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Life Arts    H4'ed 8/3/10

When Sober Misery in Life Leads to Death

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A casket about to be lowered into the ground.
A casket about to be lowered into the ground.
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A casket about to be lowered into the ground. by foundphotoslj

She was my grandmother, my father's mother, and anyone who knew her would have said she was one of the sweetest individuals. Nothing but love poured out of this woman. Yet, she endured a sober misery that slowly sealed her fate, that slowly ensured her way out of this world was likely to come from succumbing to the mental pain and anguish she was experiencing.

The funeral was the first funeral I participated in. It will undoubtedly not be the last funeral I am involved in. So, I consider this a note to my self and others, a lesson, which deaths have a way of teaching.

My girlfriend was kind enough to be with me for the funeral. She had not met my grandmother but her love for me was great enough to know I wanted her to be with me. Her presence was a pain buffer, a person there to divert my attention away from the pain (although that's not why she came with me).

I was in Chicago when my grandmother died. I returned home to Mishawaka, IN, a small town outside of South Bend (where Notre Dame University is located) to say goodbye. Except, I wasn't going to really get to say goodbye. None of us were. She was dead. She had died in a nursing home and I had received the phone call Thursday morning.

I talked to my mother and girlfriend after getting off the phone with my father and stepmother. I explained that I thought my grandmother was miserable. I wasn't surprised and I felt like this death was an example of someone losing the will to live.

She was married to my grandfather for at least forty years. His mother (my great grandmother) died and my grandfather divorced my grandmother about a year later. He left my grandmother to marry a woman who had been taking care of his mother.

This devastated my grandmother. Gradually, she transformed into a person who was not confident in her ability to live. She needed more and more support for the every day things we take for granted. She lost track of hygiene and the necessity of eating. She didn't go anywhere, lost a lot of her spirit, and very soon she only wanted to interact with people at annual family gatherings (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc). Even then, she was detached, likely uncertain of how to connect to her surroundings.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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