- by Christopher Newport
I remember a friend many years ago talking about when his mother passed away. He spoke of how it took so very long to recover from the passing. I, being young and inexperienced in life, could not really comprehend what he was saying. It was so foreign to me. My mother and Father were well, active and had their health and all their faculties.
Years pass by - fast forward to today.
My mother is in a Dementia unit. She has gone. The bright, funny and loving person has gone. She is an empty shell who has no idea who I am, nor where she is or who she is for that matter. All memories have been erased by this nasty illness. All her life experiences have been taken away. The woman who left the United Kingdom as a 20 year old and travelled by ship to New Zealand and found the man she loved, is gone. But the body still survives.
Recently my Dad passed away. I had a strange relationship with him. I loved him and I am sure he loved me. But, he was an old school Dad. He was bought up to be a father, like his father: strong, stoic and as a child, to us, he was the punisher and law maker. “Wait ‘til your father gets home” was a common threat. But as I grew and matured, so did he.
To my brother’s children he was a very different man, he became a loving and playful Grandfather. He had expunged his old parenting skills or beliefs and had changed. The only man he could ask for advice when he was a young newly married man, was from his Father. It was a very different style of parenting. He said to me a few years ago, “You Mums and Dads today have it so easy, you can get so much advice, and you can pick and choose how you want to bring up your children. We had nothing to go on, except from our parents. We made mistakes, I know that, but at the time we tried our best to bring up good people. And we did, we are proud of our children.”
Why do I feel so sad?
My Dad's death came with some family conflicts and though now settled it was a time of incredulity and anger. I believed my time of grief had passed and I had moved on. But, recently my Dad's Will was settled and emails were being sent to me from solicitors with Dad's name in the subject line. With forms attached to sign that mentioned his name. Money was being transferred and all the unresolved grief came flooding back.
Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Yet, I am finding no comfort but rather, a lot of pain. Naturally the Bible does not mention a timetable. Is this the plan? Do we have to have a strong faith? Even when we are tested by being inculcated within a maelstrom of emotion and hurt. All the things I should have said to my Father, but now cannot. All the memories I could have shared with my Mother, but now cannot. Cannot our faith take hits? I cannot help but feel a sense of unfairness.
Where is your comfort God?
Of course the answer is clear as day. We know what to do but our humanity gets in the way so often. We need to go to God in an acquiescent manner. Yet we do not when we hit the hard stuff. If we go to God we go with anger and challenging questions. God can take this because He loves us. But, we or I, am in a state of fury and questioning. Why me? I ask. The answer is both easy and difficult; it is the human story, it is part of life’s tapestry. I'm sure we all, go through guilt and memories and grief at some stage in our lives.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” But it is not instant and the other (and I use this word with care) 'benefit' is that we learn from our experience and share when it happens to others. So many friends have come to me with support and share their own experiences concerning the loss of a parent.
The awesome Isaiah said in 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Wise words but, what do we do?
We deal with the hurt in our own personal ways. We ask God and friends for support and get on with life.
When those moments happen, like letters from lawyers, cleaning out the parents’ home, birthdays and Father's and/or Mother’s day, it is absolutely okay to cry or feel sad. Because the feeling will pass and it will return, but less painful each time. However the memories will stay.
Love makes you feel sadness and remorse. We miss those we love. Grief is a way to remember and feel for the lost. Better that, than feel nothing.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Our parents created a legacy. That legacy is you and I.
Christopher wants to see fairness in the world and desires to see the doors of Christianity open to all. He has been a drama junkie for decades. He found God in the 1990’s but too often sees faith and belief being used to promote individuals doctrines. Chris enjoys reading, theatre, good food and good company. Chris loves music but can’t play a note. He has two adult children and a patient wife. He lives in Melbourne Australia.
See previous articles by Christopher Newport