Grief and all the beautifully ugly


Veronica Iseminger

Daniel and Veronica Iseminger taking a nap together sometime between 05′ and 07′

Veronica Iseminger, Staff Writer

Adrenaline squeezed my veins tight. I was glazed in a cold sweat and drenched in an emotion I’d never felt before. My aching heart ran faster than my legs could; I was shocked it didn’t combust. Tears fled my eyes like bullets, hitting the floor with every step. My breath heavy and my voice weak. I had barely gotten the words out of my mouth to ask what room he was in. There was a second of relief when I saw him, sitting up in his bed, welcoming me in with a vacant smile and saying “Hey, peanut”; he had almost seemed normal. If only deception wasn’t so cruel. He melted in front of me, losing his train of thought and composure and slumped against his pillow. Instant panic. It only took seconds for me to be in the hallway desperately screaming bloody murder at whoever would let this happen and in return be given a half hearted pat on the back and sheepish smile from a desensitized nurse making his scheduled rounds. No matter how much I kicked and screamed and threw my fist in the air, I was defeated and still faced with the grim reality.

I tend to think over that moment in the third person. As if it wasn’t entirely real. Even though I feel undeniably disconnected from it, the same thought of it makes my skin crawl which is an everyday occurrence. Almost two years later and it still doesn’t sit right with me that I’ve already had the last conversation I’ll have with him. The last I love you. The last goodbye, and everything in between. I don’t think it’ll ever sit right with me, to be honest, but I do know that the image I once had of what the rest of my life would look like is now completely rewrote. No one plans on losing a parent, at least not at 14. Not when they were your backbone and number one supporter, or the person you looked up to most. Where does all that go after they’re gone? It only took within a matter of a day for me and for this seemingly perfect plan in mind to be thrown out. 

I’ve put aside feeling like it wouldn’t end up mattering anymore anyway. I decided there’s more to life than self pity and wishing to change the inevitable. I wasn’t going to let myself solely be known as the girl that lost her dad. I barely told anyone as a matter of fact, thus me only sharing this now. Maybe it would’ve made things easier at the time, but I was too hung up on the thought of people looking at me some type of way or pitying me to risk it. Which still might be a possibility, but I’m able to handle whatever that may be now. 

There’s no doubt a stereotype falls with people who go through death and traumatic experiences. If I were to have excused away any positive opportunity that came my way because of built up bitterness and hatred for the world, which had unfortunately been considered more than once, it would’ve made sense to people. I could have tied that cement block to my ankle and anchored myself into a bottomless pit of bad mistakes and poor judgement calls and blamed it on grief with ease. What a waste it would’ve been. Instead, I’m here. Not by any glorious means. I can’t compare anything near to the accomplishments of my peers or those around me, but I do know that I may not have ended up here at all. I guess there must have been something in me refusing to be taken down. My dad would have never let me crush my own dreams before anyone else could. (He wouldn’t let anyone else do it either, but make note that he knew I could control crushing my own dreams) Why let myself give up on trying? I’ve learned that no matter what’s happened, no matter how unbelievable it might be, I can’t ever take myself for granted. 

Once everyone else moved on from it and the calls and check-ins went away and life around me seemed to have looked as if nothing happened, I was ultimately by myself. It wasn’t like I didn’t have people around me, they were always somewhat there, the best they could be at least, but it’s hard picking up broken pieces of a person and more so if they’ve never been through it themselves. It felt as if I was stuck in slow motion and put in the most action packed, fast paced, movie you’ve ever seen-and that didn’t just refer to my physical being but, along with that, my mind seemed so low functioning and spaced out, at times, I could barely grasp any of the scene around me. I really don’t know when it finally stopped feeling that way. It was such a subtle transition, like when you try standing outside and staring up at the sky to see if you can see the Earth turn. You can’t, obviously, but you know that it’s happening. How else would the sun rise and set and the seasons change-how else would I finally start sleeping at night and get the will to brush my hair or see about those weeks old missing assignments piling up. I also had to drop the expectation that everyone could put their lives on hold forever and wait for me to pick up speed. I had myself and what I grew to realize is that it isn’t a bad thing or something to be afraid of, but rather something to learn from. I was patient with myself and forgiving of the days I wasn’t proud of and the days I didn’t take a step forward in. I owe it to myself to be the best version of who I can be and to not hold myself short.