGED FOR DOUBLE MURDER!
Accused of blowing away older lover & her gal pal
Will 2021 be the year Apple's U1 chip goes wide?
Apple has been building its ultra-wideband technology into devices for a couple years now, but it still doesn’t do much…yet.
NCIS SPINOFF STABBED IN THE BAK-ULA!
Mark Harmon’s crime franchise didn’t have room for TWO hunks
THUNDER BY THE BAY MUSIC & MOTORCYCLE FESTIVAL
ONE OF THE BEST EVENTS TO ATTEND AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR IS WITHOUT A DOUBT THUNDER BY THE BAY IN SARASOTA, FLORIDA.
The case for a 12-inch MacBook Air
Go M1 and go smaller.
Face is a disaster at age 75 after endless procedures
THE SQUEAKY WHEEL
Welcome to February, 2021. It’s already one month into the new year, and I gotta wonder how many people made those resolutions on New Year’s and have already quit the attempt to make the changes they wanted to see in their lives. Very unfortunate.
iOS 14: HOW TO MAKE YOUR iPHONE ‘AESTHETIC'
BY USING SHORTCUTS TOGETHER WITH CUSTOM WIDGETS AND THE APP LIBRARY, YOU CAN BUILD A TOTALLY UNIQUE HOME SCREEN LOOK.
JULIA'S TRIAL SEPARATION
Leaving hubby after endless bickering and he’s delighted