I was exhausted after the funeral. We all were. But family and friends were bringing dinner to the homeplace for all of us. And far away friends were in town. I wanted to go home, sit alone in the dark, and cry. But I couldn’t. There were more people to visit with. Talk with. And the house needed to be cleaned after everyone left.

And Mom. We had to make sure Mom was alright. We had to take care of her now.

The months prior to Dad’s death were some of the most exhausting days of my life. My husband and I were going through what seemed to be a never ending rough season in our marriage. I’d just started a new job, while consulting at my previous one. Finding time for much needed one on one discussions was nearly impossible with our jobs, three kids, my sick parents, and other normal life happenings. So we didn’t.

Most of my days consisted of work, a long ride to the hospital after work to be with Dad, a longer ride home after the hospital, sometimes a quick stop to check on Mom, a call to one of my sisters to check what they knew from the doctors, and then it all gets blurry. At home in the evenings, I’m sure I did laundry, cooked sometimes, helped with homework, and all the other things I’m supposed to do. I don’t remember. I was barely getting through the days. I’d fall into bed but only sleep sporadically then do it all over again the next day.

I remember trying really hard to stay strong during that time. Zoloft helped me put on the good face some days. I was coping the best I could but on the verge of tears constantly. My heart was breaking over and over every day.

Because of the growing distance between me and my husband. Because my kids needed me a lot and I couldn’t be there. Because my parents, who were strong and capable and always there, needed me to be strong and capable and always there. Because all Dad wanted was to get well so he could keep caring for Mom but he was getting weaker and weaker. Because the new job I thought I always wanted wasn’t what I wanted.

Nothing was like it should be.

Then Dad was gone. And then you do the things you’re supposed to after someone dies. The phone calls and funeral arrangements. The telling of what happened over and over again because he was fine a few months ago. And then we had to figure out what to do next. Because Mom shouldn’t be by herself.

And Mom had good days and bad ones but the bad ones were coming more often. When she couldn’t breathe she wanted us there. All of us. By her side. Just there.

Everything hurt my heart.

I felt raw.

It hurt to be around people and the better I knew them….the more difficult it was.

I wanted to take pain pills. But I didn’t have any.

I wanted to get drunk every night. But I’m too responsible for thatimage. I stuck to one glass of wine a few days a week. Sometimes two glasses. Sometimes more than a few days a week.

And I kept trying to be strong but there was nothing left.

Dad was gone. But I was too.