Thoughts on Losing An Aging Parent Three Years Later

Father's Day 2007
Father’s Day 2007

Help calm my heart, Jesus. Dad died four years ago today. I reckon the uptightness I feel about all the things I want to get done this week, wondering if I have enough time left (to live) and fretting that I am indeed running out of time, keep me distant from the fact it is May 16, 2017 and so I breathe in and out and allow myself to feel and connect with what is true for me today. My brain is roiling – and so I pick up my pen and start to write.

I miss my Dad’s presence in my life
that stage of life that wasn’t shouting
“You are losing them”
when they were timeless, ageless.
I didn’t have to think of losing them
because they would always be
there.

Then comes the inexorable march to
decline and I start to hope it happens
soon because I know it can’t get any better.
And even they want to
“go home.”

Then the immediate relief when it’s over
a curious blend of grief and gladness
with more gladness than
grief.

Because I know the difficult
end-of-life struggle for them, for me
and I want to be careful who I say
it to, because they might think I
didn’t want to take care of them
anymore, and I knew I
couldn’t and now they are safely
home.

I start to wonder about my own
death. I fear for my children
going through the same process
with me if I live a long life
leading to a gradual
decline.

And because I don’t want them to,
I pray for them, knowing
they will travel their own
journey with me,  entrusting Jesus
to be present with them as he was
with me when my parents
lingered.

I start to know and believe
this too is part of the life we live
our souls wrapped here in this flesh.
and gradually I come to find comfort in
Psalm 116:5 (MSG) knowing
“When they arrive at the gates of death,
God welcomes those who
love him.

And after a while, I decide to share your journey even though some might not understand, because others, maybe even my own kids, will experience something like I did and they can know there is nothing wrong with them. It’s part of life/death/dying and rising again.

 

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  26. Dear sweet Carol,
    You have a such beautiful way of expressing your heart on “paper.” What a gift from the Lord! This story so warmed my heart. What a close and loving relationshipship you and your dad had. It brought back loving memories of my dad who has been gone 9 yrs. But he came to faith a couple years before he passed, so I know I’ll see him again!

  27. This post is one that I might like to share with a couple of friends if you’d be okay with that. I so appreciate your willingess to trust your vulnerability to the Lord. May you feel His comfort, strength & pleasure.

  28. Carol, this last line is a perfect summary of WHY you should record your thoughts, “It’s part of life/death/dying and rising again.” Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thanks for visiting and having a group like Glory Writers and the encouragement it has been to me, as hesitant as I have been to start stirring the waters again and post more of the thoughts.

  29. I can imagine your Dad reading this blog post and looking up at you, nice and slow, directly at you. He would have a small, quiet smile and then he would nod his head, because he knew you understood parts of his journey and he understood parts of yours. He left good tracks to follow.

  30. Dear Carol. Beautifully put. I will have to subscribe to your blog:) I remember my Father passing with cancer soon after my wedding (so would have loved him present to meet my later children). Yes, there days that they are just there which we take for granted, long days of childhood where I would love to recall each memory, but have lost so many now down the passages of time. And then those years when he helped my husband and I build our house, would just be there building steps or whatever we needed. Still remember with tears and smiles. Yes, there is often a time when they ask to go. When we sit by their hospital bed and watch the emotions cross their face, as they feel a burden on us and we just feel an immense grief for their obvious pain. Thanks for sharing all this and so relatable. Bless you and God keep knitting your heart back together with the threads of love that is the heritage of a Father’s love.

    1. Donna, my friend.This is such a beautiful response.I am so glad you met and know my Dad. Thank you for your words here.

    2. Lisa, thank you for sharing part of your story of loss with me. Losing your dad at such a young age – each stage of life has it’s own pain of loss, doesn’t it. I am sorry he didn’t get to know your children. 4 of my grandchildren do not know their other grandpa. I talk about him with them and bring him into the conversation when it seems appropriate. I created a photo of the grandfather for one of them, another wanted a mini album of his grandpa’s photos. The two little ones will probably want one too. I love doing that. Blessings on your day and thanks for stopping by.

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