As I pass the one year anniversary of my dad’s passing I have come to realize that there is nothing that can prepare you for the loss of a parent. As a young child you take their constant as a given, something that is just “the norm”. As a teenager you sometimes wish you could just be a grown-up and just be on your own. As a young adult, if you’re lucky, your parents let you spread your wings and learn to make mistakes and are there for you to come back HOME if you need to. I was one of those lucky ones.
As an adult I finally realized the strength, wisdom and love my parents had. My mom’s strength consisted of forgoing her own dreams of becoming a teacher to raise her family in a loving and nurturing home and then helping my dad run a business until they retired. My dad’s strength was the ability to work 18 hour days, 6 days a week and come home, exhausted and never show how tired he was.
My mother was ill for 6 years before her passing and I thank God I was able to help care for her. After her surgery in 2009 I had to find a safe place for my parents to live that could provide my dad with meals and companionship and help mom with housework. After shopping around all of KC I chose Westbrook Care Center in Kearney where dad’s meals were provided, there were activities almost every day for him to attend and the staff seemed compassionate with my mom’s special needs. Mom lived 2 years after moving to Westbrook and passed in 2011. That left my daddy alone for the first time in 66 years. Since I lived close to him I spent 3-4 days a week with him, making sure he wasn’t too bored. We would go for drives, go shopping and sometimes just watch TV together. After daddy took a fall in 2015 he moved to the VA home in Cameron where he passed in 2016.
The thought of my mom’s death and how she suffered has made me realize her true strength was her Grace and dignity. My daddy’s death has made me realize his strength was his love for his family.
I know that grief must run its course and it comes in stages, but I was not prepared for the overwhelming sadness and heartache that their passing has caused. I still sometimes hope when the phone rings it’s my mom or dad just calling to see what I’m up to.