It takes a village…

Grief is a funny thing. Not “ha-ha” funny, of course, but funny in the “weird and unpredictable” sense. I remember so vividly the events of mom’s death. It shuts me down every year around the same time. I don’t struggle with her birthday or holidays – I struggle with the month of September. Yep, the entire month. I will need a psychologist to explain the why, but I literally relive every event leading up to her death in the month of September. I remember the coughing, the phone calls and conversations, the trips to be with her, the falls and hospital visits, the scans, the worry, the optimism – everything. Every high and every low. And then the sun rises on September 28th and I suddenly feel freed from the memories that taunt me.

With mom, we all had time – time to wrap our brains around her illness; time to grapple with all the questions; time to lavish her with love. But with dad, we did not have the luxury of time. On Wednesday morning, in our family chat, he said good morning like he always did. No one knew he wasn’t feeling quite right. By the afternoon, he popped into the chat again to tell us he was in the hospital. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I’m fine.” But something didn’t settle right with us, which led to a series of phone calls and the subsequent turn of events. He wasn’t fine, and to make things worse, he was alone. My heart sinks just typing those words. The guilt is real.

With mom, there was an opportunity for closure. We walked her through her illness for six months and we surrounded her bed and held her hand as she took her last breath. But with dad, everything happened quickly and in the midst of a pandemic, which limited our ability to be by his side. Let me tell you how very difficult it is to say goodbye to your father and watch him die over video chat. Closure escapes us and we are all grieving differently.

We are not able to gather with friends and family to celebrate dad’s life. We have set up a page for you to write your stories and memories of him. We want you to think about sitting at the funeral home with us and telling us the things you remember about our dad – and then just write those things down. We are greatly encouraged and strengthened by hearing how dad impacted the lives of others, so please share in the comments.

Dad did not have a life insurance policy. He lived a simple, “starving artist” kind of life so that he could bring joy to others through his words. Unfortunately for us, this also means we do not have an easy way to pay for his final expenses. We want to do the right thing but the reality for us is that we need help. After much discussion, we have decided to make the ask. There is something icky about asking for such help, and yet we all recognize the need to humble our hearts at this time. We are not begging anyone. Please know we fully trust God to provide for us in this time. He has always provided for our family and we have no reason to think he will stop now. But we did feel led to set up an account specifically to cover dad’s final expenses and if you feel the nudge to give, you have an opportunity to do so by clicking here.  

However you choose to help, know we appreciate every part – the encouraging words and stories, the financial support, the abundant love, and the deep prayers. It is said that it takes a village to raise children. Apparently, it seems, it also takes a village to help those children say goodbye. Know that you are helping us to grieve in healthy ways by continuing to support us in this space. It is our desire to preserve his words and continue to be his voice in the world. We have some exciting things in store for this little piece of the internet. We have good days and bad days, but we are taking the steps needed to move forward with dad’s vision. So, thank you, village. These next steps are not possible without you.

~ D 😊

This entry was posted in death, grief, Memories, Mom. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to It takes a village…

  1. Deanna, this post touched me deeply. You guys are in my prayers.

    With my own departure approaching, Barb and I have talked about what kind of service will be held (it will include music like “Another One Bites The Dust”). My suggestion is that she arrange a modern Viking funeral, using the binary (and available) explosive, tannerite. It’s used in long-distance shooting to make explosive targets so one doesn’t have to walk down a potentially live range to see one’s hits. It’s set off only by heavy shock, like a bullet hitting it. And so…and I hope my levity doesn’t make you cringe…

    When I’m dead and when I’m gone
    (no more my awful puns!)
    celebrate my life with song,
    fried chicken, beer, and guns.
    When it’s time to say farewell,
    drag an old truck well downrange;
    this may sound sick, but what the hell,
    my life was ever-strange.
    Load cab and bed with tannerite,
    sit me behind the wheel,
    get painted target in your sight,
    and imagine how I feel,
    my favourite words now final glee,
    “So…you wanna piece of me?”


    • Deanna Kohlhofer says:

      Dad wouldn’t want us to be sad (though we are). He’d want us to celebrate his life (definitely with fried chicken and beer) – and I hope we do it well for a long time to come! 😉


  2. Pingback: The Journey to Rediscovery | The Light

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