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Not Your Usual Mother’s Day Post….

Yesterday was mother’s day. And it was not an easy day for me.

I set aside the day to spend with Sarah and Oot. That was my Mother’s day present for Sarah. She decided what she’d like to do, and I’d clear my schedule for it.

The plans she chose weren’t elaborate. We were going to run a few errands, get some food, then go to the park to play.

As soon as I got into the car, Oot said, “Gandalf, I don’t want to go on an adventure.”

“Oh,” I said. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I’m a hobbit.”

“I think an adventure would be good for you, Bilbo. They can be a lot of fun. And you can find a lot of treasure.”

“No,” he said. “I’m too scared. I just want to stay home and smoke my smoker.”

We drove to Target, and since Sarah just had a few things to pick up, I offered to hang out in the car with Oot. Things are faster that way. Plus, we’re about to have an unexpected party, where all the dwarfs show up while Bilbo is fixing tea.

While Sarah is inside, I decide to be a good dad and coach Oot a little bit, like Sarah did for me on Father’s Day.

“Today is a special day,” I said. “Today is mother’s day. That means that you should tell your momma, “Happy Mother’s Day!”

“But I’m Bilbo Bagins!” he protests.

“Even Bilbo Bagins has a momma,” I say, thought I can’t remember who it is off the top of my head. “Everyone has a momma. My momma’s name was Marge. And she would have loved you so much.”

This might seem like it came out of nowhere, but the truth is, I think about my mom all the time. Especially around certain times of the year.  Especially when I’m with Oot. My mom died in February of 2007, just before the first book came out. Oot is only about two and a half, and that means she never got to meet my baby.

So at this point I’m crying, and trying not to make a big deal about it. Because Oot’s having a pretty good time, and beside, I’m sitting in the target parking lot.

“But I’m a hobbit,” Oot says again.

“She would have loved that you’re a hobbit too,” I say. And then I really start to lose it.

It’s a beautiful day out. I’m finally published and successful beyond my wildest dreams. I have a beautiful girlfriend who loves me beyond all sense. I have a delightful son who adores me. And I’m crying uncontrollably in the Target parking lot.

“Dad, why are you crying?” Oot asks. He’s not worried. Mostly he’s just curious, but there’s still some concern there.

“I’m sad,” I say. “I miss my mom.”

He reaches up and touches my face with the back of his hand. It’s the touch we’ve taught him to use on babies. His gentlest touch. “It’s okay dad,” he says.”It’s okay. You don’t have to cry.”

“You’re right,” I say. But I can’t stop, I’m a mess at this point.

“It’s okay dad,” he says. “I can kiss you.” And he does just that. Gives me a sweet, drooly little baby kiss on my face.

I try to clean myself up because I know Sarah is coming back soon. Oot continues to pet the side of my face. “It’s okay,” he says, again and again. “You don’t have to be sad. You can stay with me.”

Sarah and I managed to do something right over the years with him. I’ll tell you that for free. It was about the nicest thing he could have said to me. And I have no idea how he came up with it.

What’s the point of my story? Here’s my point.

I have a good friend who recently lost a loved one. Someone really important to her. A member of her family. She knew that things were getting close to the end. She’s known for ages. But it still knocked the stuffing out of her. I understand. Knowing ahead of time doesn’t really help.

A couple weeks ago I was on the phone with this friend. I was doing the useless thing you do when you want to comfort someone, but there really isn’t anything you can say.

“It’s like there’s just been a big hole ripped out of my life,” she said. “I can’t believe everyone goes through this.”

I told her that I thought the exact same thing after my mother died. That I couldn’t understand how the world could work with everyone constantly walking  around all the time feeling like they’ve been torn up inside.

What I didn’t tell her is the line from Shakespeare that kept running through my head after my mom died. It’s from Hamlet, when Polonius says, “Your father lost a father. That father lost, lost his.” You have to be a real twat to quote Shakespeare at someone. And you’re doubly a twat if you do it when they’re grieving.

“Does it get better?” she asked.

“Not soon.” I said. “But eventually. I don’t think about her for whole days sometimes. I don’t dream about her any more.”

“You dream about her?”

“I used to,” I said. “After she died. I always thought that was some bullshit literary device. Something hack writers put into stories. But it really happens, apparently. It happened a lot to me.”

There was a long pause on the phone.

“The worst part,” I said. “Was that in my dreams, she was always sick. It was just like before she died. And in my dreams we were doing everything we could to make things better for her. But you knew it was just a matter of time. They were horrible dreams.”

I’d never told anyone else this before.

“But the really bad part was when I woke up,” I said. “You know what it’s like when you wake up and you’re not sure if the dream is real or not?”

“Yeah,” she said.

“Well I’d wake up, then have a panicked moment when I thought the dream was real. But then I’d realize that none of it was true. That my mom wasn’t sick. She was dead.” I paused. “And when I realized that, I felt this huge feeling of relief wash over me, because I know I don’t have to go through all of it again. All the hospitals and doctors and funerals.”

I waited for my friend to say something, but she didn’t.

“I mean, how fucked up is that?” I asked. “I wake up from a dream and think, ‘Oh thank god. My mom is dead.’ There’s probably something really wrong with me because of that.”

“I’ve been feeling that way too,” she said. “I’m sad and it’s horrible. But I’m so relieved its all over. And so I feel guilty for that on top of everything else.”

“Well,” I said. “At least we’re both the same flavor of fucked up.”

“I can’t believe nobody ever talks about this,” she said. “I mean people have bad breakups, and you know how to handle it because you’ve heard about their breakups. But nobody talks about people dying. There’s no script for something like this.”

“It’s a real taboo,” I said. “Not one of the silly little play taboos like sex, things we aren’t supposed to talk about and we do anyway. Real taboos are things nobody even thinks of talking about.”

“Somebody should talk about them,” she said.

“Somebody should,” I agreed.

*     *     *

So here we are.

Generally speaking, when I think about something a lot, I write about it on the blog. Its one of the ways I figure out how I really feel about things. It helps me keep my head screwed on straight.

But the one exception has always been my mom.

I think about her all the time, but I rarely ever tell stories about her.

And you know what? That’s a fucking shame. Because my mom was awesome.

So we’re fixing that. Soon.

pat

This entry was posted in mom, Oot, things I shouldn't talk about. By Pat144 Responses

117 Comments

  1. Casey9182
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    Thanks, Pat.

    • Linnea
      Posted May 23, 2012 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

      “To my mother, who taught me to love books. Who opened the door to Narnia, Pern, and the Middle Earth”. I’ve always thought that was one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever written, and the reason I respected you as an author before I read the first chapter. My mom did me the same favor. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Feathers McGraw
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    I started reading this post kind of smiley, even though you were crying the story was funny and touching and your kid sounds awesome, so somehow I was happy. By the end I was practically crying in the office here. Powerful stuff.

  3. Ysabella
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    This brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully written and what a great insight into families and your wonderful mother.

  4. spikeehead
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    You are a dear, dear man, and must have been a lovely son.

  5. SunTzu
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing Pat. My condolences.

  6. christie
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    You have a special boy.

    I lost someone close suddenly and every morning I would wake up and the world seemed ok, and then every morning I’d have to remember. It took 2 years for it to be ingrained that she was gone. It was interesting and understandable to read about you and your friend’s relief upon waking. It’s amazing the world can keep spinning when it seems shattered.

    Stories about your mom sound sweet too, and make me wonder about the stories she liked to tell.

    Thanks for sharing this moment.

  7. danielahampton
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    Beautiful, my friend. Thank you.

