Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.                ~ Helen Keller

My Dad would have been 91 today. He passed from one room into another 5 years ago. When my Mom died, 11 months earlier, Dad lost his vision. He was lost, period.

Grief is a complicated beast. I wanted to grieve together. He chose to cry every morning for 5 minutes and then close the book. They were married for almost 62 years. He became a man I didn’t know. He made choices that were contrary to his code of conduct and it angered me.

I rarely get angry. Anger is a primary emotion for many, covering hurt or fear or disappointment. Anger is a secondary emotion for me. But grief wasn’t new to me. I’d grieved many that I love.

I didn’t know I’d lost my Dad the day my Mom died until a year or two later. I was so consumed by my own grief, I couldn’t see the man that no longer could see how to move and live in this world.

I was his caretaker, his accountant, his housekeeper, but no longer his friend. The man who squeezed his 6 foot frame into the little kids seats on carnival rides; who and taught me how to bait a hook; sink a 20 foot putt; and sing harmony to all the old hymns… didn’t want me in his life anymore.

He moved on without my Mom. Without me.

He died suddenly. Officially, he died of pneumonia. In reality, he died of heart failure, but not the congestive kind, the broken kind. I didn’t understand that then. I think I do now. Now he and I, we both can see.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

41 thoughts on “Rooms”

  1. The pain in your voice here is so strong. I look forward to the day this final enemy, death, is once for all put down for the sake of all our aching hearts!

    1. Dear Judi – God has graciously granted both peace and healing. I can see, now, how my Dad was grieving in his typical Major in the Marines way.
      His was a private grief. As close as we were, it wasn’t my place to insist he share it with me. I miss him. I miss my Mom. And that’s a good place for me to be.
      ~ Debbie

  2. Coming late to this conversation, I am sadden by your experience. I do not know which hurts more: to be there and not there or to not be there and regret not having been there if that makes any sense.

    If you don’t mind, I would like to send to you something. My email address is if you don’t mind giving yours by sending yours.

  3. Dear Debbie! Oh this is so Heart Filled and Honest and I am used to this here at TMOG But this is SO real and heart breaking.

    I am sorry you lost your dad. I am SO sorry you lost him twice. He may be in the Other Room now, but you are here and that hurts.

    I wish there was some way I could ease the pain of this day and of this reality.

    I will pray that Grace and Peace descend. Sometimes they seem to come in pain and in tears….

    I will hold you EVEN closer in my heart today.

    With much Love, Jen

    1. Dear Jen –
      We lost our parents in different ways, but we both lost a parent twice. The difference is, I was blessed to have my Dad’s love and care for almost 50 years. I treasure that. My heart grieves that you rarely experienced that with your Mom.

      Grief is a process, not a product. I think we’re both making progress. 😀
      Much love to you, too,

      1. Debbie,

        You have a Heart of Pure Gold. No. Not Gold. Gold is only valuable here on this plane.

        You have a Heart made in Heaven. You do.


        Yes. That is it.

        I am so lucky to have met you..
        YOU are in my heart.

        Much Love and Deep Pools of Respect to you my Friend,


  4. another beautiful post from a beautiful heart. this post woke some pain in me i keep trying to stuff down. i will grieve with you today. sure do miss you all.

    1. dearest gaye – As a former professional stuffer, I’m praying for you as you look at the pain you’ve tried to push aside. I wish I would have talked to you more back then.
      I miss you, too.
      ~ Debbie

  5. Very moving words. Carry on. You are doing good work. And today, in your life as well as mine, the good Lord will “bless this continual stutter of the Word being made flesh.” (Leonard Cohen)

    1. Oh Lew – It’s so good to see you again. What a beautiful quote from Cohen. If I can find the words, I may use it in a post sometime. Thank you!
      ~ Debbie

  6. I wish I had some wise and wonderful words to say . . .but I don’t. Just know that I love you, gracious one. You have such a special heart that has seen so much. God bless you and hold you close as He shows you even more. – the other deb

