A friend of mine told me that when you lose one parent, you are still okay, because you still have the other one. You hurt, you grieve, but you have someone to share it with and you still have that foundation of where you began. When the other parent dies then your world is shaken. When the other parent is gone then you lose a large bit of your soul, your heart and your identity.
I did not experience this at first even though it was only two and a half months between when both of my parents passed away. No, I went through the gut punches of grief when it knocks you to the floor now and then out of the blue, I have felt lost at times, but that has gradually gotten better.
The actual experience like my friend described hit me in the month of May. May, the month I was born, and Mother’s day. It is also the month that see’s the end of another school year.
It was a humbling thing to realize I would never again celebrate my birthday with my mom. My birthdays have never been grand or a big deal anyway, but mom always made it a point to make a cake, get a mushy card and a gift of some kind. She made sure we all did something on THE DAY, not when it was convenient later.
I found myself distraught on my birthday and the days that followed. Unable to stop the tears and such a great sense of loss that just would not go away and a heart that felt deeply wounded all over again. Then in a moment of great sadness I opened a drawer while unpacking and ran across a card. A birthday card from my mother, it was from last year I think, but it still made me smile.
This month has proven to be one of the hardest months I have ever lived through. The passing of time has been so present, so prominent starting with my birthday and ending the month with my oldest daughters’ graduation. It is a bittersweet time for all of us, as she is having a difficult time with the grief too and fighting back tears that her grandparents won’t be there to see her graduate.
Yet, it is a time of renewal too because just as it is a notable end to some cycles in this life, the month also marks the beginning of a new cycle, the start of a new path for both of my daughters and myself.
My oldest daughter will be walking the stage to say goodbye to high school and onto a path of her own choosing including college and the adult choices that she will face along the way.
My youngest daughter is graduating 8th grade and will start her journey through high school and preparing for her future and the dreams she holds dear.
I spent the better part of last week in a muddle, second guessing things I had no real business second guessing because – guess what – my friend was right, you do indeed seem to lose a part of your identity with the loss of both parents. So it became a time of meditation, prayer, wise counsel, and choosing to remain true to the path I have chosen.
So the hardest month became the darkest tunnel, and now with the beginning of June in sight, the light is shining again. We go forward, we press on, and we will walk through until we reach the other side and find ourselves, our dreams and each other again.
Cherry Coley ©