From a link on Twitter, I clicked into a post on Boomer Highway blog. Beth wrote a post about her mother entering hospice care. Sharing her thoughts and feelings as she prepares for her mother’s death. In the post, she quotes a statement made by Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley Jr. and Patricia Buckley.
The reference, once again has me reflecting on what life is like since Mom and Dad are now sitting at Jesus feet. LIFE. IS. NOT. THE. SAME. and it never will be again.
When my maternal grandfather died in 1989, I remember my Mother telling me she was an orphan. Politely, I said “I am so sorry you feel that way. Remember you have us and the grandkids.” But inside, I was questioning, “Really? At fifty-one years old, you feel like an orphan!” Fast forward seventeen years and I found myself in the same position. Although I was a few years shy of being 51 (yes, I had to throw the “age thing in here:) )with both folks gone, I felt LIKE. AN. ORPHAN.
My mom died rather suddenly in January of 2005. Then after a long hard fight, Dad succumbed to lung cancer in February 2006. The post at this point might seem like there is a hint of self-pity. Self-pity is defined on Wikipedia as the psychological state of mind of an individual in perceived adverse situations who has not accepted the situation and does not have the confidence nor ability to cope with it. It is characterized by a person’s belief that he or she is the victim of events and is therefore deserving of condolence. The definition pretty well sums up the condition I was in the first year to 18 month of my orphanhood. However, it does not define where I. AM. TODAY.
The statement Beth quotes was in answer to Christopher being asked about the relationship we have with our parents after their death. His answer was, “It never goes away, and they never go away. Your parents are your ultimate protectors, and no matter what difficulties you’re having with them when they’re alive, you can always pick up the phone and hear their voices. They provide a certain level of comfort—just knowing they’re there. They’re like fire extinguishers mounted on the wall behind glass. You know if it really comes to it, you can break the glass. And now they’re gone.
Being in the sixth year of my orphanhood, I couldn’t agree more with Christopher. Even though the folks are no longer here, there are times I act like they are. I talk to them, even though they aren’t here to answer. I pick up the phone dial their phone number anxious to share exciting news. Only to then realize, I won’t hear their voice. Three years ago, my family went through a period where I needed comfort only they could have given and the protection only Dad would have offered. Yet, Life. Has. Gone. On. But the bond with my folks HAS. NOT. CHANGED.
Today, is a day to celebrate where I am at emotionally. I have journeyed through the valley of sorrow and grief and came out stronger on the other side. 2 Corinthians 1:4 (MSG) is a verse I am intentionally trying to live out, “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
There may be some of you who are beginning your years of orphanhood. I encourage you to seek God’s face, He truly is a Father to the Fatherless. (Psalms 68:5) And He alone knows exactly where you are at emotionally and what you need for strength and healing.
I must admit though if Mom and Dad were indeed fire extinguishers mounted on the wall, the glass would have been broke a LONG. TIME. AGO!