1. “My phone is never more than 1 foot away from me at bedtime, because the last time I did that I missed the call that my mother died.”
I insanely can relate to this feeling of worry; for me, anytime my phone rings and I don’t recognize the number, my body goes into fight or flight mode unsure of what the news is on the other end. It’s a big reason why I’m not much of a phone person.
2. “The very thought of my mother’s death, at times, made me physically ill for about six months after she died. I literally vomited.”
Although I was not physically ill, I had nightmares for months. For years, I would ‘see’ her. The dreadful images of her passing away was so traumatizing that I had to take some time out mentally to focus on healing. You must control your thoughts in order to stop from being afraid, and that has helped me. I also was unable to go my parent’s basement (that’s where she passed) for years – in fact, to this day, my heart beats so fast when I do have to go, but it has transferred to any basement at all. I do it anyway because I’m an ‘adult’ and it’s illogical for me to still be afraid.
3. “Their deaths have at times ripped the remainder of our family apart. I did my best to honor their wishes and sometimes that made me the bad guy. The burden of that was immense, but I understood why I was chosen. It made me stronger as a person, so for that I am grateful.”
Oh how much of this hits the nail on the head for me. After my father passed, my sister and I honored him in the best way we could. We saw his struggles dealing with some people, and didn’t want to go down that same path. Forgiveness has happened, but at some point, so has distance. It’s the only way to ensure our mental health stays sane and we can focus on ourselves instead of gossip. All too often, it’s curiosity over compassion, and we are not okay with that.
4. “I’m pissed that my son didn’t get to experience them as grandparents. I watched it five times before his birth and I feel robbed. He would have adored them and they him.”
Although my husband and I don’t have kids yet, I have played this scene in my head over and over again. We are completely and utterly blessed to have my in-laws whom I consider my own parents, and we can’t wait to experience parenthood with them. My parents will only be known to our children through stories and pictures. Our kids will never be able to meet them, and they never had the chance to be grandparents in this lifetime.
5. “I would not trade my time with them for anything, but sometimes I think it would have been easier had you died when I was very young. The memories would be less.”
Being that my mother passed when I was 17, I can honestly say it’s a different kind of pain. I wish I knew who she really was – not just as my mom, but as a woman. I wish I was able to have talks and ask for advice wife to wife, woman to woman and learn through her experiences. When I was younger, she’d teach me how to cook- oh how I hated being stuck in the kitchen while my friends were having fun. Now, I’m itching to get her chicken curry recipe and how she so effortlessly has a full meal on the table every day.
6. “Don’t [complain] about your parents in front of me. You will get an earful about gratitude and appreciation. As a “Dead Parents Club” member, I would take your place in a heartbeat, so shut your mouth. Get some perspective on how truly fleeting life is.”
Complaints are valid – we all have different perspectives, and there is nothing wrong with venting. But deep down, I wish I had the chance once again to complain about my parents. I’d do anything for just one more day with them, to annoy me, lecture me, and at the end of it all, to love me.
7. “It’s like being a widow — a “club” you never wanted to join. Where do I return this unwanted membership, please?”
Yes, and yes. I’d return this membership in a heartbeat.
8. “Other club members are really the only people who can truly understand what it does to a person. They just get it. There is no other way to explain it.”
It’s not people’s fault for not understanding – a loss can only fully be felt when you experience it. It’s quite difficult to put yourself in someone’s shoes to something as life changing as this. However, there are many people in the world who have lost a or both of their parents – research and find a group that can help you if you are struggling with coping with a death. With so many resources out there today, it’s your best shot at living happily and healing. Open up to people, even if they can’t fully understand. They will sympathize and may help you heal.
9. “Life does go on, but there will be times even years later, you will still break down like it happened yesterday.”
Completely, 100% accurate. It has been 15 years since my mother passed and 5 since my dad, and so often it hits me like a brick. There are moments where I’m literally shocked to know they are no longer here. For years, I thought perhaps it was denial, but it wasn’t. It’s a part of the healing process. Grief never fully goes away. I compare it to having scars on your face. Some days, you may cover them up and conceal them completely shielding them from view, making you think you no longer have them; other days, they are out there, raw and fully exposed, reminding you of the heart break. Every so often, I get an urge to call my mom or dad, completely forgetting that it’s just not possible.
10. “When you see your friends or even strangers with their mom or dad, you will sometimes be jealous. Envious of the lunch date they have. Downright pissed that your mom can’t plan your baby shower. Big life events are never ever the same again.”
For me, it’s not so much jealousy or envy, but more of an ‘aww’ feeling. To see children with their parents, going out for lunch or spending time together is a true blessing, and I’m so happy seeing memories being created in front of my eyes. I take that and look at it as an opportunity to develop happy times with those in my life. It’s unfair to yourself if you take away the chance at smiles and laughter simply because your parents aren’t here. Every day is a new day to form stronger bonds with the people that you do have in your life – not more or less important than your parents. You have to allow yourself to be open and accept love from those you love so dearly. Yes, you can no longer have that with your parents but one day you’ll meet again. And if you’re spiritual and/or religious, you may find that you feel their presence often so they aren’t too far away.