The reason I titled this blog The Ugly Duckling is that my maiden name was Swanson. That is also the reason my pen name or pseudonym is “Cygnet” which, of course as everyone knows, is a baby swan. It certainly seems like a strange time for someone to be starting a blog, but it is something that I have planned to do for a while, so rather than putting it off any longer, I have determined that now is the season to begin this blog.
My Dad died October 19 and my brother died November 29. Between the two, I completed an abnormal psych class with a 100% and I wrote the first draft of a novel to win NaNoWriMo. At this moment, the accomplishments seem hollow. In just six weeks, I lost two people that I love.
This is a photo of the last time that I saw my Dad when he was at the nursing home.
Grief did not seem so heavy when Dad died. It some ways it felt like a relief. He was 91 years old and had been suffering for several years with dementia. When I saw him alive last, he knew that he knew me, but he did not know exactly who I was. When I told him, he seemed embarrassed. He had been afraid that he would get mean like the other residents at his nursing home. I reassured him that he would not be like that because he had a different type of dementia. It seemed to comfort him some. That was almost two years ago. I had not expected the grief at all really, but it was there. A part of me had died, and I was determined to keep at least a part of him alive. I am working creating his poetry into a hard cover book. It is the least I can do.
This is a photo from a few years ago when my brother Allen (in the blue on my left) and my husband (in the green shorts on my right).
The death of my brother, however, brings crushing grief. I cannot explain it any better than that. I am sadder than I have ever been in my life. I honestly cannot tell you how much of it has to do with my realization of my own mortality and how much of it is because I have lost a person dear to me. I am older than he was. I am older than any of my six siblings. He was the only one of my siblings that I do not remember ever coming home as a newborn. He was my first playmate. He was there with me when my sister was born. He went with me to Aunt Mary’s. We watched as she loaded her dishwasher that we thought was really something else. Our mother did not have a dishwasher. We came home, saw the baby, then Allen and I went upstairs to play. He was my first friend. God, I miss him.