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On Losing a Parent

Losing a parent feels like an attack on your own mortality. It is utterly destabilizing. 

It can unite your family or destroy it. I've seen families fight over cutlery. Thankfully, mine was mostly united when I went back home to help out with cleaning up the house. And cleaning with my one brother was helpful for me in pushing through a large chunk of my own clutter when I returned home.

You might not realize some of the parts of you that came from them until they are gone. I long thought that my dad was the musical one in the family, but discovered that my mom was learning guitar at one point in her life. I also learned my grandmother and great uncle used to write each other letters with song lyrics in them.

You might find odd things and wonder if they got them for you to have eventually. There were a number of skater style clothes in my mom's abundance of clothing that were in black. They weren't her style at all. Her style was floral print tops and bottoms often in pink palettes. They weren't her style; they were mine.

Conflicting feelings will emerge because there is a void left in the wake of this loss and that void leaves room for new possibilities as you search for catharsis. These won't replace your loved one, but may create space to allow you to find yourself in ways that weren't possible before. They may also create space for new loves. But you may feel guilty for the happy moments you find in the days, weeks, and months after.

Things that used to annoy you about them may bring a smile. During the clean-up, we boxed up a lot of things. One of the items she collected a vast amount of was Harlequin romance books. We kept finding more just when we thought we got them all, which turned from frustration to a small reminder of mom by the end of the cleaning.

Mom would've been 79 today. I'm choosing to mark her birthday by spending much of it reading. It seems like a good way to remember her.

For updates on my goals, please see my Trello board here:


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