I now have no living parents.

I’m not sure how I should feel about that.

For anyone who does not know by now, my mom passed away early Easter morning. She had been in hospice care for nearly a week before her death. Unfortunately, I was not able to be by her side when she passed away, but the nurses at the hospice house told me she died peacefully, without a struggle.

Approximately four-and-a-half years ago, my mom tripped walking up my front porch steps and broke her leg. That incident seemed to kick off a string of difficult challenges she would face over the next few years, including physical therapy, blood clots, ovarian cancer, and, finally, brain tumors. Somehow – sometimes, I think, to even her own amazement – she came through every circumstance, until the tumors proved to be too much for her.

My mom could be a paradox at times. Her sense of optimism could be akin to the peaks and valleys of a roller coaster ride. One day, she would talk about how good she felt and how she was going to be a survivor. The next, she would be wondering aloud whether this would be the trial that would eventually cause her to meet her end. She was a diabetic who loved to drink Sun Drop. Perhaps her greatest goal was to be able to drive herself places again, even though her leg never really fully recovered from the break. Whatever she might have said or done, however, her outcomes were those of a survivor, and I think she should be remembered as such.

My dad passed away nearly eight years ago. Just as the brain tumors reduced my mom to a shell of her former self during her final days, a series of strokes had altered my dad’s mental state significantly before his death. To see both of my parents affected in this way was especially disheartening to me. They were still here, but at the same time they weren’t. Both of them also passed away without me being present. I’m not sure, though, if they would have known if I was there or not.

I do not write any of this to garner sympathy. People lose their parents every day, and some lose them under much more unfortunate circumstances than I lost mine. It is strange, however, to see pictures of people around my age with both of their parents now. My mom was 69 years old. That used to seem so old to me; now I realize how young that really is.

In the end, though, I cannot be too sad about the time I had on this earth with my mom and dad. True, neither of them were perfect human beings, but one thing I never doubted was that they both loved me. We may have had some disagreements here and there, but I know they did the best they could. We were never a family that spoke much about traditions, but I feel as if a mantle has been passed on to me now to be the best parent I can be to my children. I can’t think of any better way to honor them than by doing that.

So, rest in peace, Mom and Dad. We’ll all miss you, but you taught us how to carry on. And carry on, we will.

One comment on “Motherless Child

  • As you know i was blessed to know both your parents. They were very proud of you and Andy. They loved you both and those grandbabies. I was told so many times that God gave her a beautiful daughter in law that she loved as her own. And yes they both know you are strong enough to carry on an care for. Those grandbabies. Not just provide for them and Love them. But to teach them God’s way. Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply