Probably the rawest, deepest darkest experiences I’ve known was the loss of my mother. Losing my dad was similar but the loss of my mother was different, more complex. In addition to the loss of the person, there was the phenomenon that they were both gone, irretrievably, and here I was, such as I am.
The family was now different. The dynamics that had all run us all through one another but inexorably through my mother now were seeking their own paths. Some successfully; some not so much.
It is a dreadfully over-exercised cliché, “There is no How-To Book for this”, but no better one fits, so let fly – There is no How-To Book for this.
Meanwhile, life goes on, and its demands never cease, however, the tilt is different, and grief may affect anything from one’s emotional response to mundane events to energy, to sense of humor, or any of the other personal strengths that normally get us through the moments and days.
I looked for, did not experience, the words that I sought that would make it all better. People would kindly make attempts at comforting words, and perhaps they did a little good here and there. Their efforts and presence helped tenfold to any words spoken to assuage my loss. However, what I waited for never did come – those magic words that would get me to good.
Loss of your parent – it’s a rogue ocean wave that hits you sideways, renders you as so much flotsam and tosses you at the whim of the power and churn of the moment. You emerge battered and stunned, trying to find your footing, stumbling, while everyone up on the beach enjoys their books and lives. Your first nice deep breath helps but still, “What the hell was that?” is a persistent thought. A few moments later and few safer feet up the beach it’s better but, “What the hell was that?”
Everyone’s path through it will be different. Everyone’s relationship with their parent is different, and everyone reacts to challenges with what they have at their disposal – which of course, is different for everyone. Perhaps that is why no one wrote that How-To Book.