  8. Prufrock
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    We don’t talk about them so much because both sides of the conversation need to understand at a more visceral level. Those of us who still live in the light of day often feel inadequate to discuss the cold. All we can do is cry with you.

    I’m so glad that you have a baby boy to make it better with slobbery kisses and hugh from tiny arms. And that he has a daddy who loves him and loves his mother. Who protects her and treats her right and gives her some time to shop in Target without worrying that Oot will leap from the shopping cart.

    Happy Mother’s Day.

  9. bishieaya
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    *hug*

  10. Linda
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    Lovely post, and Oot sounds adorable.

    My mum passed away last year, and I had dreams as well. What made so angry was that it was never good dreams. You’d think having known someone for 25 years there would be plenty of good stuff to make dreams of, but no. It was always sick mum or, even worse, zombie mum. Thanks for that, brain.
    Anyway, the first good dream I had about her felt like a major milestone.

    • Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

      Yeah. I don’t dream about her being sick anymore. It took a long time, but I got there….

    • Darmys
      Posted May 17, 2012 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

      Zombie/Vampire Mum dreams are awful. I keep dreaming that I’m at the funeral and I’ve gone up to the open casket to say good bye to my Mum and as in real life I reach in and touch her forehead, only in the dream she reaches up and attacks me ripping my wrist open with her teeth and her eyes are red, and that’s where/when I wake up.

      My Mum died in an accident in 1997, and I still have that nightmare. Not as often any more, but it still happens

  11. Chrysophrase
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    *wipes eyes*

    Who’s cutting onions in here?

  12. frolic69
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    I lost my mum five years ago to cancer. Luckily, she was able to get to know our son, who is now eight years old. Nevertheless, thinking of how much she missed during those last five years (and he as well) makes me sad and angry at the same time, with that same feeling of relief mixed in. We try to talk a lot about her to keep her memory alive, and it helps. I´d be honored to read stories about your mum. Sending a big hug from Germany to everyone over at your place who needs it,

    claudia

  13. Jonas
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    thanks for the the harsh but honest reality of your anecdote.

  14. Pontus
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    This was really beautifully written. Thank you.

  15. Kalira
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    Pat,

    I do wish more people would talk about this. It’s been ten years, one month and 21 days since my mother passed away. Even now when people find out the only thing they can say is “I’m sorry” and all I want to say is “thank gods she’s gone”. It took years to get to a point where I can go weeks, sometimes even a month without thinking about her, but it’s still easier than watching her slowly fade away. It was harder for me, my family and for her those last few years when we knew she was sick. The waiting and wondering is the worst that when it finally happens, even through all the grief you still feel a tiny bit of relief.

    I wish both you and your friend peace for your hearts, especially this time of year when those of us who have lost a parent feel it most bitterly.

  16. gabrielthebright
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    When I was 15 my grandma died. My mom loved me but she liked my baby sister better so it was my Mamaw who gave me the nurturing and attention. Anyways, after she died every so often I’d have a dream where she was alive again. As in she had died but we were such a mess without her she had to come back to take care of us. And she was not happy. She wasn’t hateful or evil, just pissed that even dying wouldn’t let her rest. I’d wake up and remember she was dead. I’d be sad she was gone, but I’d know that I could get by without her. And part of why I could was what she had taught me.

  17. heisindc
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Thank you.

  18. Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

    Reading your post made me think of my own mother. I don’t allow myself to think about her being gone someday. It’s to difficult to imagine such a thing. So I can’t even imagine what you must feel like. I hope my mother will stay with me for many years to come, but when that time comes I will certainly think back about what you wrote here and hope it will help.

    I was very moved by your story too and hope you will write more about your mother in future. I think it is a good way to remember her.

    I don’t know the English way to say it; here, in the Netherlands, we wish someone strength to deal with such things. So that is what I wish for you.

    Joyce

  19. Antho
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    Your mother looks like a delightful person. I am sorry you lost her Pat. This world is filled with such awful misery and loss. I lost my Grandma when I was 15. Whats sad is that all I can think about is that quote from Angel where Spike says “There’s a hole in the world. It seems like we should have known.” at least you thought of Shakespeare.

  20. Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

    That was beautifully written. You brought tears to my eyes.
    I remember I felt the something similar when my grand-father died in 2002, when I was 10 years old. He’d had a stroke about six months after I was born that left with paralyzed from the waist down and almost no strength in his left arm.
    My father went to see him every week, and us about every 3 weeks. I remember that at the time, I was scared of him, because since he’d had his stroke, he could speak loudly and so was always whispering. I found that a little bit creepy. And so I was always uncomfortable around him, and I was afraid of “catching” his sickness.
    I know now that it is completely irrational, but what can I say…I was 8 years old.

    I remember the night he died. He’d just had a pacemaker implant and after that, something went wrong. I think he had another stroke and then his heart gave out.
    The last memory I have of him, I still don’t know if it really happened, or if it is the figment of my imagination, a nightmare I had later. I think it is, because nobody but me remembers these events :
    He’d just woken up from surgery and my father, mother and grand-mother had gone to speak with him, but they now had left his room. I was in the threshold and I saw him, lying on his hospital bed. There were 2 nurses attending him. He smiled at me, and beckoned me closer and started talking to me. He then clutched his heart and I suddenly heard beeping sounds. One of the nurses told me to get out, and I felt someone grabbing my shoulder and pulling me out of the room.
    I don’t know how I got back there, but the next thing I remember, I was sitting in the waiting room, but everything is kind of hazy, as if it was a dream. For example, in my memory everything is dark. But I know that is impossible, because we were in a hospital : the lights are always on there.
    My mother and younger sister were with me, as well as my younger cousin on my father’s side.

    It was the night of December 22 2002 at 22h22 that I learned my grandfather had died. 22/12/2002 at 22h02. That’s the date and time on his death certificate.

    Today, I’m happy to have known him at least a little bit. I would have liked to know him more, but I still consider myself lucky : my sister, 3 years younger than me, has almost no memories of him.

    He is the first member of my family that I lost and to this day, the only one.
    I miss you James.

  21. rick1966
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    Pat, been reading this site forever, saw you in Seattle last year, but this is the first time that I’ve been compelled to post.
    I lost my dad in January 2002. He was/is the best person that I’ve ever known. We all knew that it was a matter of time, but you’re right, the knowing doesn’t make the event any easier. It gobsmacked me. I lieterally fell off the table…starting having massive anxiety attacks and was no good to my family at all. I eventually needed medication that got me back under control. I had never even had anxiety before, so his death literally reprogrammed my brain chemistry.
    People are so well meaning, but the only ones who get how you’re feeling are the people who’ve dealt with it themselves, and that’s a horrible club to belong to. I still dream about dad occasionally, but even my subconscious brain knows that something is not right when I dream that he’s alive. That part of me in dreams that controls events tells me that this isn’t really true, that I know he’s really gone.
    Thank you for your honest and personal post. There’s a multitude of us who understand. So glad that you have Oot and Sarah to lean on. I have a great wife and three kids who would gladly do the same for me.

  22. Rudolph
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    thanks pat.
    That’s a beautiful story.

    One of my biggest regrets is that my grandma, who I was very close to, never got to know my wife. From knowing them both myself I can tell they would have been kindred spirits.

    I think anyone who has lost someone has felt the way you have. Thankfully we often have people in our lives like your son who remind us of the sweetness of life.

  23. IvoryDoom
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    Oot is the best. What a rockin’ kid especially for being so little. I think you know we can all relate to how you feel, since almost everyone has commented about getting teary eyed and their own experiences. I hate to think about how people I love have faded away and that the future holds even more of that heartache. Things like that just cause me extreme dread. I think thats one of the reason its so taboo. Even thinking of my own death is moderately paralyzing. But its the way of the world, so best to enjoy what we get, at least thats what I tell myself instead of dwelling on such dismal things.

