I did not know it felt like this.

by Janelle Hanchett

Three days before my grandmother was killed by her mentally ill grandson, we stood together in Costco, perusing books.

“Tell me if we’re in a hurry, because I’m just hanging out,” she said.

“We are in no hurry, grandma. No hurry at all.”

No hurry at all.

If I could do it again, I would stand alongside her rather than two aisles away, and I would watch her 86-year-old hands touch each book, opening and closing covers. I would watch the way her fingers moved over the letters and I would hold her purse. I would ask what she was looking for.

“Does Mac like books about World War II?”

“I don’t think so. He’s more into those weird adult fantasy books.” I answered honestly. It made her laugh.

“But maybe,” I added. I didn’t want her to feel bad.

As we drove to my house, I offered to drive her to my mom’s around the corner, where she was staying, but when we pulled into my driveway, Georgia and Arlo came running out yelling “Grandma!” and she said, “I think I’ll stay.”

I think I’ll stay.

So she sat at my kitchen table with a glass of water, which I looked for the day after she died but could not find, with Arlo on her lap, and the two of them talked. When they didn’t talk, he sat with her, looking out from her lap, watching me make dinner. Ava and Rocket argued about whose turn it was to feed the dog. George was tired, and possibly yelled. Mac and I got annoyed at the kids.

If I could do it again, I would do it exactly like that, with her simply there, with us, a part of the raucous family.

last week

last week

When my mom came to get her, I am sure I said goodbye. I am sure I said goodbye and hugged her even though I do not quite remember, because that is what we always do, and I’m sure I said, “Have fun in Utah,” because the next morning she was going to visit another grandchild, and then she was going to come back to us.


She was going to come back to us.

That was her plan now that grandpa has passed: She was going to visit each grandchild and spend time with each of her 45 great-grandchildren and “really get to know them.” She told us all about it as she sat at my table, with Arlo on her lap. Mac leaned over and said, “Arlo REALLY loves her.”

I smiled. It was true. I thought of all the things we would do together. I thought I would take her to the B Street Theater, to the Nutcracker, to movies and the Mondavi Center and to San Francisco. Now that grandpa was gone, we could fill her time with a million things. My grandfather had been gone 5 weeks.

Three days after I am sure I said goodbye, at 7:30pm on Wednesday, November 9, my cousin came downstairs with a knife and stabbed her, and she died in the arms of her daughter.


Did you know grief moves through you like a freight train? Did you know it tears through you like a thousand shards of glass on rails and forces your chest to release a sound you never knew you could make? Did you know air moving in feels like fire? Air moving out feels like drowning.

I did not know this.

I did not know my body could make that sound. I did not know my knees would buckle and I did not know my mother would crumble against a wall, her legs too weak to support the truth.

I did not know pain like this existed. Too much for the body to contain. It rumbles and shakes in your blood, racing and slamming the walls of your body, your skin and bones, to get out and run, but it cannot, and only releases in broken wails and sad, wild rage.

I hear her now. My mother’s screaming. I will not forget the sound.

That night, I slept with her, as I did when I was a little girl, and when I looked over, she had tucked the blankets up over her face and under her chin and I thought I would give anything to remove even one sliver of her pain and make it mine.

I could not. She lost her mother. Killed. My nightmare as a child, my mama is living.

I touched her hair and tucked it behind her ears and prayed to god for morning.


I suppose I should say something helpful about mental illness, and how we need to support sick people better, and educate their families, and not be ashamed or minimize it or turn away, and I suppose some day I will say those things, but today, two days before we bury my grandmother, I sit with my mom at the ocean, because it’s where we’ve always gone when things are hard, to watch the wild beautiful rage of the water as it sings its roar against the rocks of my heart, and we wait to be filled again.



150 Comments | Posted in despair | November 16, 2016
  • Cristina

    Oh honey I am so so sorry.

  • Melissa

    My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

  • alexandra

    All I have to give you is my tears. I am so sorry. If being here, to share in your world right now lifts this pain even for a moment, I am here for you. If by being in your mother’s world right now, through the loving grace of your words, holds your mother’s broken heart right now, I am here for her. I am in disbelief, in shock, and in sobs, for what has happened to your dear angel grandmother. I am beyond sorry, and I give you every breath of love in my soul.

