Loosing anyone in your life no matter how close you were is a terrible thing but your perspective on loss changes when the first real loss you ever experienced is of a parent. I lost my mother 12 years ago….12 years. 12 gut-wrenching roller coasters of years.
I was 11 at the time, youngest of four sisters and to date there is only one person in my life I have confided in about how it has torn me up inside. Going through something like this once changes you and how you view the world. Unfortunately for me, I went through it twice, six years later when my father passed away.
Although, I would never wish this on my worst enemy but growing up an orphan has taught me valuable lessons that I would want to share with you. So here goes.
1. You don’t really get over it. You can let time heal you and you can feel less pain overtime and you can even accept it someday. But you don’t get over something like that ever. It leaves a mark on you that probably nobody will understand. You don’t want anyone to understand it but it doesn’t make it any better for you.
2. It’s okay to admit to not being okay. It’s okay to be mad and angry. Even at your parents sometimes. For the longest time, I was mad at my parents for not preparing me for a life without them. Truth is, they probably did not think that their daughter would have to grow up without them. So yes, it’s okay. It’s unfair and you feel wronged and betrayed. Maybe even a little cheated. That’s okay. It could have happened to anyone but it happened to you. So be mad. Scream. Cry. But know that it’s okay for you to feel like this.
3. Nothing will make you feel better. Adults will tell you all sorts of things like they’re in a better place. That they understand what you’re going through, stories about your parents you never knew (not all of them good). One thing that I wanted to do when I was a child was quite literally slap the living life out of people who said that my parents were in a better place. No, they are not. If they were they would be here with me. Some of these people meant well. They just don’t know what to say. So just nod and move along. It won’t make it better or worse.
4. You learn who really cares. The biggest lesson I learnt was that you really find out who’s real. Remember how you used to hear that cliché phrase, a friend in need is a friend indeed. That isn’t just for friends. Losing my parents really opened my eyes to who stuck around in times of need, who took advantage and who was just there merely for the show. In the years that followed my parents’ deaths, I lost touch with quite a few relatives. I’ll never understand why but that’s how it works I guess.
5. Your parents were human too. They made mistakes and they hurt people. People will tell you all kinds of stories. Some good and some bad, but don’t let it tarnish your memory of your parents. They were your heroes and that’s how you should remember them.
6. Big events will NEVER be the same again. In 12 years since I have lost my mother, I have done a new thing almost every holiday. Because traditions are now painful and no matter how old you get they will always be. Important events are a reminder that your parents are not there. My mother never got to see me graduate high school or college. They weren’t there when my sisters’ were married. My parents will never get to see the person their daughter grew up to be. People will keep telling you that they’d be proud of who you became. But you’ll never be sure if they really are proud of you, because you’ll never get to hear them say it.
7. Last words are important. You can have a ton of great memories with the people you love. But losing my parents made me realize how important the last thing you say to someone really is. You never really know when is the last time you are seeing somebody, so my lesson to you is that tell people how you feel. Good or bad. Fight it out. But don’t let things stay unspoken. And most of all, tell the people you love that you love them. Everyday
8. You are afraid to lose everyone now. Each friend you make, every relationship you have after this will be deeply affected by the fear of losing that person. I wish I could tell you that it’s not true and that you won’t lose them. But that’s how life goes, you lose people. Friends, family, partners in crime, one day you are going to lose them. But please oh please don’t let it stop you from loving. It will hurt every time you lose someone. Every time you will be reminded of the pain you felt when you lost your parents. I’ve seen my fair share of loss in my life but the loss of parents has made me realize one very important thing. If you lost your parents and you’ve made it this far, there isn’t a loss in the world that you can’t survive.
9. You will become envious of your friends. You want to hit your friends who argue and complain about their parents. Take it from me and please do hit them. I would give anything in this world if I could have my mother nag me about eating healthy.
10. It does not have to be a well versed story. You will never be sure of how to tell the new people you meet about it. You don’t want to see that moment of pity or hear that fatal “oh” which makes you want to die. Most people don’t know how to react to something like this so it’s okay if you don’t choose to tell every single person you meet. It will always be one of the defining things in your life but it does not have to define you.
11. Your outlook on life changes let it. You live differently than before. You try to experience more things. You start to seek out anything that will fill that hole in your chest. You want to do everything that your parents could not. You want to live it for them. You want to make sure you gave everything you had for them.
12. You’re allowed to be happy. Some people will probably pass a snide comment to you if you start to get back to your life. But screw them. Just because you don’t choose to mourn your loss by crying out aloud does not make you a bad person.
13. Don’t run away from how you feel. Till I was 20 years old, I did not confide in anyone about how much this loss had really changed me. Not even my sisters. Until I finally did and it freed me in a way that I cannot really explain. So take your time, deal with it on your own if you must but confide in someone you trust. I know that most people will tell you are so strong to have overcome this. But there’s always a person who would listen to you. You don’t always have to go through it alone. Take all the time you need but talk about it. It helps, a little.
14. Don’t take people for granted. Life is fleeting and you don’t know how much time any of us really has. So it’s best to live your life as much as possible. Smile. Laugh. Cry when you must. Make memories.
15. Appreciate every little good thing in your life. It can be gone in an instant. Be thankful for the bad things that happen to you. They do teach you something worthwhile. Learn what matters to you and don’t let it go.
16. It’s been 12 years since I lost my mother and 6 years since I lost my father. There isn’t a thing I would give up to have them back. I miss them every day, some more than others. It has forever changed the way I look at life. I will never truly move on from this but I’ll carry the lessons I learnt always.