…and if they are too far away to kiss, call them, send them a note and tell them that you love them.
Yesterday, a very old and dear friend buried her father. He was in his 80’s and a strong leader of his family. He was Sicilian born and lived in the US. A very proud American like many Italian people who came to this country looking to build a better life. He did.
I went to the services yesterday to pay my respects and to support my friend. As I sat in the church awaiting the family’s arrival, I looked around and I recognized people there to support her: family, friends from the gym, her clients and many of her high school classmates. All of us chatting about mundane things acknowledging the discomfort of facing the loss of a parent and frankly our own mortality. We talked about kids, and sports and places we had to be. When we went outside, the hearse and family had arrived and I saw her face. The anguish of it broke my heart. I hugged her tight and watched her follow the procession with her sons carrying her father’s casket.
I heard people tell her the usual lines that we think will give comfort. “He’s in a better place.” or “He isn’t suffering any more.” or “Is there anything you need?” We are helpless as human beings when it comes to comforting that type of loss.
As I drove home, I realized that life goes on. I drove past soccer fields filled with little kids playing their very first season of soccer. I saw couples running geared up with Nike and Under Armour chatting away. I saw an old man mowing his lawn and the mailman chatting with a neighbor. I got home and hit the ground running…carpools, rowing events and chores. It made me remember the pain when my grandmother died and I sat on my front porch watching the neighborhood kids play and being so mad at them for not being sad with me!
I know one day I will be in her shoes and my mother will no longer be here. The thought of that gives me such anxiety. My children are so close to her and losing my grandmother, I know the pain they will feel and the inability I will have to comfort them.
S0 hug your parents and value them for the life experiences and knowledge they have. I know they drove us crazy and they still do sometimes. We will be there and I hope when I am there, my children and grandchildren will miss me too. Maybe they will read these silly old blog posts and get a better understanding of why I am what I am, who I am and where a came from….my parents and grandparents.
Karen, so sorry to hear of your friend’s loss. Your words could not have come at a better time for me. My mom just moved in with me after being hit by a car. Fortunately, no life-threatening injuries and the scrapes and bruises have healed, but she has a lot of fear now of walking on the street and needs constant attention. Living with a parent who hasn’t had a constant physical presence has been challenging to say the least, but your article hits home and I need to be patient and as accommodating as possible. Your life views and advice are so wise, encouraging, and often, gives me a wake up call. Thanks for sharing.