She’s Really Gone

The other day I had one of those moments when I realized that my Aunt Josie was dead.  I ???????????????????????????????was cleaning the front room of our house and noticed a picture of us taken at my first book signing after the release of Along Comes Grandpa.  I know it may seem weird to say “I realized she was dead”, I mean from a pragmatic viewpoint I should not experience those moments.

The facts are clear –

  • On September 26th at 8:17am I received a call from the hospital to say that my Aunt had an “incident” and they were “working on her”.
  • 15 minutes later I arrived at the hospital and was told she had died and was taken into the room where her body was.
  • I sent my husband to pick up my mom and called the other family members to let them know. (*The Call)
  • I helped with her funeral arrangements and put together the photo CD to be displayed at the wake.  I wrote her eulogy and was there when they buried her.  (*For Aunt Josie)
  • I helped pack her belongings and transported them to charity donation centers.
  • I was there when the realtor came to put her home of 30+ years on the market.
  • I took my mom to the lawyer’s office to sign the papers for the sale of her home.

All of these events clearly add up to the reality that my Aunt has passed away.  (To those concerned be assured that I am not suffering from some memory impairment that has caused me to block these events causing me to think she is alive.)

However; there are those moments when the realization of the loss causes feelings of sadness and loss that go deep down into the pit of my soul. 

The realization that:

  • I can no longer drop by her house to visit.
  • I can’t call to see how she is doing.
  • She will not be there for the next holiday or birthday celebration, nor will she have another birthday.

Grief is a journey, and although there is not a day that goes by that you don’t know that the person is gone, along the way you will have those moments where the reality of the loss is so clear that you experience it deep in your heart and in the depths of your soul. 

In those moments don’t try to push the emotions away or shove them down –

  • Acknowledge the pain and the loss.
  • Share your feelings with others (if they knew the person they are probably experiencing similar feelings).
  • Cherish the good memories.
  • Appreciate the time you had with that person.

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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2 Responses to She’s Really Gone

  1. Tony Carone says:

    I had one of those exact moments the other day when watching the NHL Stadium hockey Series Game in Yankee Stadium on TV. The Jersey boys were performing the song “Sherry” and a flood of emotions came over me that my parents are gone forever. My parents played that music when I was a small child in the late 60s. My Father is gone 10 years and Mother 4 years. This flood of emotion occurs with music for me. When am by myself and I hear music that reminds me of a happier time when they were alive a meltdown overcomes me. I haven’t let go of the grief yet…..Just saying.


    • Sue Salach says:

      Tony –
      Thanks for sharing. Grief is a journey, there is no end point where we suddenly stop missing that person. Those moments will happen even years later. My grandmother has been gone over 20 years and I still have moments where I grieve her.


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