    I hope Sarah had a lovely Mother’s day and it was good of you to remember your own mother and share something of her with your son.

    And, completely off topic, love that animated version of The Hobbit. My Dad used to watch that with us all the time when we were kids! The Lord of the Rings one is cool too, but I have always been partial to Hobbit.

  24. chobindue
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing your story, Pat.
    Hugs.

  25. Nicham
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    Happy now? You just made a 30 year old, 270 lb, grown ass man cry for his mommy.

  26. mrshaworth
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Pat. I’m in the process of losing my mom to cancer right now, so your post struck home. I’m trying not to miss her already, because she’s still here with me, although not for much longer. I don’t know how I’m going to feel when she’s gone other than lost, but your post made me see that it’s all alright, no matter how I feel. So thank you for that, even if it did make me cry to read it.

    • Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

      I know where you’re coming from. But you can miss her later. Right now, take advantage of what you have.

    • Mark G. Schroeder
      Posted May 14, 2012 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

      Me too.

      I’m not a good enough writer to say how reading this made me feel on my own… but there’s a scene from Band of Brothers where a group of soldiers are moving up to the front. As they get close, they keep running into soldiers from other units. Bloodied, battered, their eyes stretched wide, walking back up the road away from where you’ve got to go.

      It feels sort of like that.

      I got to spend yesterday with my Mom. If you’d have told me that a year ago I probably wouldn’t have believed it. I probably won’t get to spend another Mother’s Day with her, but yesterday was a pretty good one.

      It’s a little mind-boggling to me, but it’s been 28 years since I lost my Dad. Yesterday on the way out of the town where I grew up, I pulled in to where my Dad is buried. My son stayed in the car, but he watched me close out the window. When I came back he said “I never got to meet your Dad.”

      “No, you didn’t,” I answered. “He would have loved you like mad. He loved the idea of you, I think.” I didn’t cry. But my son did.

      I guess all parents whose kids aren’t lucky enough to know their parents have this conversation at some point. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.

  27. Posted May 14, 2012 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    I hope this doesn’t sound weird but I’d give you a hug if I could. Thank you for having this blog Pat.

    Understanding other humans share our thoughts, emotions and perceptions, can be pretty amazing. So much of the world focuses on the differences; it is interesting to imagine what the world would look like if we spent more time on the similarities.

    On a separate note…
    Am I really a twat if I quote Shakespeare? It happens like once or twice a year and it is purely accidental. It is unintentional Shakespeare. Please tell me I’m not a twat… someone… anyone…

  28. Kara J
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    I lost my dad last year. In fact it was exactly this time last year that we were told he that was going to die. It was a hard thing to accept, especially because he seemed so bright and chipper. His heart was failing, as was his liver and kidneys and nothing the wonderful doctors or nurses could do would help.

    He died two months later, the doctors having told him, and us, that he had only days left. For a time I had those dreams you mentioned and the feeling of relief when I woke and realised that he was no longer sick, but had died. In fact, I admit to feeling relief when I got the call to say that he had died.

    It’s coming up to my birthday and to father’s day, here in the UK. This will be my first year without him.

    It sucks.

    But….it’s getting better.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It helps to know you’re not the only one that goes through it. :)

  29. He without a clever name
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    Beautiful blog.

    I don’t think you’re a twat if you accidentally quote Shakespeare, Casey.

  30. chaelek
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

    Well now I’m crying, too.

    Thanks, Pat. That was a beautiful story. Sad, but touching.

  31. Silly Red Panda
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    I don’t have anything new to offer to the conversation, but as you had me crying my eyes out I thought I’d come by just to say thank you. For sharing something so personal and so difficult, but so beautiful. For writing it in such a brilliant way it made all these people before me relate to it, find some understanding and company in their grief. For touching people. Oot is a treasure, you two certainly brought him up to be an amazing human being. I’m sure your mom was an amazing lady, and that she was so very proud.

    Thank you.

  32. astridsdream
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    I lost my grandmother four years ago. The man I was dating (and have since married) is the son of a pastor, and so has seen a lot of funerals and a lot of death) was blown away by how well our family handled her last weeks. She was at home, in the little house my uncle built for her on his property, and she was surrounded my family who loved her and sassed her in equal measure. I had dreams about her too, never lying sick on her bed like at the end, but up and toddling around like after her first stroke. In my dreams she’s smiling, always happy to see me, just like when she was alive. She was always happy to see any of her kids or grandkids. She was a wonderful woman, and I miss her a lot. Not every day, not anymore, but on special days, like Mother’s Day… there’s still a hole there.

    I love you Nana.

  33. CancerKiller
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    Thanks Pat. Your blog posts like these really hit home. Real life things put into perspective. They’re great.

  34. Kashiraja
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for posting that picture. I lost my mom too a few years ago, right after I visited them for Christmas. She had been ill, it was as if she held onto life just to see me one last time. I was always away, in Cambridge at University, never visiting them in Italy.

    I too feel relieved that she died, because I know that she’s much happier now! If I may say so with all respect to those who hang onto life, it is the widespread medical culture that you have to live on the physical plane at all cost. But that comes mostly from fear of the unknown beyond. If you knew that life after is much happier why would you rather desire that your loved ones are still alive in illness, rather than happy and desease-free, only separated from you for a time?
    love
    K

  35. Kashiraja
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    PS: she never met my wife, but one day I’m sure I’ll introduce them :)

  36. brendilon
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    I can’t even think of the right words here, this post ripped me apart, chewed me up, swallowed me and shat me out. Last August I lost my grandmother, right on the heels of being broken up with by a woman I had hoped to spend the rest of my life with. (I even kept our breakup secret so my grandmother would die believing I had found happiness) The woman who actually introduced me to your books. I found a lot of escape in your books from those memories, a lot of relief from the grief even though they’re not happy-go-lucky alls-well-that-ends-well books.
    My grandmother… all I can say without breaking down into tears again while I write this (after recovering from the first bout when I read your post) is that she was special. She was everything a grandmother should be.

    You got more than a few things right I would say, but you got the single most important thing right. And even though I’m lying in a metaphorical heap right now, recovering from being ripped apart, chewed up and shat out the other end… thank you for sharing this.

  37. Marcus Cox
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    I’m so terribly glad I didn’t read this at work today. Yesterday my grandfather passed away. It was a long time coming and we where being told it was soon. My dad, brother and I went down to visit him yesterday and spent about an hour with him. It sounds like he went within minutes of us leaving. I’ve been sad but waiting all day for that moment where it really hits me. As I was reading this blog I felt it coming and I’m not crying uncontrollably. Thank you for sharing this.

  38. Joris M
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Thanks Pat, a beautiful post that brought tears to my eyes. Again thanks for sharing, and helping in the process.

  39. mill2138
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    I lost my mother to cancer nearly 11 years ago, and I still think about her every day. I think I talk about it more than most people who have lost someone do, but I can generally see the discomfort in people’s eyes when I talk about my mom. People are afraid to talk about death and dying. She was a wonderful person who left far too soon, but people should know about the people who have shaped our lives, and my mother was far too wonderful for me to not tell stories.

  40. AtheistPreacher
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    Great thoughts. I like your point about taboos.

    Maybe this will make me seem like an ass in the same way quoting Shakespeare would make you an ass, but this post did make me think about the HBO show Six Feet Under. That’s a really, really high-quality show all about death and dying, following the lives of people working in a mom-and-pop funeral home. It’s very powerful, and explores a lot of issues like the one you’re bringing up — like feeling glad, in one sense, that someone is dead, and the guilt that comes with that.