  • CrystaL

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss, for your family’s terribly tragic, awful, horrible loss.

  • John Hanley

    No words. Just … I’m sorry.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for sharing. I am so, so sorry.

  • Kare

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family. I hope your writing will help you heal. Take your time, there is no time limit to grief. It’s a terrible thing that happenend and irrespective of the mental illness you are entitled to feel very very angry. Best wishes and blessings.

  • Melanie Baptiste

    I am so, so very sorry. I wish I had better words. For all the times your words have strengthened me, supported me, lifted me up, I want to be able to give you the same. But, all I have is that I am sorry, to you and your mom. Although you don’t know me, I am sending love and healing prayers from across the country.

  • Kirsten

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. What an absolute tragedy.

  • kristine obrien

    Such agony for all of you. I pray for you to manage through this dark time, to just hold on for a little while, and to hold on to each other.

  • Amy

    You are strong.

  • Jocelyn

    I am so very sorry for your unimaginable loss. Holding you and tour entire family in my heart. Bear hugs to you all but especially for your mom.

  • Nj housewife

    So sorry for such a shocking loss. I’m sure your grandmother and grandfather are proudly looking down at you and all the joy you bring to your readers. Wishing your family peace.

  • Kat

    I’m so sorry, Janelle.

  • Jen

    I couldn’t not comment, and have you think I have read this and moved on. Sometimes our lives are rocked by the unthinkable. It’s fucking terrifying and horrible and what a shit show. I’m so sorry for your pain, and for your Mom’s pain, and her sister’s pain, and all your kid’s pain, and all the pain this inflicts on so many people. No words. Much love.

  • Leslie Sholly

    I am so terribly, terribly sorry. I hurt for you.

  • Anne

    This is such a heart breaking story. My Gran was my best friend.The way you describe your emotions is so raw and sad. I want to say it’s beautifully written.I just wish it was a different outcome for your family.

    Your family is in my prayers. I love how you take care of your Mom.

  • Susan

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  • chassit99

    I don’t think I’ve ever read such an accurate description of grief. I am so sorry you have to know how it feels. So sorry.

  • Julie

    I’m so, so sorry for your family’s loss. What a horrific tragedy. I’m hoping that you can all find some peace somewhere as you go through this.

  • Amy Hegwood

    No words, just all my love to you and your family.????

  • Kate

    I am so so sorry to read this. I have been reading and loving your blog for ages but have never commented before. I am sending love and strength to you from England. I am so sorry this happened. You are in my thoughts. Much love.

  • Alicia

    So beautifully written but I am truly sorry you had to write it.

  • Meryl Carver-Allmond

    I’m so sorry for your loss. There’s nothing else I can say, but I’m so sorry.

  • Rose

    My heart hurts for you and your mother and your children.
    Much love and prayers for strength and healing.

  • Lydia

    I don’t have words. I’m so very sorry. 🙁

  • Beth

    I too am sorry for the loss of your precious Grandmother. I know that grief. Love to you and your family.

  • Megan

    I’m so sorry, Janelle.

  • Kristi Wallace Knight

    Janelle I am so, so sorry. Sending love.

  • Marta

    What a powerful description of grief – I am glad you have your writing to process is. As a mental health therapist, a mother, a daughter, my heart aches for what you are experiencing. I hope each member of your family finds his or her own way to grieve the loss.

  • Cynthia

    My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Daddy Scratches

    I am terribly sorry to hear of such a horrific loss. I hope you and your family get through this time as well as can be expected.

  • Kira Blumberg

    All the love I have to you and your whole family.

  • Carrie

    My heart breaks for you. I am so sorry for your family’s loss.

  • Summer

    I am so, so very sorry for your loss.

