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.