She was there. And she was there. And so was she.
All three ladies were there for their parents day and night. Night and day.
These are ladies I admire.
I know there are more than these three – but these are the ones who are on my mind especially today and during this Christmas season.
We all know how painful it is to lose a parent, at least, those who have loved and lost. My hope would be for that the grieving be over – but it never is. I used to think that grief was a negative feeling associated with loss and tears. I still do believe that, but now, I associate my grief with honour. We would not grieve the loss of those we did not honour. Grief is, then, a sign of respect. It is a sign of goodness and courage, of healing and of faith.
I believe in a higher power. I believe that He knows more than I do. In His wisdom, my life unfolds as it should. It is not necessarily the path I would have chosen (indeed not!). Still, each stone which has been laid out for me leads me to a direction where I must evolve as a person, a human being.
I have seen such strength in my three ladies. I have watched as they tend to the everyday needs of their parents. I have marveled at their patience and tenacity and obvious deep love of family – and respect. The rest of the world remained oblivious to the sacrifices these women made to ensure that their parents were well cared for- as their parents had cared for them. In some cases, these women cared even more —
Family. It is the first priority on my list. I would anything for family or to honour those who feel the same. There is nothing more important. This love of family is like a magnet which draws like-minded people together. I am surrounded by them, by those, whose love of family runs profoundly deep.
What happens when it is all over? When our loved ones can finally lay to rest? I was not there when my Mother finally passed – I had been there for her whenever she had needed me. And even in the end, she needed me to be with Dad. My brother was with her. I was with Dad. I held my hand as my father passed. It was then when I lost faith. He took me with him when he died. I was absent. For a moment in time – I felt absolutely nothing – hollow. I was empty, yet moving through the motions I was supposed to move through. The funeral arrangements, the flowers, the service, the inurnment, the thank-yous… the estate. Numb. Maybe it was burn-out? I had taken care of my parents for years, in addition to working full time and raising three children and maintaining a marriage. The toll: my health. I ignored me. I ignored my health. For a while. Their ending was my new beginning. And I came back to life – with their spirits in tow. They awakened in me.
I pray that my three ladies will not be numb – that they will hold their heads high – that they will be strong enough to take time to take care of themselves. Each of them. They must care for themselves as they have cared for their families. Because, they are my family too and I want them here for me! I need to be surrounded by that same love, same courage, same compassion that they gave so freely to others. And I, in turn, offer the same.
It will be a very long next year as each moves through the series of “firsts” without their loved ones. First New Year’s without Dad, first Valentine’d without Mom, first spring flower… first Remembrance Day and birthday. I know it’s tough. I know it is possible. I know this too – is a season. And the seasons change. Thank God they do. Rejoice in the fall for the colours are glorious. It is a sign of the seasons changing, a time to rest, a time to recover. Just around the corner – is spring. New life abounds. The “green haze” appears, a “punch” of growth for encouragement, and there is plenty of “heavenly” ice cream for all! They too – will re-awaken.
I am so in awe of my three ladies. I know they will survive and move their lives along. For me, their grief is just one more reminder of why I love them. Their grief, a measure of the depth to which they have loved, a testament to the strength of their character, I cannot take away. I can, however, help them support its weight through friendship and love.
As the seasons change… we move on, we grow, we age. I am not a mere spectator in the theatre of life – I am an admirer and a huge fan. “The moving finger writes – and as it writes, moves on”. Another chapter has closed. Our pens are poised to record the very next one, that is, as soon as we awake to our new beginning.