  • Malyssa

    I am so sorry for your loss, and for your family. I lost my Grandmother in 2010 to a sudden heart attack (or so her crackpot doctor claims), we saw her on her birthday on Friday. And I was mad at her because she made a comment about me dyeing my hair again and how she didn’t like it, and didn’t say goodbye really. Not as nicely or thoroughly as I should have/normally would. Sunday morning we got the call that my Grandpa had found her in her bedroom, gone. I am so thankful for you that your last moments with her are something you can look back on and have cheerful memories of. I know that the grief of losing her will never truly go away, but I pray that with each year, it gets a little easier to make it through that day. <3

  • Krista

    Please accept my deepenst empathy, and angst for your family! I am a palliative care worker/psw. And though this will not yet bring you any peace, please know that you and your family are truly blessed people, both in your actions and time with your grandmother, and in having such a wonderful relationship to build memories on! So many times I see regret from family members for NOT spending the time, whether by choice or simply lifes events… guilt, and regret fill the rooms of so many lost to … wherever it is we go!
    I am so sorry Janelle that you have to feel this pain! I too lost my grandpa suddenly! In working with age, death, and dying, I am not sure which, if either, is worse; sudden loss, or a long painful process saying goodbye over and over, until it comes to a point where everyone just wants peace and for the suffering to end. I could never be as strong as you to sit and write to your followers, while still feeling the agony of loss, and a sure end, along with resentment, anger, and disbelief! I am again, deeply sorry for your loss!

  • Daphne

    Dearest Janelle. To many of us followers, you are like the best friend we’ve never met. Strangers united by a common bond of wit and strength, by a need to rally against the stupidity in the world and take a stand for humanity, and, of course, by the love of a certain f word – when used appropriately and in all the right places. So, let me say this, I fucking hate this thing that happened. I hate that you had to write this. I hate that the stigma and misunderstanding of mental illness by our society as a whole has once again ended in tragedy. Your tragedy. Your grandmother sounds like she was a wonderful woman, and your love for her shines through your words. While there are no words to heal your pain, please know that we are all here for you, united now by your grief and loss. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

  • Calypso

    1. I am so sorry. I can’t even imagine.
    2. Your writing is absolutely without a doubt… impeccable.

  • Stephanie

    Janelle I am so so sorry Heartbreaking

  • A

    I know nothing can really be said, but I am so terribly sorry for you and your family for suffering something so truly devastating. I’m sending love and hope your way, and sincerely praying that you and your family are surrounding in warmth and comfort and good memories. You will all be in my heart and thoughts. <3

  • Micki

    Thank you for sharing. I can’t even fathom what you’re going through. I truly am sorry for your loss.

  • Chantal

    so sad… Sorry for you gigantic loss

  • Lotte

    Heart-breaking. So sorry for your loss.

  • Melissa

    Janelle, I am so very sorry for you loss. I cannot imagine how horrible this must be. Much love to you and your family right now.

  • Jenny

    Janelle, I am so so so sorry. I’m so sorry this happened to your family.

  • Angie

    I can’t even begin to comprehend what you’re going through. I know there is no comfort right now, there is nothing that will make the pain lessen but time, and there will never be a way to fill that hole in your heart and you’ll never get over being angry about the time with her that was stolen in such a horrific way. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. I hope your family can come together and support each other through this.

    This may just be me but when my father passed three years ago I was living out of state. I made it home in time to say goodbye (he was unconscious but at least I was there). My heart was being shredded everyday that he lay dying in the hospital. But when it was finally over and he was gone from his body I instantly felt a little bit more hope. I felt closer to him because he was no longer confined to his physical body and could watch my life from above, being more included than he was before. When I read your words about your grandmother wanting to get to know her grandchildren and great-grandchildren that was my first thought. She may not be among us anymore but now she can get to know all of her family from above.

    You carry her with you every day. She will live on in you and your children. Take care of yourself, lady. Of course your family also but make sure to take time for you during this. Scream, cry, throw things, go to a gun range, write every nasty thing you really want to say but feel too PC to share and then burn it, just let it all flow out. You will make it, and you’ve got an amazing family and a very loyal band of followers surrounding you. If you get in a pickle, all you need do is ask for a hand. Love to you and yours and may your grandma rest in peace.

