My good friend's mother died on Sunday morning. She was moved to the inpatient hospice center earlier in the week, although, she did not have cancer. The doctor really didn't know how long she had...possibly a few months, or maybe a few weeks. Only God knew that in reality, she only had a few days. After her husband died several years ago, her health began to decline and she became very dependent on others to assist with daily living. Her grief at the loss of her husband was so great that her body began to respond to that grief negatively. Grief is funny thing.
My father passed away 28 years ago. At times, it feels like it was yesterday. I can still smell his cologne, I can still hear the way he used to clear his throat. Sometimes, when I'm in a large crowd, I think I can hear him talking and I turn around and start searching the room....as if I would find him there. While the pain of loss is dulled with time, it never goes away. The old adage that says..."time heals all wounds" is pretty much a lie. If the wound is deep, there is usually a scar. The scar remains as a reminder of a past hurt. Sometimes, the scar can hurt as well.
When my mom died in 2006, I grieved again. I know that the death of our parents is the natural order of things. We all are moving toward our eventual reunion with God. But with both parents gone, I felt alone.
I'm an adult..with a wonderful husband, great kids and a terrific support system. But, losing both parents is hard. It's as though I've been left on this earth alone. The two people that cooperated with God in my creation are gone. It's was interesting for me to realize that so much of my identity was linked with my mom and dad.
Today, I read a great article on Catholic Exchange about grieving. As I attend the funeral of my friend's mom, I'll think of my own parents. And, I guess I'll be thinking of the loss my children will face someday, when Dan and I are gone. It's ok to grieve. This life is only a moment in time. We can rejoice knowing that (in the words of a wonderful song by Steven Curtis Chapman), we are not home yet.