    1. Hello AG! Well, you certainly landed at TMG on a interesting day. I expect it may have felt a bit like reading a random page in someone’s diary. It isn’t always so depressing here, but it is always a very kind community. 😀
      ~ Debbie

    1. Greg – My heart aches retrospectively for my Dad. I hurt for him at the time, but all my energy was caught up in trying to protect him from himself (kind of like you do as a parent). As is often the case with a caretaker, I had the responsibility (which he gave to me) without any authority or input. It was a such helpless feeling. We both got lost.
      I’m touched by your kindness,
      ~ Debbie

      1. Debbie,

        You are a blessing to me, and to so many others. I know what it is to suffer, so my heart goes out to you.

        Remember the good years, remember too that although Dad may have been sealed away in his grief, he must have felt the love you had for him, as a hurting child does that will not open up to the parent. Your writing this reflects the love you have for him, that is precious.

        I have watched this very thing happen with my own children…helpless to stop it. Yes I sympathize with you my friend.

        May God our Father bring complete healing, may He surround you with His peace. Lord guide your daughter’s steps, let her not stray from the path. You are the One, the One to bring to completeness all things. Surround Debbie with your love, continue to encourage her heart. Grant her words, words to continue uplifting others here on this blog. In Jesus name Amen.

        Be well my sister.

      1. Ruth – What a beautiful post!
        I’m semi-baffled by you and SUEbe and Lori and.. Chief? How many blogs do y’all have going? I didn’t even know about this one until tonight. Thank you for the re-post. I’m truly honored.
        And thank you for sharing your story and your heart, my friend.
        ~ Debbie

      2. Thanks for the kind words, Deb! Prayables was a paying gig I did up until last year. I also did PrayPower4today and Ruth Williams’ Blog are labors of love. Your post really touched a nerve, didn’t it? I’m going to keep planting the idea of you submitting posts from your blog (this one in particular would be great) to an agent, so we can get you a coffee-table-book deal. The world awaits!

  7. Oh Debbie. Hard stuff. Broken hearts break my heart. I’m sorry you lost your dad before he switched rooms. I thought the greatest love was children. Maybe that’s how moms feel (so i’ve heard). I feel heartbroken for the both of you, but i’m glad you see his after-life vision and have understanding yourself. xoxo m

  8. Oh Debbie–this is a weepy one for sure. I’m reaching out to you with sister-hugs. It’s hard enough when people leave our lives, physically–go to the “other room”–but when they leave us while still being present, that’s a painful sharp ache that goes deep–and stays. My condolences–I have only empty words from my full heart. God be near to you today. love, sis Caddo-subdued

    1. Dear Subdued Caddo – All is well with my soul! Thank you for your full heart from which you so abundantly give love and encouragement! You’re a treasure and a gift of God in my life.
      ~ Debbie

      1. Hey, Sis– I’m so glad all is well, and if I may say–you are much too humble about your writing gift. You write beautifully and with depth of heart and soul, in such enviably concise words–and on your other blog, you write impeccable dry, subtle humor! (Just needed to tell you that–)

        And the poem/ballad which burned to be written, after I read your phrase about “yesterday and forever ago”–it posts at midnight-o-five, Seattle time. I really hope you like it–I’m not sure, but it may be in “waltz time”, maybe not exactly, but kinda sorta in my head. And I can send you Caddo Notes, but I really don’t think you’ll require them!

  9. My heart is aching with this, Debbie. Time allows us to see, sometimes. But that time can be painful. Amazing how His grace turns the blind into seeing. Love you, dear friend, Through the pain, grief and loss.

    1. Dear Debby – I don’t live in the realm of regret, but I do so wish I could have surfaced long enough to see my Dad more clearly.
      I remained present in body, and I think I stayed kind, but I became increasingly absent in heart.
      Speaking of heart, you’re on mine as your journey soon begins again.
      love and grace to you, dear, dear Debby,

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