  • Jennifer

    So fucking awful. I wish I had better words than that. Gut wrenching, senseless, wish I could help in some way but know I cannot.

    I was 16 when murder crushed my family’s soul. I say this not for sympathy but for support and love. Please find others if you need or want to talk about this with someone that has been through similar situations. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’m so, so sorry.

  • Joodz


  • Jen Hicks

    Somehow you take the most awful experience and breathe beautiful, raw truth into it so we can see the pain. With our eyes. With our hearts. With our soul. In so doing, you allow us in to your grief so we can each hold a sliver of it with you. Maybe it lightens the burden for you in the smallest way. Or maybe it helps to feel us next to you. Or maybe us being in these moments with you in spirit can help prop up your soul while you manage through these most horrendous days. I hope any one of those is true.

  • Malvina

    No words. What agony. So sorry; no one should have to go through this. Love to you and your family.

  • Jen

    I am so sorry Janelle – Thank you for being strong enough to share with us your story. May your memories from last week: costco, books, your kitchen table & a glass of water, fill your heart. <3

  • JoLynn Kennedy

    I am so, so very sorry.

    I have heard that noise myself. I have made that noise. On 12/12/2006 when, while sitting at my desk at work, I called my father to talk about holiday plans. Instead, he said to me “have you talked to your husband? He’s on his way to your office.” When I answered “no”, my father shared with me that my oldest brother, at only 35 years old, had died suddenly from a still unknown cause.

    I wailed. Right there at my desk, in the middle of my office. I wailed.

    6 years later in 2012, when I turned 35, it dawned on me that I had surpassed him in years. I wailed again.

    It will be 10 years in just 26 days. I am certain that I will wail.

    Grief never ends. It just sneaks up on you.

    Thank you for sharing your pain and for allowing me to share mine.

  • Lucy Neal

    Dear J, you have imparted wisdom and strength to me and thus my family over a couple of years. I wish I could tell you how much. Please carry on being strong and take care of your wonderful Mum as she is needing you all more than ever. Love and peace from us all here xxx

  • Lucy T

    How gut wrenchingly devastating. I’m so very sorry to hear this, she sounds like a precious lady, worthy of all the love there is. Thoughts with you x

  • Clair

    My younger sister is very mentally ill wih multiple diagnosis. There hasn’t been any death but lots of abuse and violence and despair. I love her so fucking much and have made it my life’s volunteer work to advocate for the mentally ill, but I’ve had to cut her off from my life in many meaningful ways because she can’t be around my kids. I don’t trust and I don’t like her very much either. And I’m really fucking angry with her so much of the time. All this is to illustrate that we can be both compassionate and angry. Don’t force the anger aside because you feel it’s the ‘right thing to do’. I’m just so sorry for your loss. Sending you peace and light.

  • Kate

    Death and loss are truly the most humbling things, and i can’t imagine the complexity of violence being layered into it. SO beyond sorry, and there aren’t any good words to say. Just hold on.

  • Erica

    My aunt was killed by my cousin, who was mentally ill. He was scheduled to be committed the morning it happened. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss. Sending love and peace to you and your family.

  • Angharad

    So, so sorry.

  • Susan Kopp

    I know you get a million emails and mine probably won’t make a difference but I’m an avid reader (mostly lurker).

    I just wanted you to know I am so truly sorry for what has happened. Nothing I can say will make it better but know that I admire you and I have you and your family on my heart, all the way in Ohio.

  • Jenny Johnson

    Janelle, I am so sorry to hear of this tragedy- grief and shock stacked upon one another over and over again. Bless you.

  • Mahrya Quinn

    I am so so sorry for your loss.

  • Cristina

    Dear Janelle, Im so deeply sorry. Please take care of yourself, take the time you need to heal. Someday it will hurt a little bit less.. just hang in there, ok?. She will be there with you everywhere you go, so when you are have a bad day talk to her, she will hear you. i promise.

  • Erika

    Wishing you serenity.

