I will just come out and say it. When a parent dies, it sucks really bad. And I’m sorry to say that the feelings of “this sucks” doesn’t go away for a long time. If ever. It just seems to be one of those losses. Maybe it’s because it’s supposed to happen. It’s the “circle of life” and all that other crap we’ve said and we’ve heard people say. Well, it may be something out a Broadway musical, but it still sucks.
Everyone has a unique relationship with their mom and dad. And it goes back so far and so deep. Sometimes parents die at a ripe old age (the older I get, the more that number gets pushed out) and some die way too soon. I guess on both sides it can be said that some don’t feel like they got enough. Enough love, enough parenting, enough support and surely not enough of hearing “I love you.” When my dad (who turned out to not be my biological dad) died 3 1/2 years ago, I drove away from his tiny cleaned up, efficiency apartment listening to Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together Again’ song. Over and over and over again. The lyrics about breaking up the first time reminded me of when my dad left when I was six (to be fair, he was shown the door). “I swear I’m going to change..”? All fodder for an alcoholic family.
But the “we are never ever getting back together” refrain really says it all. When a parent dies, that’s it. You’re done. No do-overs. No more shared pizzas, no more taco dinners with iceberg lettuce and ketchup (yep) and no more turned off lights because the bill didn’t get paid. No more questions over the phone like “Who loves you babe?” which was inevitably answered with “You do dad.” It’s done. And boy, regardless of how enlightened you are and regardless of how many times you’ve seen the lion sing “The Circle of Life”, it sucks. But you will be okay. You will get through it. But, you’ve got to keep talking about it. And when you fear that your loved one’s ears might fall off, find other ears. There is no time limit on grief. And when we try to rush through the acute stages, it will come back and bite you. I can promise you that.