What No One Ever, EVER Tells You About Grief

Posted On Thursday, 04 December 2014
What No One Ever, EVER Tells You About Grief
Grief is some tricky shit.

I apologize for the language... I tried to think of any other phrase that would set the stage for this blog; for what I’m feeling. Somehow “grief is some tricky stuff” didn’t cut the mustard.

I’m fairly cerebral in my life processes; meaning that I tend to make sense of things by “thinking it out.” That is, I try to work everything out in my brain. If I can explain it away, with a reasonable argument and step-by-step analysis, I can process and move on.

I can’t make sense of what’s happening in my heart.

There are varying levels of grief. You can grieve the loss of a loved one (death). Grieve the loss of a loved one (divorce). Grieve the loss of your skinny jeans (just getting fat).

Obviously that last one is super-superficial.

It’s strange how I’ve processed grief in the past. When my grandparents and great aunts and uncles (who treated me like a grandchild) passed, I think I was still too young to realize what this meant. They were elderly; many in the late stages of dementia and disease. What I didn’t realize is that while I lost a grandparent, my folks lost a parent.

And, while I haven’t lost a parent, I’ve lost a parent-in-law.

Which, for some odd reason, gives me this feeling of guilt, for lack of a better word, for being so affected. After all, it wasn’t MY dad. It wasn’t someone who had raised ME.

It was, however, someone who I “knew” for 21 years of my life. Someone who I had celebrated countless holidays with, traveled with, gone on cruises with, fished with, hunted with (once), played cards with, traveled to Laughlin, NV, for the last many years to see... someone who I’d witnessed be a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather.

And now, he’s gone.

Thanksgiving was the first holiday we were without. Well, technically Halloween was, but that’s not really a “holiday,” is it? Then comes his birthday (December 6). Christmas. A wedding anniversary (December 30). New Year’s (a bullshit holiday anyway; pardon the language again). And then the cycle starts once more...

I find myself crying for no reason; middle of the day, middle of the night. Doesn’t matter.

And, I realize that my loss isn’t so much for me, but it’s what it has done to a family that I have come to know and love.

My husband, first and foremost, who is the “baby” of the family. His brothers and his sister, who has treated me like her own. And, then, of course, my mother-in-law, who loved this man for over 55 years of her life. Fifty-five freaking years. What on Earth is SHE feeling right now? The thought of it breaks my heart even more.

I finally put it in perspective... when my dad lost his mom and his dad, my mom grieved just as much for them as she did for her own parents. And why not? She’d known them for such a long time that they had come to be a part of her existence; her knowing of what life consisted.

Guess what?

Putting it “in perspective” doesn’t change the roller coaster ride I’m on every day.


I wrote a letter to this man; I laid it in his coffin for his soul to read it when he’s ready. I worry that it wasn’t enough... that it wasn’t the promise of legacy he would have wanted. I visited his grave before returning to L.A. after we said goodbye. And I cried... a lot. More tears than I’ve shed in years.

That didn’t seem like enough, either.

I’m angry, too. At life. At the unfairness of it all. At this stupid disease, cancer.

And at friends, colleagues, acquaintances. People who don’t seem to “get” how this has affected me. That seems selfish, I guess. But just because I live far, far away for most of the month doesn’t mean that I didn’t love and cherish this man as much as if I’d been two miles from him.

I guess, in short, I just hurt.

Grief... no one tells you that’s the way it is. Even if they tell you, they can’t make you feel it until it really happens. And when it happens, it hits. Hard.

I don’t know how to end this blog, other than include the obituary of a man that was loved so much, and will be missed even more...

Remembering the Life...

Kenneth Louis Anderson was born December 6, 1937 in Heron Lake, MN, to parents Louis Rudolph Anderson and Mabel Mae Schaffer Anderson.

He attended country school near Cyrus, MN, and continued his education in Starbuck, MN. After school, he did custom combining (harvesting) in the southern United States, while still farming with his dad. He also worked at Hancock Concrete in Hancock, MN, for 10 years and was a member of the National Guard.
Ken met the love of his life, Judith Zavadil, in 1959, and they married in 1961. They moved to their current home and farm in 1965, where he continued farming up until recently.

Ken served the surrounding communities as a Solem Township Board member for 35 years, as well as a Hoffman Co-Op Oil Board member.

He loved farming, which he did for over 55 years, fishing, gardening, visits to the casino and playing cards. At the Anderson household, there was always time for a game of cards and a friendly bet. Ken especially loved spending time with his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids, who all affectionately knew him as “Fred.” In the later years of his life, Ken and Judy spent some time traveling, including yearly trips to Laughlin, NV, where he enjoyed playing poker and visiting the Oatman donkeys.

Ken passed away at his home on the morning of October 27.


Sylvia Anderson

Originally from Minnesota, Sylvia moved to California for the sun, sand and warm temperatures. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in English and Communications, both of which she has put to good use in her work with RadioMD as Senior Editor.

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