    Just thought it might be worth mentioning.

  41. wheelkat
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    Patrick,
    I’m the mom with cancer with an 18 year old son. I find myself trying to cram a lifetime of knowledge and advice into a short span of time. I’m planning on being a survivor. I’ll be watching your posts for some advice on what I should be telling my son, things that really matter not just how to maintain a bank account or buy groceries.
    I fully intend to be around to read the last book in the The Kingkiller Chronicle series, but there are no guarantees. Right now, I”m in the middle of Wiseman’s Fear. Thank you so much for creating an unabridged audio addition. I’m enjoying listening. I love being able to get involved in another world and forget about chemo and radiation for a few hours every day.
    Judy
    PS My 18 year old son is a loving and caring young man that makes sacrafices for me every day. Sounds like your son is well on his way to being a loving, caring child. Keep up the good work. If you are ever in Kentucky for a reading, look out in the group for a bald 51 year old mom that is a huge fan!

    • Maureen
      Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

      I’ll keep you and your family in my thoughts (and prayers, if it’s okay).

  42. joker116
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    My father died when I was 7. Cancer. My grandma died on December 24th 2010. Cancer, again. This time I could understand better, how she suffered for years before. We, my family, arrived at the hospital just in time to share her last moments, which was as important as anything to me. I had the definite feeling of her waiting for us to leave in piece. Christmas, which is mainly celebrated in Germany on the 24th, has always been her favorite day. That doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. I would say there are hardly any coincidences concerning the death of people having been seriously ill for a long time. I cried a lot on that day, although I usually never do. But it’s terribly ok in such moments, even in front of everyone. Nevertheless, it comforts me that she was surrounded by her loving relatives in the end.

    In my opinion, we don’t talk about death that much out of several reasons. Firstly, one is afraid of death in general. Lurking and unpredictable. Second, it’s as intimate a topic as you can imagine and people don’t like to be off their comfort zone. And lastly, as you said, Pat, you can’t protect yourself from the grieve in the particular moment and the loss is definite. It hits you hard and straight. However, time and friends help and a dear memory is the best gift for our beloved.

    • joker116
      Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

      Ah, forgot to say thanks for sharing! And hearing about Bilbo/Oot was the sweetest story I could wish to hear tonight.

  43. Katie92
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    I’ve read every blog here for the last few years but never commented as I never thought I needed to say anything. Well today that changed, as I realised I had to share my respect for you as a writer and a person.
    This is the first time a blog has ever made me cry, and it’s a testament to you that it did. The fact that you were able to share this and do it in such an honest, almost painfully human way.. It takes a better writer than me to describe that.
    I’m aware of how sincere and kind of cheesy this may sound so I’ll round it off and just hope you understand what I’m trying to say here.
    Katie
    PS. You’ve definitely done something right with Oot.

  44. goolic
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    You my friend,
    have the most beautiful mind and hearth.

    Were i a betting man i’d bet your parents were as well.

    Hope i have as much love in my life =D

  45. Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing, Pat.

  46. twas_Brillig
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    That was fucking beautiful.

  47. O. Isacoa
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

    Dammit*manly sniffle/tear wipe*Piece of sand just flew in my eye.

  48. leaf101
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

    thanks for that, your post made this mothers day memorable

  49. Andie
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing. I laughed at the beginning and cried at the end- but it was a good cry. It ripped my heart out to read it , I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to write.

  50. tanis0
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    It was a pleasure meeting you at Stellarcon, Pat. I’m the guy who sat directly to your left in the game you ran.

    My mother died unexpectedly on December 2, 2007. The worst part was waking up every morning and slowly sorting dreams from reality and having to remember again that she was gone. You’re right about the taboo, Pat — I’ve never told anyone that before, and no one ever warned me what real loss is like or how to deal with it.

  51. kc714
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

    thanks for this, and for the promise of more stories. when my sister was alive, i talked about her all the time, about things that she did and what she thought about such-and-such, so much so that several people commented on it over the years. now i have friends, close friends, who don’t even know that i had a sister. there was never a good time to talk about it, and now it’s even harder, because “oh yeah, i’ve known you for three years but right before that my sister died” doesn’t just pop up in conversation. i can’t believe that i never talk about her now. it’s another silly incomprehensible thing, among many.

    i read somewhere that the only thing that is truly unbearable is that nothing is unbearable. that saying, and what you wrote here, and what others have written here, make sense to me, in a way that i wish they didn’t. “horrible club” indeed. i suppose that a horrible club is better than none at all. it *is* good to hear other people talk about grief. this was good for me to hear. so thanks, and best to you and oot and all.

  52. Mark G. Schroeder
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    This is a stupid thing to say given the nature of this post, but I keep thinking it so…..

    I like your Dad’s hat.

  53. Sobriquet
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    This feels really awkward to write about. I’ve written it in my head several times without actually touching the keyboard. I’ve never been super close to my mom and it’s been more of an awkward relationship but this was the first mother’s day I wasn’t with her and it was the worst thing days leading up to it and the day of and even now. It made me think of all of the little things that my mom taught me when I realize that not everyone has those basic fundamentals in their life. I just stopped to think that my mom was pretty fantastic despite some of the differences we’ve had.

    I’ve never lost anyone and I feel like I’m just waiting for the ball to drop some days. It’s the scariest thing in the world. My grandma and my dad both had health issues recently. At the time and even now I hate that I’m so far away from them and the rest of my family for school but I know they wouldn’t want me to miss out on my future for those reasons. Life is terrible.

    I feel like my post is incredibly irrelevant to yours but it’s what it made me feel.

  54. Posted May 14, 2012 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    I dropped you an email when WMF came out that I bought it for my dad on his first day of chemo after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was bringing his laptop with him and actually expected to get some work done. I was hoping your book would distract him instead.

    I just found out yesterday, on Mother’s day, that his cancer is back, and has spread. His doctor said there wasn’t anything else he could do. So they’re looking a new cancer centers now. We’re not giving up yet.

    But this post made me teary-eyed anyway. I do keep asking myself how it is people go through this all the time and the world hasn’t ended. Driving home from work today I was extra nice to the other drivers because I didn’t know who was dealing with some shit and just needed someone to let them change lanes to make their day.

    I remember your saying your dad’s cancer had returned, too. You haven’t mentioned that recently (that I’ve noticed), so I hope he’s doing well.

    • astridsdream
      Posted May 15, 2012 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

      A little while after my grandmother died, I wa staying the night at future husband’s apartment. I was going to bed and he was watching the tail end of Return of the King. Before I fell asleep, that Annie Lennox song came on, Into the West. I started sobbing and had to ask FH to turn it off. Which he did, Without hesitating, because he’s wonderful. But yeah, songs are real good at ripping you apart.

  55. DougVSys
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

    Thank you, I came here to hurry you up on the next book and instead grow a bit more as a human.

    Oot is a wise child. Thank you for sharing, you’ve reminded me to live.

  56. feory274
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

    I know how it feels. We just lost my grandpa not even 2 months ago. The suckiest part was that is was sudden and it was the day after my birthday. We were going to go out that afternoon for dinner. He was in his 60s and should still be around. My other grandparents are 80 pushing 90 and still raring to go. It’s just really hard knowing I’m not going to see him again and I used to talk to him all the time. I can’t forget he’s gone but I can stop thinking about it. Then I hear a song that reminds of him or even this morning I was watching the first Beethoven and I just started bawling and couldn’t stop for almost ten minutes. The worst part was when we had to go out of state for the funeral to his house. Surrounded by his stuff and listening to people say there sorry just didn’t fill the hole he left behind. It didn’t even come close… It was more like each thing ripped the hole a little bit wider. There’s just no easy way to say goodbye to someone after there gone and it isn’t the same saying it to the air or their grave, ’cause you know they’re not really there. Sorry, I realize I’m rambling.

