This past week bumped against memories I wasn’t ready to deal with. Thoughts I often keep tucked away for the rainy day that won’t come.
It was the anniversary of the passing of both of my parents–sixteen years apart. When Mom died two years ago, it hit me that I had become an orphan.
Not a term often used at my age. I equate that word with children left alone who need to be adopted; those not so fortunate to find a forever family enter foster care. The loss of parents always impacts.
My dad died eighteen years ago from a massive stroke. He’d endured his first stroke about thirteen years before then, the whole left side of his body was affected. He went through rehab for several months and regained most of his faculties. He tired more easily and lost some of his adventuresome spirit, but he always rallied when his kids were around.
He had more ministrokes as the years went on, each one taking more and more from him till he really wasn’t the Dad we knew and loved. I mourned his loss, not just for me, but for my kids who adored him. They really never had the chance to know the loving and passionate man who would sit with me and promised to worry with me for five minutes so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by problems.
When Mom died two years ago, she’d had a rough couple of months, spiraling down rather quickly, becoming fearful of many things. That would have never defined Mom. But she was no longer the strong, independent woman she’d once been. She’d been tougher than Dad in many ways, but she’d mellowed over the years. My kids never really got to know her, which was a loss I regret.
There’s a part of me that feels very childlike as I remember my life, as I think of what I was like as a kid, how I’ve been impacted by who these two people were. Some of it was really hard; wounds happen in every family. Some of it was incredibly sweet.
So many things are reminders of them. Mom’s favorite song was “Mack the Knife”, and there’ve been times I’ve walked into restaurants and heard that tune. My dad loved coffee and bagels, and when he’d visit, we’d grab coffee together–and he always ordered the cinnamon sugar bagel. I can’t smell cinnamon today without thinking of him.
Losing my folks was losing a little of me. Even at my age.
No one chooses to be an orphan.
It’s why God is such a good Father. A Father to the fatherless, the Lover of my soul. Because we’re all created in His image, He has invested Himself in each one of us. There’s a longing in the hearts of all people that can only be satisfied by knowing Him. A need that can only be filled with His love.
People come and go in our lives. Some leave us through death; others leave for other reasons. Loss, abandonment, is hard, no matter how it’s experienced.
Doesn’t it make sense to seek the love that can’t disappoint?
That’s a true win-win.