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Does dealing with the loss of a parent ever get easier?

My short answer is no, but let me explain.

I was speaking to someone who recently buried their father and they asked me about dealing with the loss of a parent and I said, I can’t say it gets easier, you just learn to cope and made it abundantly clear that this was my experience and to take it one day at a time.

Yesterday after work I had to go to the pharmacy and pick up some medicine. When I pulled into the parking space, I sat for a minute, closed my eyes and sighed deeply. I was exhausted, I had sat in traffic for an hour and a half and didn’t feel like getting out. Matter of fact, I almost went home, but I said to myself, “the sooner you get out, the sooner you can get home”. I hopped out of the car, carrying my work bag with all of my possessions because Bay Area bippers (IYKYK), and began walking towards the door.

Whenever I walk, I always smile and speak to whomever I’m passing. I came up on a little old lady. Her mask under her nose, out of breath and she says, “sweetheart, can you put my walker in my trunk?” Of course I said yes. I asked her if she knew how to collapse it and she said yes. She showed me how, but asked if she could hold onto the car so she wouldn’t fall. I told her to hold on to me. I got her walker into the trunk, closed it and she locked her arm into mine, the very same way my mother used to. A lump immediately formed in my throat, and as I’m typing this my eyes are filling with tears.

I asked her was she ready to walk, and she said yes, but I could immediately see that it was taking her brain a minute to tell her feet to go. I held her arm a little tighter, told her I had her and to take her time. After shuffling her feet a bit, we took about three short steps and she needed a break.

In that moment so many things ran through my mind.

Why was she alone?

Should she be driving?

Why is she here so late?

Then I was reminded of my own mother and her struggle with slowly losing her independence. Her desire to not be a burden AND her desire for control, all that combined with diminishing memory…I got it. I understood.

The lady apologized, the same way my mother would apologize for in her words, “feeling like a burden”. I assured her she was okay, and patted her hand. We then took a few more steps and got to the car door. I got her in, put her seatbelt on and asked if she would be okay getting home. She assured me that the same way she got there, she’d get home. Her sassiness reminded me of my mother. I chuckled a bit and said okay. She then said to me, “you were the answer to my prayer”.

That immediately made me emotional. I closed her door and walked away. I began to weep. Weep like a baby. All I could see, think about and hear was my mother’s voice. I was reminded of all of the times I had to help her. Whether it was paying a bill, taking her to a medical appointment, trips to the mall, out to eat. If I went, she went. If she needed me, i was there. As I stood in front of the very place where the doctor told me my mother was dying, and the place where I had to tell my mother she was dying I had to take a moment to breathe, and get myself together.

Remember when I said it didn’t get easier, you just learn how to cope? I absolutely mean that. Well let me say, that’s my personal experience. Yes, you remember the good times, the memories you’re left with, but you’re also left with the emptiness of them not being physically present.

So often I’m reminded that I’m still healing in this space. That I’m still dealing with the loss of both my parents, but the loss of my mother hits different. I still have her number saved in my favorites. I still have her voicemails (thank you Verizon). I still drive by her house wishing that just one more time i could see her standing in the driveway waving. It hasn’t gotten easier, but I’m coping better and I’m okay with that.

If you’ve lost a parent, then you understand. Some days will be easier than others. Some days the memories will make you smile and other days they’ll make you cry. I mentioned this in another blog, but some days I randomly say out loud, “damn, my mama really died! That’s crazy” I don’t care if you were close or not, there’s something significant about out losing the person that brought you earth side.

To all of my fellow grievers, there’s a community of us out here still healing, still coping. We will be okay! We now have some amazing angels!

Until next time…🦋

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