Handle with Care

Losing one of your parents is kind of like losing your GPS destination and wandering around before you get back on track.

My mom passed away in June.  She was 98 years old.  Most would say “Well, it was time.” or “She lived a good long life.”  That’s probably true. It might feel that way in your head, but it doesn’t really feel that way in your heart.

Mom had declined for months, really for the last 1 1/2 years since her hip fracture. The grief process started way back when she started really declining.  I said “goodbye” to various parts of our relationship, and in effect, to my mom during that time.

But when it’s final, it’s final.  You know you can’t even go see them or talk to them or squeeze their hand.

It’s tempting to tell ourselves to just “Buck up!”.  She was old; she was ready; she wasn’t happy living like that.  All true.  But…

Our parents are our connection to life, our ground zero, our foundation.  When we lose one or both, we need to be gentle with ourselves for a while.  We need to understand that rebuilding that foundation without them takes a while.

Take as much time as you need to grieve.  Let your family and friends know when you are sad, or when you want to share some memories.  Look at photos, cook their favorite meal, walk to your favorite park and sit on the bench, buy the flowers that they loved most. Indulge in the time it takes to let go.  It may take a while or it may not.

Handle your heart with care.  Remember to do the same when your spouse loses his/her parents.  Reach out to your siblings, knowing they are probably going through a similar process.  Don’t rush your grief or your time to process the death of the folks who brought you to life.

When you reach a peaceful place, it will be worth it.

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