Apologies if the title of this entry sounds rather dramatic…
This year I’ve had to come to terms with losing both my parents. On one hand, it’s been the most traumatic episode of my life so far (lucky for me some will say) and on the other hand I remind myself that it’s not so tragic… everyone will eventually experience the loss of both parents, it’s a natural part of life.
Perhaps the sense of tragedy is linked to the debilitating diseases both Mum and Dad suffered until their untimely deaths. They were unfairly taken from me in their 60s. Dad was only 61 and my Mum, 69. If they had peacefully died in their 80s, would I feel so bereft?
I’m a fully-fledged adult, a grown woman with a family of my own. I am incredibly grateful for the many years I had with my Mum & Dad and that they got to experience the joy of becoming grandparents and be part of my grown-up life. I was prepared for losing them (their diseases offered no cure) and I naively thought there might be some sense of ‘release’ as I played an active and often distressing role in supporting them through their illnesses. But I was not prepared for the debilitating sadness.
However settled and supposedly mature I am now, I still felt like a child when my parents were alive, especially in my Mum’s company. So now I feel like a chapter of my life is over. I am no longer a child. It is time to fully embrace adulthood without the support and unconditional love of a parent. The foundations of my life have disappeared and I am left standing alone. An orphan, I suppose.
There is most definitely a sense of aloneness. Questions no-one can now answer. Parts of me that no-one will ever know. What was I really like as a child and young adult? I regret not being more inquisitive to gain a better understanding of not only myself, but the essence of my Mum & Dad and our family dynamic. I don’t fully trust my own recollections…
Then the pendulum that carries my feelings will sometimes swing the complete opposite way and I chastise myself for wallowing in self-pity. The death of our parents is all part of this process we call life. And there are far more tragic losses that people will unfortunately experience; the loss of a child being the absolute, unbearable, worst. And I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to lose parents as children or young adults.
So looking forward, I have my memories (however patchy) and those of close family and friends to share and take comfort in. I have the support and love of those close to me to help me through the bleaker days. There is a slight sense of freedom; I don’t have to seek parental approval (I’m not entirely sure if they would approve of this blog!!!) There’s just me and my little family to take care of now; they have my undivided attention.
I know there’s lots to learn from this episode in my life, hopefully it will make me stronger. I may seek more professional help to get me get through it, to process the emotions effectively. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and the journey it takes me on… but I’d welcome any advice, guidance or similar experiences you may have had. As always, please share X