No matter how old you are when it happens, when your parents are both gone you are an orphan. You have lost the two people whom you have known your entire life. The relationship between parent and child is very intimate. After all they have dealt with you through every thing -- poop, vomit, blood, tears, illnesses, accidents, dreams, failures, Christmases, birthdays -- far more than anyone else in your life. When they are gone there is a huge hole that they used to fill.
A week ago I passed the anniversary of my mother's passing. It was just two years ago and I still mourn her loss. This year it was punctuated by the loss of Lauren Bacall, Robin Williams, and the father of a friend. All the old feelings came back and I was laid low with a deep depression.
You don't "get over" the passing of a parent. The grief lessens with time and you learn to deal with the loss. You find things to help fill the hole. But it never totally goes away. I think that is why people have created such elaborate death rituals over the centuries. It is not just to send off the one lost from the tribe, it is more of an acknowledgement of the enormous change that is happening in ourselves with adjusting to their loss.
I was talking with my friend and next door neighbor who helped me through my loss and I voiced that I was still realizing that in the last few years I was holding myself together and doing for Mom. Now I need to rediscover all of that energy that has had no place to go, turn it around, and use that energy for myself and the future I want to create for myself.
I made one last promise to my mother -- that I would finish my book and get it published. That is not just her dream, it is mine. In spare moments here and there I have been rewriting and editing. Now I need to take all of that time and energy I used in caring for her and put it in to finishing my book. When I tell people about it they want to buy it and read it so it may very well be the avenue to the future I want to build for me.
Mission identified and accepted.
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