    • feory274
      Posted May 14, 2012 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

      It’s sad ’cause I got both of them to start reading your books after they read Girl with a dragon tattoo. I don’t even know if he got to finish it

  57. Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

    When my mom’s youngest brother died, it was in a bad accident where he was horrendously burned. It took him about 40 hours to die but he was pretty conscious, though unable to talk or anything (sparing you the physical details). He looked terrible and my mom was pretty haunted by it for months afterwards. Finally, she had this dream after we’d moved where he came by the house. She asked what he was doing there, aware somehow that he shouldn’t be there. He told her just came to show her that he was ok. Whole again.

    For my mom it was kind of an answer to emotional and mental suffering. It helped her to realize that he wasn’t in pain anymore.

    I feel like this is relevant in some way to your story about the dreams. Maybe not. But I think I’ll leave it anyway.

    I’m sorry about your mom. She looks like a sweetheart and you look really happy with her.

    Oot sounds like a total sweetheart. Nice job to you and Sarah.

  58. Alisha
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:24 PM | Permalink

    I’m sorry, Pat. My mother-in-law passed away in 2004 a week before I found out I was pregnant for the first time. She was awesome, and never got to know them.

    To say she was my mother-in-law never seems like enough. My husband and I have known each other since high school, though we didn’t start dating until our sophomore year of college. We were friends first, I guess. As much as a 20 year old can be friends with a 50 year old. She tired

    She got me though and when somebody understands you, and suddenly they’re gone, it’s hard.

    I used to have dreams that she was gone. I’d wake up and think that it was just a dream too. Then I would remember that there really was an accident and she really was not coming back.

    Obviously Bill’s dreams were worse. So much so, I don’t like to even think about them. I remember for a good two weeks, he’d meet her and tell here what was going to happen to her, but she just got on the motorcycle anyway. How many times can your heart break? Apparently, the number is different for everyone.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m so glad you have your girlfriend and Oot. Children heal all.

  59. Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:29 PM | Permalink

    So much comment goodness here; yet I’m drawn to sign in and add to the stack. For no particular reason other than data-overload, I hadn’t read Pat’s blog in some while; but I recently found time to start re-reading NOTW, which in turn, led me to pop back round here. And there, all insouciant, leaning against the page, was Pat’s Mother’s Day post, waiting to gut me. . .

    Yesterday was the first Mother’s Day after my mom’s death last December. As with many mothers and daughters, our relationship for much of my life had been tempestuous, often rocky; but in my mother’s final years dementia swept all the anger and petty hurts of the past away from both of us– accidentally in her case, volitionally in mine. So my mother’s last lesson for me was that of forgiveness; I learned that one fast and well.

    But my point here isn’t that; forgiveness, like peace, comes dropping slow, and each person must find it for himself.

    Rather, I can try to honor Pat in a small way by celebrating not the last, but the first lesson from my mother: when I was 4, she taught me to read, and to love reading. In this simple way, she gave me the world. And the world isn’t big enough to hold my gratitude to her for that precious gift, the gift of reading. Reading, and love: with those two gifts, under almost any circumstances a rich life is possible; lacking one . . .

    So yeah, to Pat goes something a wee bit more profound than thanks. For the books, hell, it goes without saying, or should; but also for this post, which helped me, in a painful but healing sort of way, get through a gray, gray day.

  60. turff
    Posted May 14, 2012 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Pat. That helps. I’m glad you spend your time putting words together. Please don’t stop.

  61. Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Pat for the beautiful post. I know that discussing religion is kinda taboo, but I find during such times it really helps me. The peace you get knowing that your loved one is in a better place softens the pain. She does in fact see Oot every day and is proud of the parents you and Sarah are.

    God bless.

  62. Naomi
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:58 AM | Permalink

    I’m not crying – it’s been raining on my face…..

    Thanks for that Pat – mothers are awesome. I’m sure there’s never an age when you don’t miss your mum.

    Oot sounds way cool too. Kids understand these things – even without having being around for very long. In many ways they’re far more onto it than us adults.

  63. Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:59 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for your beautiful blog! It’s SO IMPORTANT to speak about death, yet we have a collective “closedness” to this very significant conversation. As a spiritual counselor (esply. hospice) for many years, I’ve been working at this for some time now – thru my books, blogs, etc. I hope that you’ll keep up the good work that you’ve started here… We all seem to need a great deal of Permission to speak about what’s been relegated as the “unspeakable.” We hold some kind of collective great fear around something that is so natural, and beautiful, and sacred, really. Truth be told, we could be eager to speak about death, spirituality, and mystical matters. They’re all interrelated. Perhaps we have so much trouble and awkwardness around death because we are not very spiritually tuned in?? Keep up the good work! Blessings of Peace, and Namaste.
    http://www.changewithcourage.com (& http://www.soulbaskets.com)

  64. laurene135
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:14 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for this post.

    I agree that it being such a taboo is a problem. It helps no one. It doesn’t help those going through it for the first time, and it doesn’t help those of us trying to comfort others when we haven’t experienced it yet.

    I’m a healthy mix of young and lucky, so I’ve never really experienced a serious death. The grandparents and others that are dead died before my memory. I am very lucky for this, but when my friends have experienced a major death (a friend, grandpa, father…) I feel like a large sack of useless because of this taboo. I want to comfort and support, but feel deaf, dumb, blind, and mute. I want to support without stepping on toes or forgetting to give them breathing space, and something other than “I’m so sorry” would be nice to say. I know I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way. It is a shame this the case. I think it’s terrible that people who have just lost a loved one have to stress about how they are feeling. That they don’t feel like they can openly share if they want to. That they are left confused and in the dark because people just don’t talk about death. That they are surrounded by people who love them and want to help but just don’t know how. Death is hard enough without this song and dance.

    So thank you, Pat, for taking a step to break this taboo and talk about death. It’s healthy for those who have experienced it to feel free talk about it, helpful for those currently experiencing it to better understand it, and informative for those of us who want to help as best we can without knowing from personal experience.

    And I concur with my fellow commenters. I would love to hear stories about your mother. We (and Oot) may not have the opportunity to meet her in person, but we can get to know her through you!

    That’s the beauty of stories ;) they make the mortal immortal.

  65. penguinbloke
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:43 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing Pat, your story scratched an niggling itch that’s been at me for a while, and, from the looks of it it’s an itch that is common to many.

    Take care.

  66. internalogic
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:04 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for this, bro.

  67. Enwezor
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

    A lovely post Pat.
    The way children think is wonderful. I have 4 kids – ages 5, 3, 2 & 7 months and the things they do and the way they act is life-affirming.
    I do want to throttle them sometimes too!

  68. duncan1574
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    Parents are immortals, at least to us, they have always been there, quite literally they were there when you were formed. When I lost Mom I was a wreak for days and still have a moment or three after 10 years. When Dad passed it was different, my DAD had been gone for awhile and my FATHER was there to care for. I miss them both at odd moments, at shared places, with certain smells.

    Grief is personal, there is no ‘right’ way to grieve, each of us must process through it in our own way and time.

  69. Gwhiz
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    Pat, thank you for a beautiful, honest post. I’ve lurked for years, but this is the fist time I have posted :).

