Sad news

I have some sad news to report. My father died today. As regular readers know, this wasn’t unexpected, and in fact it’s something of a relief. My father’s health and quality of life have been very bad and getting worse for some time. But it’s still a really hard thing to be dealing with. Right now I’m ping-ponging back and forth between taking care of business and practical matters, and feeling horrible and crying, and just feeling like I’m in a daze. I’ll be writing more about this over the coming days and weeks and months; right now, I can’t do much more than this notice.

I’m flying home to Chicago tomorrow, I don’t know for how long. I don’t know what, if anything, needs to be dealt with in practical terms. It probably won’t be more than a few days. I don’t know how soon I’m going to return to blogging.

My Stanford talk on Wednesday October 3 is obviously cancelled. I hope to reschedule it. I don’t know yet about the Texas tour next week. I’m probably going to cancel it, but I can’t decide that right now. I’ll let you know.

And finally: It pains me that I have to say this, but past experience has taught me that I do.

If there are any religious or spiritual believers reading this blog: Please, please, please, do not say that you’re praying for me. Do not say that my father is looking down on me. Do not say that I’ll see him again someday. Do not say that this is part of God’s plan. Please do not offer any “comfort” of a religious, spiritual, or supernatural nature. I do not find these ideas comforting. I find these ideas profoundly upsetting. If you’re at a loss for what to say in this situation, please consult my article, What Do You Say to Grieving Non Believers? But if you wouldn’t tell someone who’s Jewish that their dead loved one is in the arms of Jesus Christ their personal lord and savior, please don’t tell an atheist that they’ll see their dead loved one in the afterlife. I am happy to discuss and debate religion at another time and place, but I do not want to do it in my father’s death announcement. Any comments of this nature will be disemvoweled, and the commenters will be banned. (And to everyone else: If anyone ignores this request, please do not engage with them. Please ignore them, and let me and my colleagues who are moderating this blog handle it with comment moderation.) Thanks.

Sad news

95 thoughts on “Sad news

  1. 4

    Greta, my dad died last summer. While I can’t say I know just how you feel, I suspect I have an idea, and it sucks. I hope you are able to find comfort in the love of friends and family right now. I remember being genuinely surprised at how comforting the viewing and memorial service ended up being for me. Safe travels.

  2. 9

    My deepest condolences, Greta. I am holding you and your loved ones in my thoughts, and hoping that you can find comfort in each other.

  3. 12

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Greta. You should be immensely proud of the work you’ve done to help reduce the suffering of others coping with grief. I hope you find your way through your loss as wholly and comfortably as you’d wish for anyone else, but regardless, you’re amazing.

  4. 19

    Sorry to hear of your loss. I truly hope you can deal with this in a way that helps you move on with your life. I don’t know what kind of relationship you had, but I do hope there were some good times to remember. To me, that helped.

    My condolences to you and your family.

  5. 24

    Dear Greta,

    This may not mean much coming from a stranger, but my deepest condolences to you and your family. I hope you find comfort in friends and family, and in the knowledge that your father is no longer suffering.

    Best wishes and tele-hugs.

  6. 26

    My sympathies on the loss of your Father. Loss and grief are very complex and unpredictable emotions. It takes a lot of energy, so be especially kind to yourself. Travel safely, and virtual hugs if you want them.

  7. 27

    My deepest hearfelt condolences. I know it’s hard. I’m quite a bit older than you are, so both of my parents have been gone quite a while now. By their request, I handled their non-religious memorials and tried to extol their characters and achievements in life.

    It can’t help but be hard to go through, but I know you will make it. You’re made of sturdy stuff.

  8. 33

    I’m really sorry. 🙁 Sounds like you did everything you could to take care of him, and I’m sure he appreciated everything. Hugs to you and your family.

  9. 36

    Greta, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. We will be thinking of you. Please take good care of yourself, and don’t try to jump back into things too soon – we will all miss you, but you and your family absolutely come first.

  10. 42

    Sincere condolences. My Dad died after a lengthy illness over 30 years ago, and I remember it as a difficult transition from coping with the lengthy illness through the loss itself to a final equilibrium, but the day comes sooner than you will believe when the negatives no longer intrude and you are able to focus on the good times and the things that you loved about them. I’ll be thinking about you, and hoping you and your brother/family are able to support and comfort each other.

