I didn’t expect to feel this way, but I do. I lost my father to cancer almost 3 years ago, and I lost my mother to sepsis almost 3 months ago. That wasn’t supposed to happen to either one of them, but it did. After my father passed away, I was heartbroken and grief stricken. Two days before his funeral my mother went into the hospital for hip replacement surgery, the beginning of a different kind of nightmare. Five months and two more surgeries later, and after an allergic reaction to antibiotics almost killed her, she was able to go home. After she was feeling better, I had her to talk to nearly every day. She helped me through my grief over my father. Now she’s gone too. She developed sepsis two days after her last surgery February 27th, to remove the spacer in her hip. She went into septic shock and passed away within a few hours. It was so fast, so unexpected.
Intellectually, we expect our parents to pass away before we do. But as I now know, the experience is far different than the theoretical knowledge. I still have family that I love and care for, and love me in return, but each of those relationships is different than the ones I had with my parents. My dad was my first hero and male role model. My mom was the strongest woman I knew. Like any child, I had my ups and downs with them, growing pains, etc., but I never doubted their love for me, and they never doubted mine for them.
I find myself feeling somewhat lost, weirdly enough. Why? I’ve been an adult for decades now and raised a family of my own. So what’s this feeling all about? Do others feel this way? NOW who do I call for cooking tips and recipes? Who do I talk to about fishing, religion and politics? I just had a birthday, the day before Mother’s day this year. No matter how old, my mom faithfully called me early morning of my birthday to sing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to me. Not this year. I know that the pain will ease with time. I am blessed to have many good memories to look back on with love and fondness. It wasn’t all peaches and cream by any stretch of the imagination. But that doesn’t seem important any more.
It’s a little frightening to become the matriarch of the family. I don’t feel like I’m quite up to filling those shoes yet. But I suppose that I’ll get there. I have my faith, the rest of my family, and friends. But I now realize the type of relationship we have with our own parents is a unique one, whether it was good, bad or indifferent. I’m not somebody’s “baby” or “little girl” anymore. I realize that I still treated my parents differently than any other person in my life. I still looked up to them. Age was irrelevant.
Even in the midst of my grief, I am blessed. I had a good relationship with mom and dad. Sometimes roles reversed and I was the caretaker, but they were still my parents. They were – are – will always be – special to me. And I love them. As my mom used to tell me “I love you Tammy, with all of my heart, always and forever.” Me too, mom. Me too.
Dedicated to my mom and dad, now in Heaven.