    I think you would like Irish culture. In my community in Tyrone, death of an elderly, sick person is seen as an opportunity to celebrate their life and legacy. Death is talked about and accepted, the local paper and church are used to announce deaths everyday and then everyone rallies round for the Wake.

    When I lost my own grandparents, the Wake is a time when it feels like the whole country troops through your house, offering support, casseroles, biscuits, prayers and love.

    The memory of loved ones is not avoided in the years after death and I am lucky to have brilliant friends and family to talk about the hole left by my two granddad and granny and greataunts, greatuncles and my uncle, my godfather. We celebrate their anniversaries every year and it is a great comfort.

    I hope you know that there are many out there who are thinking of you, even if we never post. Sickness and death of a loved one is something we all know.

    P.s. Oot is such a cool child! I want my child to know all about LOTR at that age too!

  70. Tara Urbanek
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    Oh, I so sympathize. My dad died 5 years ago this May. The dreams were the worst – the frustration at knowing how it all was going to end, the anger at my dad for not going to the doctor sooner, and then yes that terrible relief when I woke up. It’s nice to know we’re not alone, or at least that there are, as you say, more of us that are this particular flavor of fucked up.

    The dreams eventually changed; I’d wake up confused that my Dad was alive in them and not dying, then feel happy that I had a good dream with him. There’s certainly still a gaping hole where he used to be in my life, but I’ve tried to fill it with flowers and pictures and memories. I can’t make it go away, but I can make it a little less uncomfortable.

    Thank you for posting such a personal thing. We’re all better for the sharing of these things.

  71. Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    I’m so sorry Pat.

    For me one of the hardest deaths was the death of my father’s friend a few years back, a good man I’d known since I was a child who was always kind to me and treated me like he was one of my uncles (he had no children of his own).

    He contracted lung cancer as a non-smoker and died horribly over the course of a year. In the end it spread to his brain and gave him a stroke, paralyzing him.

    One of my greatest regrets in life is that I did not go to visit him on his deathbed when my father did. I will regret it until I am on mine.

    It is one of the most yellowbellied (non)acts I have ever committed. I hope to never sink so far into cowardice again.

  72. alrobe
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    Wow. Powerful post. I have lost both my parents, my mom when I was a kid too young to remember and my dad back in 2001 when I was 22. My dad wasn’t really that sick, he had parkinsons and they had him in assisted care for a “few weeks” while they figured out which medicines would help him. He got a blood clot in his leg and died. I didn’t have the feeling of being glad it was over, but I did dream about him for years.

    Usually in my dreams there was a big mix up at the hospital or something and he showed up at my house alive. My wife and I are expecting twins in about two months, I wish my dad could have met them.

    It’s kind of weird. For years I couldn’t even talk about my dad. Now I find myself telling my wife the most random things. It has to be boring to hear about how dad liked to cook steak or what tv shows he watched, but I find myself telling her anyway. It feels good to talk about him now.

    My special brand of fucked up comes at Christmas and other holidays. I spend the day pretending not to miss my dad, so I don’t ruin everyone else’s Christmas. But inevitably I end up watching my father-in-law or my mother-in-law, depending on whose house we spend Christmas at and I think about how hard it is going to be on my wife when they die, and I make some plans in my head about how to comfort her, and how the funerals should go. What wonderful thoughts for holidays, hopefully my thoughts won’t be so morbid next year when we have a couple of little ones around.

  73. Baldsilver
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

    Hey, don’t normally comment, only other time I did was when I was objecting to your circumcision blog.

    I know you’ve already gotten like 50 compliments, but that was a really well written post, very moving.

    Something that amused me was the fact your girlfriend wanted to spend part of mother’s day doing errands, but I’m all for days spent in the park.

  74. Sam
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I read your blog all the time. In fact, I stumbled across your book in 2007 on a table at Borders and have been following any news I could find about you since then. Usually I just lurk, but this post made me want to create an account because I wanted to tell you that I loved it.

    This post brought a tear to my eye because recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the people I’ve lost and how sometimes you can go for ages and feel alright and then one day you see something or you hear something and it all comes back and hits you like a ton of bricks.

    Also, your son is fracking awesome.

  75. Mauren Rimloth
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

    I am relly glad I know a little bit more about you Pat. Thanks, really. Is a precious little door to your world that has been opened to us all, your fans and readers =)

  76. chawxhurst23
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    Dear Pat,

    This is my first comment ever to you, normally I read your blog and leave it at that. I am a fan of your blog and will be starting your first book. My husband is a fan of yours and has been wanting me to read your book and George R.R. Martin’s (apparently except the last one.) I have read two of his books, and taking a bit longer to read the third. I do not know why I am giving you so much background of my reading and being a fan. I guess I felt a little obligated to tell you something because you write blogs about your life and interests for your fans. Most of your blogs are amazing, especially blogs about Oot, and make me laugh or distract me from things in my life. This blog was very sweet, true, funny, and other various emotions that tug at one’s heart strings. Thank you for writing blogs and books for all to enjoy. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Carolyn

  77. fyrflygrrl
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    Wow. Powerful words, sir. I can’t even begin to imagine the raw, unending ache from losing a parent. My heart was breaking for you as I read this, and breaking for me a bit, too, knowing my turn will one day come.

    Look, Pat, I don’t know you and you certainly don’t know me, but one thing I do know is moms. I happen to be one.
    Think about the things you want for Oot. Not material things.. but ya know… Weighty, heavy things. Stuff that matters.
    You want him to be happy, yes, but more than that; you want him to find happiness, to grasp it in his sticky palm and chortle with glee. You want him to learn, and love learning. You want him to go out into the world and shine like a blazing sun. Do things, make things, be things..all manner of things. You want him to love fiercely, and know peace. Even though you know the world can sometimes feel like a bottomless well of angst, anger, and division you know it’s still a better place just because he is in it. You want to see him cast his shiny penny of ‘do-goodery’ in that well and feel great about having done it, even if seems pointless. You want him to recognize it’s not. These are all the things a mother wants for her children as well.. and so many more.
    So, even though I don’t know you; I can tell you what I see. I see a man who creates beautiful things and has found love. A man with a son who already knows how to offer comfort in the face of uncertainty and distress. A man who dedicates himself to heaps of annual ‘do-goodery’ with Worldbuilders.
    You are a credit to your mom, Pat. So even though I don’t really know you, and I never knew her, I can say with a high degree of certainty that she must have been a truly stellar lady. The cool thing is, anyone who glances in your direction will see the same thing, and must inevitably come to the same conclusion.
    You represent her very well. Well done.

  78. Bobert
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    Your Family is *EXPLITIVE* awesome!

    I am proud to be a fan of yours sir.

  79. Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    Thank you, Pat. I am fortunate that I have both mt parents, but a lot of what you say rings true for me, for things I felt and experiences when i lost my grandparents.

    I got to the end of the post with tears streaming down my face.

    I am so glad that you have Sarah, and Oot. And that you are able to remember, and share with them, many happy memories of your Mom.

  80. Not Today
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    Read this post while listening to this: Kvothe tribute Felurian’s Song

    Burst out crying. Beautiful, beautiful post and song!

  81. Posted May 15, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

    And then, the truth strike you: why in the hell, with all the good moments with your loving being, you have to dream the bad stuff over and over?? “Damn!! My life beside that person what awesome…”.

    I must say: I never lost someone close, but I’d like to think that when I do, all the good things will smash the dark stuff in an epic and heroic way, even if I know it’s almost immpossible…

    And, if I may, I’d like to say something else: when i read the post, I only saw good things and an amazing life with loving people. Read about your mom make me smile; she was amazing, I can tell, and you are a f***** awesome dad.