  • Amanda Grout

    You are an amazing testament to your grandmother. I hope that by sharing your pain with so many of your readers, we can lessen even a fraction of the load that is on you and your family’s shoulders.

  • Jacky

    The women in your family have always sounded so resilient, and I’m sure your grandma was one of those women. You are lucky you had her as long as you did, that you had someone so strong to be close to. I hope she stays in your head for years to come. I hope lots of time with silly Arlo and George distract you for a bit from the pain, I know my silly toddlers do that for me. Much love.

    • Erin

      How absolutely fucking awful. My heart goes out to you and your family.
      My husband’s grandmother was killed by her son a few years ago….also a mentally ill asshat that had caused so much prior stress and pain in his family. I am SO sorry you have to know any of this pain. Hugs to you.

  • Mel

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s the worst horseshit ever. I lost my dad about 12 years ago. He was struggling with my autistic sister who was having another violent episode, and he had a fatal heart attack from the stress and strain. They lived in Montreal and I was working in Arizona at the time. I’m still processing what happened, and it’s impossible to lay blame (mental illness, etc). It built up a lot of anger in me that I’m currently dealing with. I’m not going to say everything will make sense, or that time heals. It’s a freight train, like you said, and you’re a passenger on a long-assed journey. My thoughts are, sincerely with you and your family. Thank you for sharing this painful thing with us.

  • Carina Menaker

    Thank you for sharing yourself with us at this awful time. May your family get sleep, against all odds. May any voices in your head or the kids heads that speak truth grow stronger. May the lying voices die on the vine. May you have strength and wisdom to care for each other. My heart goes out to you as you grieve such a terrible loss.

  • Siri

    In the midst of early grief, you have managed to pin exactly what grief is on the nose. To not even know that those sounds exist inside you. You are a fantastic writer and a gorgeous human and I thank you for sharing your experience with us. I hope that your writing has helped you. Sending sympathy, and strength, and love from Norway. You and your family will be in my thoughts.

  • Heather G Nomdeplume

    I am so sorry.
    I know those last moments with her will be cherished, and she was blessed to be loved by you and your family.

  • Sherry

    Yes, that noise. I am so sorry, Janelle. My heart hurts for you and your mom; your family. Know how much you are loved and cared for, even by strangers.

  • Nicole

    This post shook me hard, both because I’m just so sad for you and your family, and because it reminded me how vulnerable we all are to random, horrible, life-changing things like this. I don’t know if I could survive freight train grief. Recently a mentally ill vagrant walked into a highschool in a neighbouring town and stabbed two girls – one of whom did not survive. I can’t even. I hear these stories and want to go scoop up my babies and hide them from the world… but I know I can’t protect them… and yes, I know the solution is better care and support for mental illness…

    It’s all so hard. Sending love.

  • Kirsten

    I am so sorry for you loss. Kia Kaha.. Aroha from New Zealand x

  • Jesika

    Hi Janelle, thank you for having the courage to write this. I just lost my grandma 2 months ago, obivously under different circumstances. It’s still hurts though, when that special person just goes MIA forever, it’s like how do we keep trucking along when she was the engine that gave us the drive. Our worlds have been turned upside down &hi can’t even imagine all the feelings your going through. My brother is one of yhose mentally ill people & it breaks my heart that I can’t somehow help him and now that sweet boy I know growing up is gone ???? We’ve all tried but he seems to be getting worse, to the point I feel he could hurt my mom. He’s living on the streets now & its heartbreaking . It’s times like these most of all when I just needed to talk to her & well that can happen. Please know your not alone out there & your grandma will always be watching over you ????????

  • Miranda

    I am so sorry for your tragic loss and pain, completely heartbroken for you. Prayers your way.

  • Dawn

    I cannot find the words for how much I am feeling for you and your family right now as I cry at my desk. Life is so fucked sometimes. The world is frighteningly unpredictable. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.

  • Kate F

    I am sitting outside my son’s jiu-jitsu class waiting with my daughter. I just complained how uncomfortable the bench is, how tired I am from the day it was at work and awful week it has been for the world. I read your post and gasped, tearing up, while the world goes on around me. I am on here wanting, wishing to say something profound to relieve you of your immense grief. I cannot do for you what you have done for me countless times: provided comfort. I am so sorry.

