Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On Pondering Death of Loved Ones:

My parents are getting older. Their health is declining and they are slowing down. My siblings don’t want to hear it. ‘Mom and Dad will die some day.’

I have been present at the death of other relatives. My grandmother, mother in law, and husband’s aunt. We were called to their bedside and sat watching and waiting until their end by natural causes. I do not shy away when death nears like the others do. I am the one that comes and holds their hand in the end so they are not alone. I have never participated in a death or helped them along. I have only watched it unfold.

There have been deaths that I did not witness but felt just as strongly. My other grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, and most notably my son.

But I have yet to experience the death of a parent. It is true that I felt that my grandmother helped to raise me and was a stronger parental figure then my own parents were when I was a child. But that was a long time ago.

How will I handle the death of my parents? I still have issues with them. That in itself changes the dynamic of the relationship. I have not lived with them for most of my life. In fact, I only lived with them for sixteen years of my life and since have been at least two or more hours drive from them. We talk on the phone. See each other yearly. But what will the impact be on my life at the time of their deaths?

I was their first born, low these many years ago. And I have a distinctly different relationship with them then my siblings do. I was the practice child. They practiced on me and implemented it on the others. I was the bold and brazen child. I have learned to forgive and over look their mistakes made at my expense. But I would have liked more.

I know that some things don’t have answers. And that the answers they have won’t be good enough. And I also want forgiveness for my own infractions to them made in ignorant youth. But we don’t talk about all that when we do talk. How will I deal with all my issues with them when they are gone and I have no hope of having that conversation any longer? We don’t talk of those things, we let it lie.

My parents are in their seventies and closer to the close of their lives then ever before. They have had cancer and other illness’, accidents are more frequent. And today again I wonder. How will I handle their deaths when the time comes?

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