My "village" that I have to support my parenting endeavor has been there to offer kind words, child wrangling, and food offerings. Without this village, I would be lost. Much more than this, there are some who have traveled this road and offered me wisdom that helps me deal with the grief.
My husband's parents both passed away before his 33rd birthday, so having been through that with him, we were no strangers to this life event. I was a pillar of strength for him then, and he is my pillar of strength now. My husband saw that when my father was in the hospital, I just wanted to be there with him. He told me to go, to be with my dad. I dropped all that I was doing, packed a bag, and made the 6+ hour drive to where my parents live. He took care of everything else. His support is the best expression of his love that he could ever offer me.
What I was not prepared for was how sad I would feel, and how I cannot hide it from my children. They need to see that I am grieving and offer support when they can. After all, I am a source of strength for my mother, my brothers, and their families. It was very difficult for me to lean on my kids, to allow them to see me as what I perceived to be weak. What I did not realize is that I am actually showing them that I am human, with emotions and feelings.
I knew my dad was living on borrowed time. Both of his parents died in their mid-70s and his brother in his late 60s. My dad was also a life-long drinker and smoker, which had to affect him at some point. With my dad's 77th birthday approaching, I knew our time with him was limited. I was just hoping that we would have a few more months, enough for him to take our scheduled family trip in June to Maine to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.
As the days pass and our life gets back to routine, the waves of sadness become less frequent. I am learning to honor the feelings, give them their due time to be felt, and then let them go. Time does heal, and life will go on. We now have another guardian angel in heaven, and the wonderful memories are always in my heart and mind.
by Resident Writer Gwendolyn D'Amico