We lose part of our identity when our parents die, no longer daughters or sons, but not quite orphans.
A year and a half ago my mom got sick with cancer so my schedule became intertwined with hers. I thought to myself, if she dies how do I want to look back on this time in my life? What would I regret or treasure? In answer to those questions, I chose spending as much time as possible with her. She got better, and then worse, a few times over. There were lots of times when she seemed okay. We would spend an hour or so at the beach almost daily, we went to eat, she had pedicures, we visited with a few people when she had energy. Life wasn’t terrible we laughed, but it was uncertain and sad. We pinched our pennies and I am eternally grateful for her friends who would occasionally send money to make sure she was comfortable.
After a while optimism ruled and I felt the chances of her beating cancer and living many more years was possible. This was my mom of course. She who is strong, stubborn, intelligent, loving, my caretaker, my friend. How could she possibly die so young. But then her body finally gave up. She died this past February. With a father I was not close to already deceased, my days of being a daughter have ended. That is a very odd position to lose.
So now I wade through grief, the five letter word! Grief is akin to being pulled out into the stormy ocean. Tides ebb and flow, pulling you out and pushing you in, but there is no sudden push to the shore. You have only the power of your body to guide you to shore where eventually you can dry out in the warms sun.
I’ve lost friends and our beloved family dog to the hands of death. The finality and unknown path of death is rough to deal with for us mortals. All grief is difficult and sad. Losing my mom, someone I saw almost every day and whom I was very close with has been overwhelming. She was my rock. The way my siblings and their children have spread out across the states, she was always traveling and keeping us close. I can’t write anymore now, but here is a poem I wrote recently. If you know someone going through grief perhaps they can find comfort in reading this. I’ll let you be the judge of that.
They ask me to speak, but it’s so hard to think. I need some time, some paper, some ink.
Has it really been a month since I saw you last, funny how times moves so fast. In grief, what seems like yesterday becomes the distance past.
Weren’t we just on the beach taking walks together or sitting close against the wind in our cozy sweaters.
My life with you seems awfully short, now all that’s left are memories to sort.
Photos, t-shirts, jewelry, and books. Telling your story with wanting looks.
I had imagined this only in my riper age, because losing you then would mean less time spent away.
I miss you so much it hurts everyday, but I know that eventually the pain will fade.
Your memory will survive; in hugs, kisses, and stories you will thrive.
Never forgotten, you have so many friends, such a big family, so many places and faces.
We’re not religious or believing in heaven, but I will wait and see if there is another story which includes you AND me.
Don’t worry I won’t sit here in sorrow, what did Dr. Seuss say? “Your mountain is waiting so get on your way”.
You taught me to love, to not be afraid and most of all to enjoy today. That lesson took me a while, but I’m now on my way.