Losing a parent is like joining a club you’ve never wanted to join. It is an experience unlike any other (not that I’ve had all “other” experiences, of course). And it so totally changes you forever. One thing this process has taught me is that there is a whole lot more to the spiritual realm than we understand. Why is it that there is an “emptiness” or a “nothing-ness” where that person once existed? My brother, for example, lives in S. Carolina. He saw dad seldom. He didn’t talk to him very often. Yet he senses the “nothing-ness” of dad that wasn’t there before. I sense it too, of course, but I’m local. It is very strange.

Anyway, that’s not what this blog is about! (Sure seems like it, doesn’t it?)

This blog is about “the club” that no one wants to join. The club for people who have lost a parent. Everyone who is in the club understands what you’re going through. Everyone not in the club doesn’t begin to understand. I don’t say this to denigrate those who aren’t in the club. It’s just that I’ve been fascinated at how people in the club treat me differently from people outside the club.

It’s been 2.5 months since my dad died. People who are in the club still have a strong compassion in their voice when they ask me how I’m doing. It’s just never “Hi! How are you?” in that “it’s the common way to greet people” tone of voice. The voice, the look, the hug all convey “I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I know how hard it is and if I can do anything to help, please call me.” Even if I say in an upbeat voice “I’m doing well.” They look at me a second time to confirm that my words ring true with my behavior and appearance. (Yes, folks, that’s love in action.)

People who aren’t in the club yet have pretty much forgotten that I had a life-altering experience a couple of months ago. They’re surprised that I might still be dealing with any part of it. That’s OK. I’m surprised I’m still dealing with it, too. Within about 2 weeks people who aren’t in the club went back to the “Hi! How are you?” greeting. These people don’t in any way lack love, they’re just not in the club yet so they don’t understand what’s happened.

I watched Phil grieve when his mom died. I did what I could. But I wasn’t in the club yet. And as my dad was dying, sometimes I’d say something and Phil would look at me with very sad eyes that kindly conveyed “you don’t understand what’s about to happen.” He was in the club. I wasn’t. I guess I was in training for the club, though.

I’m not writing this to evoke sympathy. I really am doing pretty well most of the time these days. I freak out a little easier than the “normal” Sandy does, but most of the time I’m good. It has just fascinated me that I feel like I’ve joined the club that no one wants to be a part of.

Comment from dansdesk
100% agree! Sometimes, I desperately want people to feel some sympathy for how I am feeling but then I get mad at myself for feeling sorry for myself. You said it well. Those who haven’t experienced it don’t understand it as well as those who haven’t. That certainly applies to many other situations in life — single parenting, loss of a child, loss of a job, serious illness, etc. Thanks for being so articulate!
Friday June 15, 2007 – 12:27pm (EDT)

Comments are closed.

© copyright 2009-2013, Data Designs Publishing and Sandra J. Hovatter