I recently lost my eighty-nine-year-old mother. She had suffered from health problems for several years. Still, even though I was relieved that she was no longer struggling, her quality of life was awful, and her death was expected–it was more difficult than I had imagined it would be.
When my husband, Sid, died suddenly eleven years ago at the age of fifty-six, I was devastated. For months, I was engulfed by total shock and unbelievable sorrow.
Somehow, I thought Mother’s death would be easier. I told myself that she had lived a good, happy and long life, and she was ready to go. She had even said that herself.
But when she took her last breath, surrounded by her loving family, I found myself feeling that awful, deep hurt all over again.
The unexpected loss of my husband, whom I thought had so many more years ahead of him, and the expected loss of my mother were different. Yet, the pain was just as horrible.
Death is a part of life and losing our parents is inevitable. Usually, they don’t outlive us. Mother had obviously been there for me since the day I was born, and it suddenly hit me. Dad had passed away a decade earlier, so now I had no parents left. I was nobody’s child.
The death of our last parent makes us face the reality that our time is coming sooner than we want to admit. That, coupled with the fact that lifelong love, support and encouragement is gone, makes that loss incredibly difficult.
Each loss we suffer is different and some are harder than others. I would imagine the death of a child would be the most difficult.
But one loss usually does not prepare us for another one. At least that is how I felt. My husband’s death was awful. But it didn’t make my mother’s death any easier.
Because our relationships were different, I found myself grieving for different things. For Sid, it was the loss of my soul mate and our stolen future. Mother’s death made me feel abandoned and longing for that love that only a parent can give.
I guess, for me, I realized that it doesn’t matter what the relationship was, what the circumstances of the death were, whether it was expected or unexpected, or even how old a loved one was when they passed. Loss hurts.
Grief is different with each loss, but the pain is always just as devastating.
Updated: June 8, 2017