  • Tasha

    I am so, so sorry for the pain you and your family are going through. Your grandma sounds like a wonderful lady, and you had some great plans for things to do together. This is utterly heartbreaking.

  • Angela

    Yes. I know how grief feels, especially when it seizes you unexpectedly.

    My 22-year-old son died of a drug overdose almost three years ago. It was an addiction that consumed him. It has been a week since we had spoken when they found his body. I don’t know what I was doing when he died. I wish I could have held him in my arms.

    You will get through this time. Your mother will get through this time. Life will never be the same. Grief will lurk right around the corner of every happy event for a while, but it will get easier.

    Love and prayers.

  • Brittny

    I lost my grandma 3 days after you lost yours. And while it was not nearly as tragic as yours….know that you are not alone in your grief. I will be thinking of you and your family while I am also healing. I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Susie

    Yes I know that freight train, so sorry that you do too.

  • Jen

    I’m so sorry for your loss!

  • Monica Taft

    Janelle, my deepest sympathies for you all. I am so very sorry.

  • Whitney Jordan Salvador

    I am sorry.

  • Lisa D'Alessio

    Oh Janelle. No words. Just know we are here.

  • Laura Hofmann

    Your family must be in absolute shock. I have no words; just sending love your way.

  • GG

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for the inspiration you put out into the world, I hope it comes back to you now when you need it.

  • Kimberly

    I am so sorry for your loss, and the horrible way it happened.

  • Cheney

    So sorry for your loss, Janelle. So heartbreaking 🙁 Stay strong and look for the light.

  • Kerri

    Such utter sadness! I’m sorry for your family, I’ sorry for your loss, I’m sorry for the whole it has left. Sending love!

  • Maxine

    I don’t even know you – but I am sitting here sobbing my heart out…

    Sending you and your beautiful family all the peace & love in the world.

  • Michaela

    There are no words that adequately express how very sorry i feel for your and your mom’/ tragic loss. But do you know what i really hear in your words also? The incredible love between you and your mum (and her mum), love that clearly has been passed down the generations. Your description of offering and receiving comfort in tenderly touching your hurting mama in a way i know i could never touch mine, that is true beauty. You have that love and you’ll have it forever, no matter what. And for that, you are one lucky woman! Peace and light to you and yours.

  • Kirstie Barton-O'Brien

    I’m so sorry for you all, what a terrible thing to go through.
    I hope you and your family all heal soon.

  • Deb

    My heart breaks for you, your family and anyone else who loved your beloved grandma. Your grief is palpable, even on the opposite side of a computer screen. She sounds like a loving, wise, and gracious woman, and her death is tragic. Please take care of yourself, be kind and patient with yourself, and make time for self care.

  • Andrea

    So sorry for your loss.

  • Jessica

    This is such a beautiful, heart wrenching, and accurate description of grief. I am so sorry for your loss but so happy about your last moments with your grandma. Time lessens the pain, it really does. You seem like a wonderful daughter (and granddaughter and mother).

  • Jessica

    How absolutely heartbreaking. I am so sorry.

  • Laura

    Janelle, I am so so sorry for your awful loss. I love your writing, which has got me through some very difficult times in my life, so I appreciate more than every that you took the time to put words to your pain and get it out onto the page. Grief is a fucker and takes its own sweet time. Travel through it at your pace and know that we are all holding you in our hearts x

  • Another Rachel

    FUCK!! That’s so shit.
    I’ve made that noise. different reasons, but it’s the same noise…heartbreak comes nowhere near…soulbreak…there are no words. I don’t know you and have never met you, but feel like I want to hug you and hug you till the pain goes away <3

  • Keli

    There are no words beyond what you have already said.

    I hear you. I see your grandma in all her beauty and radiance within them.

    Such love and holding to you and yours xx

  • Kel

    I have no words that can change the path of that pain. Grief is an insidious motherfucker who slips in when you think you’ve got the leash on tight, just to laugh because you don’t.

