Death is a part of life so it follows that the more life you accumulate, the more death you accumulate. It’s rational. Yet, nothing really prepares you for the strange and disorienting departure… and subsequent absence… of a person who defined your life.
Two friends lost parents yesterday. We’re all in our 30’s.. so it’s not SHOCKING, yet still odd. When I came back to work after my Pops passed, a colleague who had also lost his Dad to cancer, stopped over to pay a shiva call. “Welcome to the Dead Dad Club,” he said.
We agreed: it’s weird, it sucks that our parent died young. Yet we are fully formed adults, capable of remembering them (perhaps even an idealized version of them) and keeping them close… So it could be worse.
I think about those who didn’t get to know their parent. The not really knowing… how that could haunt you. Even knowing my Dad and being quite close, the man was a mystery. But due to his prolonged illness, I had the opportunity work out the issues, forgive and come to peace with our relationship before he died. Not everybody gets that chance.
Still, life is not about comparing our lots. It’s about living our own lot, and embracing and enjoying it. Like James Brown said in the song “Hot Pants”…”You’ve got to use just what you have/ to get just what you want.” (I would link to it but am blogging from my iPhone bcse my laptop is once again in the shop. Doh!). Anyways…
The long winded point of this post is that a lot of us have lost a parent or both parents at a relatively young age. It stinks. That said, it is something that can be coped with. It is something we can recover from and move beyond. Good parents even prepare us to do so. And to set aside the value judgement of what constitutes a “good” parent (as a person who was lucky enough to be the daughter of two excellent, devoted parents) it’s the way of the world. Kids grow up into people who beget kids, and it all continues.
Let’s hope we can make some things better in the next rounds of humanity. And rest in peace, parents of my dear pals. Onward valiant soldiers, we march!