I’m not entirely sure what I want to say here. Losing a parent sucks. Losing two parents sucks even more. And losing two parents within six months of each other? Well, I can’t recommend it. So…..
Mom passed on July 31. She died from an infection that they didn’t get to in time. She had been in a coma for a few weeks at the time the day before the doctor said he saw no reason she should not be able to make a full recovery. And then she died. She left us a few weeks before that. I know it. She had things to do and she moved on. That was her way. We spoke briefly in a dream (some of you will find that ridiculous and I am sad for you) and I knew she was leaving. Doesn’t help. She’s not here and that sucks.
It was really, really hard for Dad.He put on a brave face but he wasn’t himself ever again. Every thing we did together, he was always a little preoccupied. He left places early, didn’t finish football games or movies or books. He just felt lost. My parents marital relationship was always odd; a bit strained, maybe, especially when I was little. But lately, they had grown together like two trees that occupied the same place in the woods for so long that they entwined and you could no longer tell where one ended and the other began. Now Dad has had health problems for a long time. We expected, Mom and I, to lose him suddenly to a stroke or his liver failure or a blood sugar incident with his diabetes. We expected him to leave us first. So did he, apparently.
He wandered lost for a few months, took care of business with his church, retired, made one last trip to preach in the Houston church that he loved so much. He came home, called me and went to bed. He never woke up, no matter how hard we tried. The death certificate says complications from diabetes, but Dad died of a broken heart.
Here’s the thing: we are people of faith, so there was a lot of waxing eloquent around us about “going home” and a “better place” and it was all very helpful and appreciated in time. Also, I believe it, I have had conversations in the strange place that the Spirit has always brought me to with both of my parents and I know they are not only okay but busy and content. (Again, not all of the people reading this blog will accept that, it’s okay with me if you think I’m crazy.) I know the scriptures on the afterlife really well and have taken comfort from them, but my parents are gone, and it happened at a time when I would need more advice and encouragement than I ever had. I miss them terribly and for a long time could receive no comfort. Doing better now. Here’s a few things I learned pedaling uphill on the grief cycle:
- Even God will make you mad-I was deep in grief when the Inner Voice busted out with Hamlet “You’re father lost a father and his father before him.” I shouted back, “Don’t you quote Shakespeare at me! It doesn’t help!” lol. But I got over my fit of self-pity.
- Depression is pretty rotten-Nothing like staring into space for hours at a time. It’s the new rage….nowhere.
- You never really know who your friends are. The guy standing behind me (Warren) with his hands on my shoulders as mom passed, and the guy across from me (Chad) trying to help me resuscitate Dad were not who I would have expected necessarily. But standing close to someone as their parent dies is a big deal. Also, some of your friends that you expect to hear from, you don’t. I don’t think it’s lack of concern, but fear. At first I was angry, but it’s hard to know how to help, you know?
- Ain’t no easy fix-Just hang on to what you got and cherish the memories and wait. I don’t expect to feel much better for a long time, but I can work again.
- Be kind to yourself-Andrew Peterson is right on in his new album, you should check it out if that’s your thing.
- I don’t know how people without faith get by-I don’t.
- Love your family-Intensely and intently. Time….tick tick tick
I’m sure there’s more but I’m ready to move on. Thanks for reading. Come check out my churches new website and drive up our search numbers!!! www.wellstories.org