    Just know that you’re loved.

  • Geri

    So, so sorry for your loss. I met your grandmother at Bonnie’s memorial. She was a gentle, beautiful and gracious lady. My prayers for you, your family and your mom. Please extend my condolences.


  • Cassey

    I don’t have the right words, but I have beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeg hugs.

  • Michelle

    My condolences to your family. Take care.

  • Nicole

    And holy hell… your aunt… losing her son and her mother in that way… fuck.

  • Brittany Baldwin

    I’m so so sorry to hear this. Your family will be in my thoughts.

  • Lauren Soltvedt

    My heart hurts for you, and your mom, and the rest of your family. Love to you all <3

  • Marian

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Janelle. Love to you and your family.

  • Sarah

    My heart breaks for you and your family. I am so sorry for such a terrible loss, much love sent your way.

  • Michelle O.

    My heart breaks for you and your family. No words can help, but being the human that I am, I will say them anyways. I am so very sorry.

  • Gayle

    I’ve always turned to you for comfort, but never responded
    ..life and stuff. But it’s your turn…love, all the love in the world I would send your way. My deepest sympathies.

  • spenser

    I am so sorry that this has happened to you, your Mum and your family. So sorry.

  • Marjorie

    So very tragic. Like so many of us out here who hang on your every word, I am heartbroken to read this entry. Sending you love, love, more love…

  • Kate

    There are no words other than I am so so sorry. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Sandy

    I am so very sorry. So sorry. Your family does not deserve this. I will have you in my thoughts.

  • Elysium

    Oh how awful. I’m so sorry. Sorry doesn’t begin to touch it. Don’t worry about trying to comprehend the bigger stuff right now, just take care of you and your family and do what you need to do to get through this awful acute grief.

  • Louise Petrie

    I have written 10 different comments… but keep deleting them all, because none of them even come close to expressing the pain I feel for you. I want to swear a lot, but all the words I think of are not powerful enough. I am so sorry Janelle. We are sending all our love from our whole family here to your whole family, all the way over on the other side of the world. Crying for you. Crying with you. Hugs to the whole family. Xx

  • Lindsay

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t hug you in person, so here is an internet hug for you and your mom.

  • Lor

    Oh Janelle, I feel your pain and yet I can’t believe this. Sending you thoughts from Paris. 🙁

  • Ceciel

    Looking at the picture of your grandma and you and your kids it’s mind boggling how she can just be gone. I’m so very sad and sorry for your pain. There are no other words I can say except you have touched me deeply and you’re not alone.

  • Lara

    Sorry doesn’t even begin to describe it. Heartwrenching. All the love, peace and healing to you and yours Janelle.

  • Minty1810

    I am so, so sorry. Heartbreaking.

  • Candice

    So very very sorry. Sending love to you and your entire family.

  • Megan

    I am just so very sorry. I wish there were better words.

  • Sarah

    Yes. My 22 year old cousin was killed in August and, just yes. It will never stop hurting, but now, several months later, some days it doesn’t consume me completely. I guess that’s the best that I can hope for for now? So sorry for your pain, and your family’s pain, and you having to explain it to your kids, because that part is horrible too. I don’t think I ever really understood the word “devastating” before. Ugh.

  • Kathleen

    Janelle: I am so, so sorry. I send you a long hug. Kathleen

  • Heather

    I’m really sorry.

  • Margaret

    I have no words but feel it so important to send my love. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.

  • Nicole

    Janelle, I don’t know you but I follow your blog from across the world in Australia and I am sobbing for you. You have given me such inspiration through your approach to motherhood, marriage, friendship and life and in return I send you deepest respect and loving care. Please, in your grief, don’t let this horrendous event diminish your beautiful light, it has obviously come through the generations to you.

  • Debbie in the UK

    I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you and your family are going through, but I can only send me love x

  • Kristine

    This is completely unfathomable and I am so sorry. You are forever changed and it will take a long time heal. Take it day by day and remember that there are so many people who have heard your words and care for you and your family. Your darling mother. Hugs to her too. Thank you for sharing.

