One of the hardest things we will face as humans is the aging and eventual loss of our parents. I have been blessed with two wonderful parents and consider them on the short list of friends. The same ghost that haunts many of us also haunts me, that one day I will be an orphan. Sometimes in the still of night I can let grief have its way with me as I contemplate that day. I can allow myself to go in that deep hole of despair feeling as if i will never come out. I watch now as my father confined to a wheel chair learns a new way to navigate through his life. 4 months out from a major back surgery we still hold onto hope for more improvement. However, there will come that day when I will have to face the inevitable. Morning comes and my mind tells me to be grateful for the time I have had and still continue to have. I want to count my blessings and not wallow in my grief. I see my daddy’s frustration as he can no longer do what he has always been so accustomed to doing. His landscape has changed. I now help my daddy as my daddy has always helped me. I am no longer the little girl crying and pleading holding his leg trying to keep him home with me. I am the one who realizes we have no control over life and with life comes loss of all kinds.
At 5, loss came early for me as I watched my grandmother take her last breath on a sunny day. That day i learned about death and knew that grandma was not coming back at least in the form I knew her. Having lost my only brother at the age of 17 as a result of an automobile accident I also learned deathcomes for us all and age is no guarantee. All loss is not death and all death is not loss. There is another land over the bridge of loss and grief If we allow our grief to wash over us we can heal, we can grow.
I sometimes find myself feeling irritable and sad with my father but realize it is me wanting him back like I knew him. I want him to walk, to not be impatient with his condition. I want him to live forever. I want him to protect me. Watching my dad continue to navigate his challenges gives me a sense of pride in his ability and determination to learn a new way. Loss can help us see through a different pair of eyes and give us strength to face challenges we thought were insurmountable.