Death is never a gentleman. He is always terse and strident. That is why losing a loved one is never easy, especially your parents. I remember when my mom passed. It was horrible. My father had passed 8 years earlier and that was difficult enough. When my mom passed just under a decade later, I went numb. Several years have put space between me and their deaths. Things are definitely easier now. Time is one of the best baby step inventions ever created.
I still wish other people could understand, though. I’m sure you do too. For those of us who have lost our parents, conversations can be difficult. Friends and existing family members may wonder why we disconnect at times. They may be uncomfortable with our periodic emotional breakdowns. If you have lost someone close, you know exactly what I am talking about. To that end, take a look at the items below, inspired by The Odyssey Online. They will help navigate conversation when needed. The following is a list of things we wish everyone knew about those of us who have lost our parents.
Memorabilia Takes On New Meaning
All those old pictures and videos are priceless to us. Any personal items they had that might be tucked away in storage are guarded like treasure. You might wonder why we get nervous when you hold dad’s old handkerchief or mom’s favorite cookbook. It’s because those things are all we have left. They are more than “stuff.” They are physical representations of shared experiences we had with them.
Holidays Are Painful
This is one of those times when emotions are swirling. Friends and family gather from far and near. There is much laughter as we reminisce about the good times. Yet we might break down at some point and need a hug because we realize there will never be anymore of those moments shared with our parents.
We Are Jealous Of You
We remember what it was like to have both of our parents here. Hearing you speak poorly of one or praise another will stir resentment in us. It may not even take that. Sometimes, all it takes is a mere mention of your mother or father and our eyes get red and teary.
Your “Sorry” Lacks Meaning For Us
That might seem harsh, but it’s true. We hear the word “sorry” all the time. We know you mean well, but you are not as familiar with our story. It seems like just another word people say because society mandates this as proper behavior. We hear you, but the sentiment is hollow. Follow up with a hug and more conversation.
We Think About Them A Lot
Whenever we reach a milestone, we wonder how they would feel. If we graduate, are they proud? If we get married, do they approve? Would they take this business deal or auto loan, etc.? We wonder a million times every day what they think about what we are doing. We don’t want to let them down.
We Love Old Stories
We never get tired of hearing old stories about our parents from aunts, uncles, other relatives, and friends still living. We will always take the time to listen to them and laugh. These are glimpses into their world that we might not otherwise have known about. It’s like stealing a memory and making it our own. So keep this in mind the next time we seem distant. Remember this when we are breaking down emotionally at a family gathering. We still want to talk. We still want to laugh. You are very much a part of our life and we love you dearly. We just miss our parents — a lot.