Nothing is comparable to the pain of witnessing your own parent plunge into nonexistence as death silently robs them away from you. It might initially be surreal. You could end up sitting on the cold floor of a hospital, momentarily transported to a semi-conscious state and only jostled to awareness when a mature (or emotionally stronger) family member holds your shoulder in empathy.
Everything might not make sense at first. As you stare at the cold, unmoving and pale body of theirs. When the nurse pulls the white cotton sheet to cover their face. It’s as if someone just drew the blinds midday and everything turned to utter oblivion.
“Where am I again? What is the purpose of life again?” You may ask yourself these questions repeatedly.
You will look back at all those times. Oh, those cursed moments…… When you could have spent more time with them. Said something to them. Hugged them one more time. Apologized one last time. But you didn’t. You will recollect about the time they asked you to watch Transformers with them when it was newly released – because they’re such a movie buff and know that you are too – that their way of trying to bond with you is asking you to watch a movie with them in the cinema. And you will regret not having said yes just because you have already watched it with your friends, only to have them permanently depart from your life one week later.
You will blame and chide yourself. You will hate yourself for the time you sneaked out to party till 4am and came home to find them waiting for you. When you tried to say something, but you found it impossible to utter anything that doesn’t sound like an admittance of guilt. When you silently walked past them and went to your room instead, without conveying anything remotely close to an apology, responded on their part with a subdued sigh of disappointment.
You will regret all the times they bought you something and you didn’t cherish it enough. When you stashed it in the corner of your room, nowhere again to be found. And when they asked you about it, you casually remarked – “I don’t know, lost it maybe.”
You will hate yourself for all the times you talked back to them, when you didn’t respect them enough, when you went through so much trouble to defy their opinions just because you wanted to prove a point and show them that you’ve grown up.
You will try to make things up with the other parent, if you have one. You now realize how much you need to treasure their existence. You will discover that significant others can always be replaced; but once you lose a parent – they are forever gone and impossible to substitute. You will send the other parent cards, flowers, letters, gifts, presents, phone calls, text messages, and everything in the world you can afford. You will go through all the trouble to make them feel loved, and you will make sure that you won’t repeat the same mistakes you’ve made with the first parent.
People say it gets better with time; that it doesn’t get easier, but you just become stronger. However, during those solitary nights when Netflix has served its purpose way beyond its $7.99 monthly membership fee, your eyes will catch sight at their picture resting on your desk – and you’ll find yourself back on the cold floor of the hospital once more.