A few weeks back, someone told me that no mater your age when your last parent dies,you are orphaned. Damn skippy, they were right. The sense of abandonment, the “what did I do to make this happen?” thoughts, and the sadness of being left with a simple box of belongings that represented a life. A life that gave you life, and (hopefully), nurtured and cared for you. All of that is in that box.

The US gives use 2 or 3 days off of work to grieve and get over it, then pack all of your feelings in that box and continue your 9-5 life. Two years later when you have that nervous breakdown, everyone will wonder why.

There is something to bs said for ritual, and our ancestors worldwide seemed to grasp that need for recognition of a loss before life continued as usual. (if I wasn’t so caught up in my grief, I would have done the proper thing and provided a list of scholarly references we detailing such rituals here.) I thought I was done grieving – having pre-grieved 3 times prior with the close calls she had. I grieved after her stroke – it stole her psyche – the part of Mom that made her “Mom.”

I had said what I needed to say, and it was all OK. Then I got that phone call at 835a on February 21, and every bad thing I was angry or resentful about just melted away, leaving the memories of laughs, and how we clung to each other in our struggles to stay sane while being held captive by my father.

What I would give for a chance to hold the good memories close, and to make her last years here much better.

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