Several people I know have lost their only remaining parent recently and currently are going through the grieving process of that. This type of grieving is most definitely different when both parents are now gone, as it often triggers deep feelings of abandonment and loneliness.
When I lost my mother, who was my only remaining parent at the time, while I was grateful that she was finally out of her pain and suffering from her chronic alcoholism and mental health issues, I was also detrimentally sad for no longer having a parent to connect with about anything in life. Even though both my parents had their faults and struggled with the sickness that came from their addiction and untreated mental health issues, they still loved me and did their best to show it. While that love may have been tainted at times due to the sickness they carried, I noticed I started to feel very alone in life once they were both gone. Although one could argue that I had felt that way for years by that point due to their sickness, there were still moments in the last few years of their lives that left a positive impact upon my heart, which is why I began to miss them both greatly when they were both gone.
The type of grieving that comes when both parents are now gone feels far different than when one parent remains alive that you may continue to connect with. When both parents have left this plane of existence, it triggers the little boy or little girl within us to long for the care of their mommy or daddy, especially when you are going through a lot of your own pain and suffering in life.
I’ve lost track of the number of days over the years, especially the past five, where my pain and suffering created a longing in me to hear my mother’s or father’s voice again. After my mother passed, I kept calling my home number that remained active for a period, just to hear her voice. The same was true with my father’s answering machine after he passed. Ironically, not too long ago, I actually dialed my old childhood home number just to see what would happen. It was a very rough day where I thought in some crazy science fiction movie type-of-way that one of my parents would have picked up and said, “Hi Andy”. Sadly, the only thing that happened was hearing the number was disconnected. Even so, I can still hear my parents saying “Hi Andy” and it brings a tear to my eye thinking about it, something that was exceptionally strong during the initial grieving process once they were both gone.
I will probably always miss my parents on some level and while the grieving of their losses definitely got easier over time after my mother’s passing and while the abandonment feeling eventually lessened as well, the loneliness remained. Loneliness that came from knowing there wasn’t a parent to go to anymore to hold me when I needed safety and reassurance that can only come from a parent. The love of a husband, a wife, a partner, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a best friend, or even the love from children if you have them, will never be able to replace the emptiness that comes when both parents are now gone. It just doesn’t compare to the protection parents often give their children.
This is why I miss you Mom and Dad as much as I do, even decades later beyond both of your passings. Even though I feel like you both could still be alive and well if you had just worked through your addiction and mental health issues, I continue to feel blessed for at least remembering the love you were able to offer me when you were alive, as it was plentiful at times, I see that now. The grieving I eventually came to experience in life after you were both gone was long and arduous, but what has remained behind beyond the emptiness of it, is a heart full of love for two parents who did their best to be there for me, when push came to shove…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson