When Loved Ones Die (Part I)
Death of a Parent
No matter how old we are, the first morning we wake up after the death of a parent is one of life’s most disconcerting experiences. Most of us have existed in world with our parents in it, and we’ve never known life without them.
When I received the news of my mother’s best friend’s death on Friday, September 21st, I felt as is if one of my parents were missing.
Phyllis had forged a year-and-a-half long battle with uterine cancer. Her three children and a tag-along like me had all prepared ourselves for goodbye—forcibly blocking our own selfishness of yearning for her to stay in lieu of wanting an end to her physical suffering.
Death in Life
A few weeks before Phyllis’ death, I sat on our screened porch and watched the sun set in the west, leaving behind the peach glow of day’s end.
I addressed my last card to Phyllis–my mother’s best friend since 5th grade–whom I’d been writing to since I was old enough to hold pen. I scribbled her street name one more time, sure that this would be the last.
The sun’s color faded, the night’s quiet loomed. The day ended.
“Stupid life metaphor!” I grumbled to the darkness–resentful of nature’s mean trick to send us daily reminders that we and the people we love are one step closer to the end.
Later that week, my mother phoned to tell me that Phyllis was going to in-home hospice, where she’d stay for the remaining 9 days of her life.
The sunset had been right. My hand had marked the last time I’d ever write her address.
(Editor’s Note: Part I of III on When Loved Ones Die. To be continued …)