Friday, August 5, 2011

Missing our parents

In recent years, when I've written about the deaths of my parents and my grief over losing them, I have heard from many readers who shared some of the same feelings.

Last month, I met one of them. Judi Wax (pictured above) sent me an e-mail after Mother's Day when I wrote about missing my mom's long wave goodbye as I drove away at the end of a visit back home in Indiana. Judi and I found we had a lot in common. She also grew up in the Midwest --she lived in Illinois before moving to Charlotte -- and we both were present at the deaths of our parents.

I agree with her that those experiences were among the most powerful in my life. Here's how Judi describes it: "It's awful to have a parent die. But to be able to have the time to really say everything you want to say, and for them to have the time to say everything they want to say. It's a gift."

Judi's story has been the subject of three articles in the Chicago Tribune -- two written by former columnist Bob Greene and a third written by Judi herself under her maiden name Silverman.

Here's a link to the first Bob Greene article in 1985. He doesn't name Judi, but the story is based on her letters and interviews.

Here's a link to the followup Greene wrote 17 years later.

And here's a link to the article Judi wrote about her father.

Here's the link to my Mother's Day story from May 2011.


Anonymous said...

In most families - there is a bond between most parents. There is a strong bond between a mom and daugther but many times the bonds between mother and son/father and daughter are stronger. I was a moma's boy and had my mom pass away while holding her hand and rubbing her hair - yet I still always wonder if she really knew I was there hugging and loving her until that last breath. Yet - with alzheimers I watched her pass away for almost 10 years day by day. There were times that I wished she had cancer or something else where I could tlak with her and tell her I love her and have a long last conversation where I knew she knew and heard me tell her I loved her and had in those last few moments. I still cry everyday during times I know she would help me, Mother's Day, birthday, seeing other grandparents with their grandkids, getting ready for my son's Senior HS year and how she would have loved to been around and I would love to be with her, etc. I also miss dad and beccause he decided to leave us early and he died alone by letting himself go because he wanted to die before mom - alzheirmers had taken him into a DEEP depression and it took a MAJOR toll on is body and heart. Alzheirmer's is something I would not wish on my worst enemy and people are not aware of how if effects the patient and how many people is has a dramatic depressing effect on in the family and among the patients friends. Yet - I still cry because I miss her, I enjoy the moments we had when growing up, but I also had sad, depressing days remembering how her last years of life were not how someone should die because her dignity was taken away with the disease.

Anonymous said...

I lost my father Dec. 23 2004 and my mother 68 days later. My father's death was unexpected but my mother was already in the hospital when my father died in the ER a few floors below her room. Just because children are expected to lose their parents one day doesn't diminish the grief that results when it does happen. I was in a full-blown depression for several years after their deaths. It infuriates me when people say that losing a child is the worst grief anyone could have. ANY grief is terrible. No one knows what I went through, it was sheer hell. My grief was just as valid and horrible as someone who loses a child. Why are there no support groups for people who lose parents--only children? I needed support and help but found no parental death support groups.

Anonymous said...

When I lost my parents, I lost a part of me. A large part of my identity. I miss both my mother and father and it especially saddens me that my father never knew his grandchildren.

Lynne Stevenson said...

In some ways when both of my parents died, I was finally allowed to have a life of my own for the first time ever. I had no choice but to take care of both of my parents virtually by myself because my baby sister refused to help take care of them at all. They were more of a burden on me than anything else and I placed their needs ahead of my own for a very long time. Finally in my 40s I was allowed to have the childhood I never had as a young adult.

When my parents separated and later divorced, my Dad came to live with me for the next 16 years. During the last year of his life, he finally got to the point with late stage Alzheimer's that I had to place him in a local nursing home.

Seven years before my Dad died, my Mom was dying with lung cancer and I had to totally place my life on hold to take care of her for the last three months of her life. I took a leave of absence from my job and dropped out of college in order to stay with her around the clock. During this time, I lived with my Mother and had to daily go out to my house and check on my Dad.

My sister did not even bother to come and see my Mother at all during the last three weeks of her life. When my Mother died it took a local minister, the Hospice nurses and their supervisor, and the funeral home director calling her for almost an entire day before she bothered to show up at the funeral home so that we could make all of the final funeral arrangements.

When my Mother died I was introduced to over 100 people who used to be her customers at the local bank where she worked as the Head Teller for over 27 years who had no idea I even existed until they read her obituary in the local paper. My sister was the only child she ever talked about having and they assumed that she was an only child. Even the man who worked on her cars for years did not know who I was until my aunt introduced me to him.

My relationship with my parents was a lot different than most other people's parental relationships. I was the adult in the situation and they were the children on many levels.

31 day fat loss cure review said...

it is really hard losing your parents nothing ever really prepares you for that time

Sunny James said...

I lost my dad 27 years ago & still miss him very much !!!!