The Tidal Waves of Grief in the Weeks Following My Father’s Death

Giving into the ebbs and flows

Merre Larkin
ENGAGE

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Picture of my father and me when I was a little girl
My father and me (my photo)

I’ve written about my father in several of my past stories. It helped me process what was coming while also reflecting on his life and character. (I highly recommend it if you’re going through something similar.)

My father had Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia. He started receiving hospice services almost a year ago. At the beginning of this year, my siblings and I were told he was presenting differently, eating less, communicating less, and with skin changes indicating he was approaching the end. He had days to weeks.

I talked with his hospice nurse (hospice nurses are angels here on earth), and she encouraged me to visit him as soon as I could. Of my siblings, I live the farthest away. I’m in California, my father in Pennsylvania.

I heeded her recommendation. I booked a flight and visited for a week in the middle of January.

My sisters live in the same town as my parents, and my brothers came into town while I was there. We spent a Saturday, all five of us with my parents, hanging out, reminiscing and laughing, in their room in a nursing home, while my dad slept.

We all knew it would be the last time the seven of us would be together. We didn’t…

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Merre Larkin
ENGAGE
Writer for

Writer of nonfiction (memoir, essays), fiction, and poetry. Life/writing coach. Educator. Marathoner. Avid reader. Here to share, here to learn.