This summer, after two years existing under assisted living, my mother passed away peacefully in her sleep.
My two younger brothers and I stood near the bed watching her life energy ebb, wane and finally, vanish. She spoke her last words in the evening telling us how proud she was of our work in the world. Her eyes glimmered one more time before her lids closed down for the last stage. She breathed her last breath.
As her oldest son, I cried. My brothers cried. Each of us felt our own pain in our own ways. Each brother felt helpless in the face of death. No matter what our station in life, no matter what our wealth—each of us faces the loss of our parents at some point in our lives.
This thing called “death” plays no favorites. It can grab you at any moment in your life. It can snuff out your best friend, your brother and/or your boss. Or a neighbor down the street! It hits at times least expected. Sometimes it offers a slow-motion passage for all those waiting to die in assisted living homes. At other times, your loved one dies from a heart attack while shoveling snow from the walk or water skiing when a brain aneurysm hits or an automobile accident that crushes a person instantly out of living.
For my brothers and me, our father died when we hit our teens.
He died of a heart attack while umpiring a baseball game. In the morning, he said, “You boys do your best at school today. I’ll see you after baseball practice.”
That evening, our father’s friend told us of his death while umpiring the game. For a kid, death at that moment causes incredible pain in every cell of one’s body.
These years later, watching my mother go down slowly broke my heart. I wrote about her dementia in a previous post. I felt so helpless at her mental energies waning. When she didn’t know her oldest son, well, that pretty much caused me tremendous emotional grief.
But now that she passed, I feel a total loss of my anchor. My mom raised me for 18 years. She supported dad and she fed all of us kids. She washed the clothes and kept the house neat. She worked a full time job at 40 hours a week. We helped her as we grew into our teens with lawns, painting, dishes, vacuuming, car washing, etc. She kept an incredible attitude that gave us confidence in facing each new day without our dad.
Now that she’s passed, that “anchor” vanished.
Both my parents left the planet. I know many share the comfort that their parents reside in “heaven”. That those parents look down on them with loving hearts!
Nonetheless, she’s still gone. She’s not of this world ever again. She won’t speak to me or listen to my problems or concerns. I no longer enjoy two parents to be proud of me as their son. Same with my siblings! I can’t quite get my arms around this transition in my life from a son—to the next generation.
From now on, I am the anchor for my two boys. I am the listening ear. I am their supporter. I am proud of them.
Throughout all of this loss of my parents, I am thankful for their work in the world bringing me up to be a confident, disciplined, caring, responsible and respectable human being. I made them proud. I am proud of them.
Hopefully, you enjoyed similar parents in your youth. Thank them often before they exit the planet. If they weren’t so good to you, forgive them. They did the best they could with the emotional tools they possessed or didn’t possess.
Today, I celebrate my mother and father. I celebrate them every day of my life.
Read more posts by Frosty Wooldridge here. Frosty is a blogger for JenningsWire Online Magazine.
JenningsWire.com is created by National Publicist, Annie Jennings of the NYC based PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR. Annie Jennings PR specializes in marketing books for getting authors booked on radio talk show interviews, TV shows in major online and in high circulation magazines and newspapers. Annie also works with speaker and experts to build up powerful platforms of credibility and influence.