I’m young – 37. And I don’t have living parents anymore. I’m an orphan and I, of course, hate it. My friends have parents, why did mine have to die so young? (Commencing pity party…..).
In 2013, my dad passed away just four days after I told him that I was pregnant with my third child. He was in the hospital in Tennessee and I thought by telling him, it would brighten his day – and it did. I thought he was going to get better, so when I got the call four days later that he passed, it was traumatic to say the least. He was 59.
A few months later, my mom’s breast cancer advanced to stage four. The cancer that was originally located only in her breast broke off and traveled to her bones, spine, liver and brain. After a long, hard road with breast cancer, she passed away at age 53 on September 3, 2013. And my third child was born just 13 days later on September 16.
One of the weird things is that I didn’t know the gender of my baby. So in my head, I could name it after either of my dead parents – middle name Raymond if it would have been a boy or middle name Kimberly if it was a girl. Turns out, my mom “won” and Elise Kimberly was named.
It’s an awful story, right? I hate that this is my story, but I try to not let that get me down. I realize there are other moms out there that have lost a parent, or like me, both of them. We are young. We are trying to do our best for our families. We are aching for our parents.
I often wonder to myself, does not having living parents make me less of a mom? My children will never see me interact with my parents. It’s weird to think about. I saw how my grandparents shaped my parents – my children will never have that knowledge.
Do my children realize they don’t have grandparents? It’s a hard pill to swallow that my children were 4, 2 and not even born when I lost my parents. To know that they won’t know how much Grandpa Terry or Grandma Kim would have loved them and eaten them up is really, really hard to think about. My husband’s parents are still alive (of course they are, he’s only 40), but they aren’t MY parents. You know? It’s in no way, shape or form the same.
When it’s all said and done, I still have a lot to learn and “no one” to learn from. Every day I push through the inevitable emotions and try to remember my parents and talk about them to my kids. My kids know more about death than the average bears, and that’s okay. It has to be okay.
Have you experienced a loss? How did you involve, or not involve, your children in your grief?