Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I can't help but feel a little sad.

I can't help but feel a little sad.  

Over the weekend, I received a call from Vicki telling me that her dad was in the hospital. Knowing that Vicki's dad may not be long for this world has to be hard on her, as she lost her mother while she was a child. Although I will eventually go through a similar experience when my Dad is near the end of his life, it will be very different for me, as I had a very different life from hers.

What is it like to lose a parent?

Anyone who has lost a parent will likely have felt severe grief. Growing up, we feel that our parents will always be there for us, and that we will always be secure while they are around. This is not really true. But we learn this as we grow into adults. And yet, this subconscious illusion helps most of us feel secure until well into middle age.

GFJ's Mother is 92 years old, and is moving slowly on the path of that will lead to her demise. They have had to continually adjust her blood pressure medications, as well as protect her from potential falls in the nursing home. For a lady of her age, she's in decent health, and I hope that she can make it to 100.

Years ago, GFJ's dad died of diseases related to his smoking. I've never asked her how she felt at the time, but I must think that she was devastated by the loss. And this makes her concerns for her mother even more important than if her dad were alive. Once we have lost both parents (which is the usual sequence in life), we are alone. In short, we become orphans with no one to protect us but ourselves, our extended family (if any), and our friends (if any). It must be quite a disturbing experience.

When Lili lost her Mother, she was devastated. Her father died many years before. Her Mother suffered from dementia for several years before her passing. Although she had years of time to process the future loss of her Mother, nothing could prepare her for that loss. She received word that her Mother has passed away while on a cruise, and she came directly from the ship to the burial, not even having a chance to pick up clothes normally appropriate for the occasion. (All she had with her were clothes appropriate for a cruise to a tropical climate, as well as the clothes she wore to the ship.) When the time came for her to toss dirt on the casket, she couldn't do this because she was too upset. Roughly 60 years after her birth, Lili was an orphan, as well as her brother and sister.

Lili's feeling of loss was only magnified when her older sister died. This left her brother as the one other family member of her generation she could confide her fears to. Knowing that she and her brother are not that close only makes things worse. And yet, I think some good came out of it, as it caused Lili to realize that life is short and that she must live her life with that always in mind.

Like Lili, I reacted to the loss of my Mother in a constructive way. No longer was there a subconscious voice in my head that I had to fight against. I realized that I had to try to lose weight to find someone who filled my needs better than Patty did at the time. (This is nothing bad about Patty. It is simply that I wanted something more for myself.) And yet, I failed, as I met Ex-GF-M, and gained back all the weight I lost (and more) during my relationship with her.

Although Patty and I broke up, we did stay in contact with each other. And I made sure to be available to her while her Mom was ill, as well as be there for her and her husband when her Mom died.  (Steve had lost his dad shortly before Patty's loss, and he wasn't in a frame of mind to help as much as he 'normally' would if he weren't already in a state of grief.)  I was glad to be able to attend her Mom's wake, as it was good to be able to try and comfort her family with my being there for them.

Each person's grief is unique. And I wish that there was something that I could say or do that would make Vicki's future experiences easier for her to handle. But like Lili, Patty, GFJ and myself, losing a parent is an experience unique to each individual, and it is something that can't be prepared for emotionally.


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