    I envy you; as a father and as a writter. With love and respect, but I envy you…

    PS: Sorry for my english if it’s not right. I’m from Spain and I’m a self-learner (I think it’s says that way). Man, you have to learn spanish so I can tell you all the good thigs I think abour your life and work…

  82. balion
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for doing this, Pat. I’ve been reading this blog for months and today I’ve felt the need to tell you this.

    Greetings from Spain

  83. AnnaH
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

    I agree there is a weird taboo about it. I think part of it is that talking about loss to someone who has not had the same kind of loss feels uncomfortable for both of you.

    My dad passed from lymphoma 10 years ago and I know a lot of my friends still feel worried about saying the wrong thing, yet my friend who lost both of her parents to cancer is able to reminisce about the actual people without that discomfort. As a matter of fact we often talk about the bad aspects of our parents as well as the good, something that a lot of people seem to want to pretend didn’t exist. My relationship with my dad before he died was complex, he was an alcoholic and difficult to deal with, it doesn’t mean he didn’t leave a gaping hole in my life when he died though or that I miss him any less. Over the course of 9 months went from being the dynamic slightly insane man I knew to someone who could no longer swallow as the cancer spread. It was horrible to watch. Each day some new horror would occur.

    The dreams after he died were the worst. The day he died, I arrived at his hospital room and he woke long enough to say “Oh good, you made it in time.” He slept again and never spoke another word. Then my mom made me leave the room to go call a friend who had been leaving a bunch of voice mails (which drove my mother nuts). While I was gone doing that for all of 5 minutes, he died. I felt so much guilt that I wasn’t there when it happened. The guilt became weird too since after I could never bring myself to call this friend back because it always felt like a big disaster would occur. We aren’t friends anymore obviously, since I cannot still to this day call her.

    I met my husband at work, two weeks after my father died. He of course never met him and I find myself constantly telling him tiny tidbits about my dad, like about his goofy face or his awful beer spaghetti (only time he ever cooked and the sauce was 90% beer, 10% meat and 100% awful). The hardest part now for me is that my 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter will never know him, and I have no idea of how to begin explaining to them. I tried to tell my son one time when I was crying that I was missing my dad and he thought I meant my husband since that was the only daddy in the world.

    My mom is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. All I could think when she was diagnosed was please, not again.

  84. LaraMLl
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    Your mom looks and sounds like a beautiful person…LOVE the picture of you together!

  85. cnorb489
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    I love you guys

  86. cnorb489
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    This is Aunt Con-thinking of you and love you

  87. vênsês
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

    Hm, you seem to have a really nice son there. Kudos.
    Now, I’m sorry about your loss and I think I shouldn’t add my next thoughts but what the heck, if you don’t like them, just delete it or ignore it at your leisure :).
    I’m having a huge disbelieving moment with the Ademre culture. A folk not believing that fathers have anything to do with having a child? It really destroyed the story for me. I can cope with magic, and all the Sigaldry, Alar etc. – heck even with Fae, Demons, Dragons…, but there seems to be something really flawed in a society which thinks only women are responsible for giving birth (well actually they are, but for the whole reproduction :)).
    I don’t know of any society on earth where that believe got anywhere near that. And I don’t think such a thing would even be possible. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for empowering women. I don’t even mind if they would be the ruling force for the next centuries. Just for a change. I don’t think they could make it anywhere as bad as the men…
    Anyways, it’s sad that such a disharmonic chord was played that I really don’t look forward to hear the end of your symphony. And that is really sad, as till now I only had sometimes and very rarely the feeling it wasn’t worth it (I had to fight through the first 100 pages of LotR to get to the good part, at least your story starts really well, and the late Robert Jordan has whole passages and even one book which could be just lost and it would help the opus in the end). I’m sorry for this harsh critique. Just my opinion of course.

    • Mark G. Schroeder
      Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

      I just… I don’t even… what the hell dude?

      • DrFood
        Posted May 17, 2012 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

        Thanks Mark!

        I spotted your comment in time to stop reading whatever bilge lies above. . .

    • IvoryDoom
      Posted May 18, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

      Dude, save it for Goodreads.

      The man puts his heart on the internets for his fans and you act like a major d-bag…props, I’m sure you feel proud of yourself right now. Talk about disregard of a persons emotional well being. Did you even READ this blog?

      In case you missed the boat, this is a fantasy novel…which means, its not real life. Get over it man! It’s not Pat’s fault you have a shitty imagination and think men play an irreplaceable role in the bearing of children.

      Just because you have the leisure of scientific discovery doesnt mean that Pat’s FANTASY world does (which is nothing like Earth, by the way…in case you missed that magic part…oh and the genre placing on the book binding) Ademre is in an isolated part of the world and features a people who do not share there feelings and ideas with everyone since they consider them intimate.

      Not to mention, its pretty much a known fact on EARTH that women were persecuted for centuries as the reason children were born from a certain gender and reaped the complete punishment of bearing females. No man was ever considered the reason there were complications until recent science.

      Have you ever even heard of King Henry? Or for fucks sake the entire pre industrial Asian culture?

      • vênsês
        Posted May 18, 2012 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

        Talk about insulting. Did I insult Mr Rothfuss? Maybe I was a bit insensitive.
        And I won’t attack you as a fangirl (boy?) either, as it is a weak argument.

        What would you compare a society to? To Avatar? You compare it to things you know. And every fantasy story I know – even those from the very imaginative Jack Vance – have been created from existing societies of earth’s history. And I can’t follow the reasoning behind this little experiment. There is really no logical explanation. I would accept it in a sect. But I hardly think Ademre is a sect?

        And I won’t get into your unfounded allegations either. Only this much: I have been looking in the web if somebody else found it absurd that a society would think that men wouldn’t be involved in having children.
        But alas I didn’t find any, too much hype involved with these two books. Thus I wrote it down in here. For that and only for that I will accept criticism.

        Even so. I’m sure you don’t really care what is what. Facts and arguments don’t count much if something precious is attacked. So… let it just slide next time you read something you don’t agree with. Or at least try to find real arguments?

        It is not my intent to troll in here either. Thus have fun with this fantasy story. Apparently it just won’t be my favourite.

        • IvoryDoom
          Posted May 21, 2012 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

          Yes, I would call it insulting to come into an artists domain and call something they spent a lot of time and effort on a dissapointment. If you had posted this in an appropriate forum on the internet somewhere, I would call it a critque. Whether you mean it or not, you are totally being a troll.

          And its fine to call me a fangirl…I’m not ashamed to admit, I totally am and probably hold Pat in higher regard than is necessary, but what can I say, few people ever impress me and I find him genuine. Big deal. He’s a cool guy, I think he deserves more respect, when I think something is wrong, I say it instead of dancing around suggesting it. Thats why I even replied to you. Needless to say though, it would be a weak argument given I even put a couple of references you could have googled to get a some small semblence of an idea of similar cultural values.

          That being said, when I read a novel, I dont spend time comparing it to things in the real world, unless its actually based there, or is a nonfiction novel. That just seems rather pointless to me. I believe in new ideas and fictional concepts, thats all fine, its part of the fun of the fantasy genre. I personally felt that although it was a strange, it was at the very least, refreshing from the ever constant medieval setting.

          And No, I wouldnt classify the Adem belief of child bearing a sect. It seems stretched across the entire of Ademre.

          In reply to your search on the web, please visit Goodreads.com, join up, join the forum “Rothfussians” this has been discussed at length there. I would love even to debate more with you on the many subjects that they offer. I’ll try to refrain from calling you a D-bag again as its a more appropriate outlet for this sort of thing.

