On the loss of a parent

I have written this post many times in my mind, mostly during the solitude of an early morning training ride, but actually finishing it has been the hard part.

Death can come at any time.  I was reminded of this recently when I was informed an uncle passed away.  It was out of the blue to me; I did not know he was even sick because I don’t keep in touch with that part of the family.  What made the news that much worse was how close it came to the seventh anniversary of my mom passing away.  It brought back so much emotion.  I had all those feelings: sadness, anger, relief and guilt.  I could put myself into my two yougest cousin’s shoes.  Losing your first parent is hard.

It is the most conclusive fact that your parents are not invicible.  When you are a young kid, you can’t believe this day ever will happen.  As you get older there are the days you’d wish it would happen but not really.  When you are even older, you don’t want to think about it and push it off till you are middle aged, possibly with your own kids.  Mom did not make it that far. She died at the relatively young age of 60.

I had the experience of watching two people in my family suffer from long term illnesses which eventually killed them.  It was very hard watching them deteriorate right in front of my eyes.  The first instance was due to cancer and lasted about 3 years or so.  The second case was mom and watching her suffer from MS with a case so severe enough that it killed her.  She lived with her diagnosis for almost 20 years, all the time getting progressively worse.  Some days were better than others but there was a general decline.  The death came as somewhat of a relief but that then brought on feelings of guilt.  Was it bad to be relieved that someone had passed away?  It is a thought I still struggle with.

There are the other days when I’m doing something that brings back memories of doing the same thing with mom.  Those are the good thoughts of doing things together and enjoying life.  I do find the longer it has been since she passed away, the more pleasant memories there are than the painful ones.