waiting for a parent to die

A fear that looms large in our childhoods and throughout our lives.

There comes a point (around age 30?  40?  50?) when we start to feel lucky.  Our parents have beat the averages.  We’ve seen our friends go through this while our parents are still with us.  We’ve talked about mom and dad with people who have no mom and dad.

The fear eventually becomes anticipation, and then expectancy.

We’re lucky if we have time to say the things we need to say.

But what about the time after the things have been said, while the fragile consciousness slowly slips away?

And it nears — this approaching shift, this moment, when we become the orphan?  We enter a stage of exquisite, unmatched drama.  What about this time?

It’s so close, yet so far away.  The way we measure time disappears entirely.  Hours.  Days.  Weeks.  These concepts lose their meaning.

Each moment in our lives become stretched to the snapping point, while we wait for the singular moment that we know, in days to come, we’ll never forget.

If we take the time to make a pot of coffee or take a walk or go to that Christmas party or take a long, long shower — this could have been time we could have put to other use.  This could have been time spent with Mom.  This could have been the last chance to see her alive.  What about that pot of coffee?  Or that…anything…

And is time itself really that precious?  So full of choice and possibility?  Did it take this long to learn something this simple?  This basic?

Certainly this applies to death and dying and loss, whether it’s a parent or another loved one.

But the loss of a parent is the one that has other implications.  It puts down a marker.

And I wait…

2 Replies to “waiting for a parent to die”

    1. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been writing about this experience with a mix of reservation about being public and the need to share. Your blog helps me feel better about the decision to be open.

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