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.
You didn’t have to think of losing them
because they would always be
there.

Then comes the inexorable march to
decline and you start to hope it happens
soon because you 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 you know the difficult
end-of-life struggle for them, for you
and you want to be careful who you say
it to, because they might think you just
didn’t want to take care of them
anymore, and you knew you
couldn’t and now they are safely
home.

After a while, you start to wonder about your own
death. And you fear for your children
going through the same process
with you if you live a long life
leading to a gradual
decline.

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

You start to know and believe
this too is part of the life we live
our souls wrapped here in this flesh.
and gradually you 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, you decide to share your journey even though some might not understand, because others, maybe even your own kids, will experience something like you did and they can know there is nothing wrong with them. It’s part of life/death/dying and rising again.