Monday, July 8, 2013

Orphan and Elder

Our neighbor’s mom recently passed away.  This was the last to die of the couple’s four parents.  While I still have a step-mother-in-law, who is a wonderful MIL, grandma and friend, I remember the feeling when the last of our four parents had passed away and, specifically, when the second of my parents died.  I remember the heavy realization that now we are the elder generation.  We will be the next generation to die.

I had felt this somewhat after my mom’s death when I realized family gatherings were now my responsibility.  I’d been an adult for years, but it was still disheartening to realize I now had to be the true adult in those situations; I could no longer attend as a child.  It was now my job to coordinate, plan, and steer the events through to a pleasant ending for everyone.

At the same time I realized I was the elder, I also strongly felt the loss of my parents.  No longer would I be someone’s child.  No longer would there always be someone for me to turn to.  No longer would someone wake up on my birthday, think first of me, and realize how special that day is.  In reality I was now an orphan.

As I spoke with my neighbor’s wife and voiced these thoughts, she nodded her head in understanding.  I don’t think this is an understanding we anticipate.  I think this is an understanding that, sadly, comes to us with this enormous loss.

An orphan and an elder – I’d rather not be either.


Janine said...

My parents are both alive and I already feel a little bit of this. Having children was bittersweet in that way, realizing that I was suddenly not the youngest generation and all that comes with that.

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

When my mom died, I felt like an orphan for a long time. Being a motherless daughter was hard. My dad is still around and in good health and I am grateful.

I hadn't thought of it until you said something, but you are right, he is the only one who wakes up on my birthday and remembers me as a new baby welcomed into the family.