          Lastly, I infact do care what is what. I’m completely open to changing my ideas on any subject, its simply that you do not put forth anything factual yourself, only your opinion, to cause any change of mind at all.

          Personally, King Henry had many of his wives killed because they bore him female children. He even accused them of bewitching him. He personally believed he had nothing to do with the creation of his female children….although I can agree that this isnt an entire culture this is an example similar (although somewhat twisted) to the Adem Culture, in my mind. A lot of asian cultures believed the same thing.

          Not to mention Catholics. They believe that christ was immaculately concepted. I’m sure there are plenty of other religions who believe similar things about deities as well, I just havent bothered to look them up since its not something I felt was necessary.

          I’ve also heard the Adem culture compared to the social behaviors of Bonobo Monkeys, which actually is quite similar, though they cannot form belief systems. All of this can be looked up and you can form your own opinions, but I’m just saying, its not that unbelievable and it seems small minded to imagine that a culture who doesnt view sexual relationships as intimate wouldnt equate child birth to it.

  88. Lhen
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

    Thanks.

  89. NAMDORG
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

    This made me tear up quite a bit.
    Then I called my mom and told her I loved her. I know she knows it, but I sure as hell don’t say it often enough. That’s going to change.

  90. mikemartel
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

    You know Pat
    that story warm my heart. It’s beautiful because everything your mom passed to you, you thought it to your son, that’s a beautiful thing. My mom was a horrible one, she abandoned us and that’s ok you know, cuz I had the most wonderful dad there is in this world. Sometimes he tells me these stories about his mom and they are absolutely wonderful. They remind me of your mom and how i wish I could’ve met my grandma. She died s month after my birth, she had leukemia and she fought with everything she had just to see the little me. That story alone showed me how much she loved me, I may not have a great mom, but I had a hell of a grandma. I gotta say after all I’ve read about your mom here, I’m glad you still cry when you think about your mom. That is a son’s love.

  91. Stuey1977
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 5:20 AM | Permalink

    Pat,

    Thank you so much for writing your story, it struck a nerve with me and I had to write.

    I lost my father 16 years ago now, I was only 19 and so none of my friends could do anything more than the “I’m sorry for your loss” when all I was feeling inside was relief. My dad had chronic cancer and was only given 2 months to live from when he was diagnosed. He was a proud man, and in the end he was just an empty shell, a husk of what he used to be.

    I dreamed of him and the way he was those final few weeks, an it took me a Lon time to have happy memories. As you say though as time passed the hurt and anger have become less and less. I now have a beautiful wife and a one year old son and another child due in November. My father never met them, but I know he watches over us, and one day we will all meet and he will love them almost as much as I do.

    Thanks Pat

  92. bluezone
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:16 AM | Permalink

    Beautiful post, thank you Pat. Not in the fashion sense, obviously, but in the humanly tender way.
    Death is part of life and sometimes damn hard to live with, *sigh.

    Matt

  93. sysmey
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

    I lost my mother half a year ago to cancer. She was not en easy person to know or be around, but I got really close to her in the end, combing her hair og making her food she might like to eat. 2 days after she died, I dreamt she came to my bed while I was sleeping. I could only see her out of the corner of my eyes. She lovingly stroked my cheek and said everything would be alright. Now I miss her even more that I thougt I would, get overwhelmed by the feeling of “I want my mom”. And the wird thing is that I stumple upon articles everywhere in magasines, blogs like yours, or on the radio, about the death of mothers – talk about the universe giving me a hint! Thanks so much for your wonderful blog!

  94. cnorb489
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

    My dad passed away when I was 28 years old. He died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack.
    I remember looking at people who were walking around the first day after he died and I left my mom’s house and thinking ‘why are they smiling, laughing, functioning…don’t they know that my dad is dead? Don’t they know that this is the worst day in the world?’ Then the dreams came. They were usually dreams that my dad was talking to me, saying ‘it’s ok baby’ and he was completely fine. I can still hear his voice.
    I think about him every day, but in a good way. He is part of who I am and what I do-I am a lot like him. I see him in my chidren, and in the children and grandchildren of my siblings. When I am having a hard day, I turn to him and he always guides me through. I appreciate this opportunity to write about him, Pat. You are right, this subject is taboo, but that needs to change.
    Thank you.

  95. Posted May 16, 2012 at 6:50 AM | Permalink

    I just discovered your books and recently plowed through the second book. I can’t even express how much I loved the story and your wonderful writing. I studied writing in college and it isn’t often that I come across an author who truly captures the writing skill I tried so desperately to learn. You are truly inspring.

    It was equally nice to read your blog and once again be inspired. I lost my mother at a young age, and nobody ever talks about it. I never talk about it. I hold it all inside and just like you described it catches me off guard at times and I find myself completely spilling over at random moments. She is the one person who is always on my mind, but I never share her. I never express my loss. She’s been gone over 20 years now and has missed so much of my life. Every success and life experience has just a little bit of bitterness knowing I can’t share it with her.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It gave me so much to think about.

  96. Zeppe
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    I read this the other day and thought Oot was sweet (Auri-esque) and that it was a good thing to talk about difficult stuff, but I didn’t really relate. Then tonight I dreamed about my grandmother coming back (first time since she passed away, too early, four or five years ago) and me trying to decide whether or not to tell her she was actually a zombie. It wasn’t scary or sad but felt weird and, both in the dream and later when I’d woken up, disrespectful. My grandmother wouldn’t want to come back as a zombie and if she did, she certainly would want to know about it. She was very practical and non-sentimental about matters of life and death. She doesn’t need to come back either because she’ll never really be gone.

  97. troyn123
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    I logged in to comment, but now that I’m here, I can’t think of what to say… Both your post and many of the responses have been rather moving. Thank you Pat and thank you all. Hopefully I’ll remember some of this sage advice when it comes time for me to face the same, nearly inevitable, trial.

  98. Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    After my Dad passed away I hurt so badly. For the first few years and every year leading up to the anniversary of his death I always have the same dream, me standing there leading up to the moment he killed himself. The dreams of a lost loved one are very rarely, if ever, pleasent memories, those you have to think about when you’re awake, write them down in a journal.

    It’s good to know that there are others who go through this becuase then we can support each other, and that is what we all need. Help from friends and even strangers, people that we can talk to and have a common thing that brings us together. This blog post has done that for us Pat, and we all want to express how grateful we are.

  99. FiremanD
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    I wanted to thank you for this post. Being a Firefighter, I see a lot of heartache and witness first-hand sometimes people in their first phase of loss, when the loved one isn’t coming back and they just witnessed their death. It never gets any easier.

    However, it’s never as real to you no matter how many times than when you experience it yourself. I have always been good at accepting the passing of someone in their later stages of life, its always the sudden ones that are the exception with me.

    A year or so ago I get a message via Facebook, the person sending it did not know any other way to get in touch with me, that one of my first loves was found dead. She chose to end her own life, and I will never know why. I will never know if there was something I could have said or done to help her, because she never reached out to me for help, even though we had been back in contact with each other just earlier that year. The dreams have slowly started to fade, I had the ones where I could have stopped it from happening if I had just done something different and the ones where she would blame me or someone I didn’t even know before killing herself. I believe they are a part of the coping process that we go through to come to terms with death and your post here is the first I have read of someone else that has had the same experience, although in a different way.

    I can imagine it took some guts to share this here and I just wanted to thank you for it.

    Your Friend,
    D

  100. mgwa
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

    Thank you so much – as usual, you are eloquent about that which can defy words.

    And congratulations on raising a mensch! – something I think is the highest aim we can aspire to (written as the proud mother of a mensch.)

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