  • Ashley Schwab

    What you wrote was beautiful and breathtaking and pulled a person in. My heart hurts for you and with you through this.

  • Jen

    What a terribly tragic and sucky thing for you and your family to be faced with. I am so, so very sorry. There is a lot of love pouring out here for you and yours, hopefully that brings a sliver of light to you in this darkness.

  • Hue Le

    You have heart to share your pain with strangers. So sorry that you and your family are going through such angst. I haven’t words as eloquent as yours. Just sorry.

  • scar

    There are no words. I am here, and I am sorry. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  • Sally

    Janelle, I am so sorry for your family’s loss. For the last 22 years, I have been a funeral director and embalmer. I have met with and made final arrangements for literally thousands of families. Wives losing their husbands, husbands losing wives, parents burying their child, the loss of parents and grandparents, and even pets. I thought i k ew grief. I studied all the stages of grief, witnessed them all firsthand as family members came and went. Some deaths were easy, the family prepared. Some were horrific, like your dear grandmother. Some were blessings, because trust me, some things are worse than death.

    I commented awhile back to one of your posts, last August my husband hung himself in our backyard. Thankfully my kids were not with me when I found him. I stepped in and played funeral director. I embalmed him, made all the arrangements…my last chance to take care of him. And then the grief…what the fuck?!? Literally. I had never sat on the other side of that table and been the one with the loss. I thought I knew about grief, knew all the comforting words, all the ways to make families with loss find a little peace and regain some of the control when the whole world is spinning out of control! I didn’t know shit. Everything you described is spot on. A searing pain that I didn’t realize was actual physical pain. Then came the pain of watching my kids (then 8 & 4) try to grieve. Gut-wrenching pain with the sobs of a 4 y/o girl beg for her daddy back.

    Long story to get to the point of: it truly is something you cannot fathom until you’re there. You can’t medicate it away (trust me I tried to drown it in beer for 11 mos., when I got sober I realized I hadn’t worked through any of it.) grief is a ruthless whore and it will wait on you if you don’t plow through it. But you WILL get through it. You’re stronger than you know, and you will come out stronger on the other side. You are in my prayers ????


    Dear RenegadeMom, all my love and prayers are lifted up for you. Thank you so much for writing your heart on this. I felt every word and I am so sorry you had to experience this terrible thing. So, so sorry. I’ll keep sending warm thoughts to you and your family. Stay strong, my sister.

  • Paesan

    You have helped me (and so many others) through some truly terrible times. We will be here when you get back. Take all the time you need. We will keep checking in. Wish there was more this community you’ve created could do for you. You are strong. You can do this.

  • Rosalie

    This was so beautifully written. I’ll be completely selfish right now and tell you how much it means to read this after having suffered a loss myself many years ago. The ache never really goes away, but there is a beauty in it. Because we know we won’t have this ache without having had love. Thank you thank you thank you.

  • Nieves

    I am so so sorry for your family’s loss. What a tragedy.

  • Mandy Traut

    I know words are not enough. I can’t imagine what you are going through…. So sorry….*hug*.

  • Peggy

    I am so sorry,dear. Such tragedy in our world,…hold on.

  • Grace Mandarano

    Unbearable. I’m so sorry.

  • Beca

    Oh my God. I’m speechless. My heart aches for you all. Sending love and peace, as much as you can find it.

  • Josey

    Oh my gosh, I am just catching up on my reader and saw this, Janelle. My heart is just broken for your family. Words cannot express how sorry I am that you are all having to experience tragedy like this.

  • Megan

    Thank you for having the strength to share this with us. I love to read your words because they make me laugh AND cry. I’m deeply sorry for your family’s tragic loss.

  • Megan

    Sending love to all of you.

  • Erika

    I just discovered your blog and I am so sorry to read about all of this end of 2017/beginning of 2018 horror you’ve had to go through. I do unfortunately know what that’s like to hear your mother scream and to see your mom fall apart. My dad took his life on November 1st (2.5 months ago) and I feel like I’ll never forget it. I’m so sorry you had to go through losing so much. It fucking sucks.

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