  11. 43

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Hold your friends and loved ones (and cats) close. Take time alone if you need it. We’ll be here when you’re ready to come back.


  12. 46

    So, so sorry for your loss. Sending you hugs and condolences. Travel safely and may you find support and love when you arrive. Do whatever you feel necessary to help you cope with the grief.

  13. 48

    I don’t think I’ve commented before, and this is no time to get into how important your work is to me and how much I admire you.

    I’m just sad for you. This touches us all – “Each man’s death diminishes me…”

    Part of you will be paradoxically happy, even elated – because of the end of suffering – his, yours, your family’s. I think you understand this. So many people I have known start to feel guilty about that – please don’t. I suspect you understand that, too. So easy to write in words, so much harder to live.

    But, mostly, you are sad, and we are too.

    Let us know what, if anything, you need.

  14. 49

    Greta, I’m sorry about what happened. I know this doesn’t really compare but 4 months ago I had to put my buddy cat down because the cancer had taken hold and had been squeezing his stomach making it impossible for him to eat. I brought this up because when it was over, I felt relief too. My little buddy wasn’t in pain any longer and I spared him the lingering death from starvation. I remembered the good times and knew I did everything I could for him. He had the best life that I could give when no one else wanted him.

    Please don’t feel guilty about feeling relief. It’s natural. The stress of your father’s illness is gone. Remember him well and don’t feel bad about celebrating his life.

  15. 52

    I’m so sorry to hear this. My best wishes that you will find your way through this. If I know anything of you, it is that you will grow from this and use it to help all the rest of us get through this pain-in-the-ass life.

  16. 54

    Condolences on your loss. Having been through a very similar situation with my grandfather recently, I know that expected or not, relief or not, it’s hard. I won’t say it gets better, you know that. I’m just extending a virtual hand, like the fellow readers above, for you to squeeze until it does.

    I’m also very happy your day’s atoms coalesced into a man that could enjoy his brief glimpse of our universe, and I’m glad he shared that gift with us, through you.

  17. 62

    Greta, may your next few days be filled with love and catharsis. Have a safe trip, and as always, thank you for sharing such important parts of your life with us. You feel like family.

  18. 63

    In less than three years I have sat at the death beds of the two men I loved most on this earth, my husband of 35 years, and my 81 year old father, on May 18th. When this happens you look into the yawning abyss. And it looks back.

    My advise, let those that love you help you. It’s OK to shriek and swear. Trust your wife. It’s a hard slog, hold hands.

    Sincere condolences,

  19. 70

    My condolences will be hollow since I do not know you or your dad. But I do love your blog, well most of your posts anyway, and I do know what it feels to lose your dad, since I lost mine 16 years ago after a somewhat prolonged, painful illness.

    Nothing I can say will help you cope with your grief. You’ll suffer it, make your peace with it, be relieved that the suffering has ended for your dad, and will move on, drawing the best of his life with you.

    The memories are all you have, and in time you’ll appreciate them, and having him in your life.

    Take the time to reflect, and you’ll learn from this painful experience. I hope you emerge a stronger, wiser person from your recollections.

  20. 76

    It was nearly a year ago I lost my own father. for what it’s worth – I don’t know how much, we all must find our own way to grieve and mourn – here’s a couple of things I found helpful.

    Don’t be afraid to lose it

    Tell the ones you love just how much you love them

  21. 79

    My condolences to you, Greta.
    Having lost my father, my step father and my mother I sympathize with your loss.
    I take comfort in this; that they live on in my memory and in the things I say and do. They still make a difference is this world, and that makes me smile every day.

  22. 80

    Sorry for your loss. I always feel I should say something more, to offer more empathy or more comfort, but I never seem able to find the words.

  23. 81

    I am so sorry for your loss, Greta. I hope you have lots of love and support around you, and that Ingrid and family and cuddling the cats and being loved helps you through this.

  24. 85

    So sorry to hear of your loss, Greta. Even when you’re expecting it, the reality of a loved one’s passing can be a shock. Let yourself lean on your family & friends–that’s what they’re there for.

  25. 95

    I am so sorry for your loss. My sister passed away this weekend, just after midnight on Saturday night, of cancer, also a not unexpected death except we had but a couple of months to adjust. Let us support each other in our grief.

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