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Shippy's avatar

How did you feel or react long after your parent or parents died?

Asked by Shippy (9873points) October 6th, 2012

Myself and a couple of friends all had parents die around the same time. At Christmas we call ourselves the ‘orphans’. We often check on each other at that time to see none of us are alone.

I did and do feel very much like an orphan. It is a strange feeling having no family in the entire world. If I sit and think about it, it is quite shocking to me. But luckily I do value friends, and I do have other people who care about me. How did your parents death change you, or how did your perception of life and yourself, plus them change? Do you value friends now, to ensure that when you are an orphan you are not totally alone. (Or obviously significant other).

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12 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

When my mother died (of emphysema), my father would not allow us to come home. There was no funeral. To this day we have no idea what he did with her body, but suppose he had her cremated and the ashes thrown out. So when my dad died, my brother, who was taking care of him, made the same decision for him. That was over 20 years ago. I’m just now beginning to forgive them and to regret my anger. I wish it could have been different, but knowing my parents, it was their wish and I’m sure they discussed it beforehand without sharing their plans with us.

Bellatrix's avatar

I was an orphan quite young. I felt it keenly. There is a void where my father once was. For instance, I miss being able to call my father (my mother died when I was a child) to share the positives and negatives of my life. It has also made me very conscious of how finite life is. I expect to die fairly young. This isn’t a logical expectation; it is a hangover from my past. It’s a thought in the back of my mind and it does drive me – not excessively but the push is there.

I have a strong desire to live long enough to see my children settled and happy. I think losing my parents so young gave me a clearer sense of what really matters in life (or at least to me). It is my immediate family. My husband and children. In the end, how I affect those around me and the outputs of my passions will be my lasting legacy. So the memories we create as a family and the values and hopes I impart matter. The things I write, photograph, draw, paint will be the things my children will remember and reminisce over…not whether I finished my paperwork this week or that my boss thinks I am fabulous at my job.

YARNLADY's avatar

I was very sorry to lose them. They were the first in their generation to go, because they were heavy smokers. My mother pre-deceased her own mother. They both went in their early 60’s, and the rest of their family has survived well into their late 80’s and 90’s.

I’m nearly 70 and I feel I have a good 20 or 30 years left.

Berserker's avatar

My dad died and at the time it was pretty hard, like it would be with anyone who loses a parent. Mostly I used anger to deal with it, as in, if anybody talked to me about him and offered sympathy I literally told them to fuck off. But that was then and this is now. I accepted it, and anyways I don’t have a choice. I still miss him and always will, sometimes I remember good and funny things, sometimes bad things. I feel a lot of stuff when I think about him, only now it’s easier to handle. On bad days it’s still hard, but what can you do. But I figure, he gave me a life, so I should live it haha. I certainly understand your feelings though, I also have a small family. My grandma is the only one I keep in touch with, and her losing her son is probably way harder than me losing my dad, so we gotta be there for one another, I figure. And even if my dad was still alive, not much of that would change. He taught me a lot of stuff and although I didn’t live with him for my whole childhood, I wouldn’t have traded him for another dad, ever. [/CORNDOG]

flutherother's avatar

The shock of your parents’ death wears off and life goes on. I am fortunate in having brothers and sisters and children and it is nice when we get together. My parents can’t be with us on these occasions of course but sometimes it almost feels as if they are.

CWOTUS's avatar

My father died 9 years ago, just before my 50th birthday, and my mother died six months later. I joke sometimes (a bittersweet joke) that I’m also an orphan, but it still affects me.

majorrich's avatar

My father passed away 5 years ago after a 17 year battle with Parkinsons disease. My mother was not strong enough to move him about and care for him, so I sold my home and their home and bought a larger house to care for him. He died in a nursing home and i was there just as he died. He was still warm. My mother was nigh unto worthless in making the funeral arrangements so i had to take care of all of them. Now I am caring for my mother who is slowly but surely wrecking my marriage. So, to answer the question, I guess I am still dealing with my fathers death and dealing with all the issues that two men used to do. Sometimes i dream about my father and he gives me advice or we talk about stuff. I don’t know if I will ever deal with my parents passing like a normal person.

Jeruba's avatar

After my father died 29 years ago, I felt as though I were suddenly on the edge of a precipice…as though his life had stood between me and mortality, and now that layer of protection were gone. It was totally an illusion, especially since both his mother and my mother were still living, but I felt that exposure keenly. Maybe it was just that losing my parent meant death was real.

I was pregnant when he died. I grieved for two years, through the birth and early life of my elder son, and I still miss him. There are so many things I’d like to have shared with him about my adult life and so many things I’d have liked to hear him talk about. Sometimes my son, who resembles him in many ways, looks so much like him in a momentary flash of posture or expression that it brings me to tears.

My mother was a different story. Through her later years, even though we were on opposite coasts, I talked to her on the phone every week, sent her things, and contributed materially to her support and comfort. I also traveled east to visit her, using up my two weeks’ vacation every year instead of doing things with my family. I still don’t know if that was right or not.

She fell apart by inches. As her husband put it once, “She has health problems from head to toe, not missing much in between.”

That spectacle left me with a permanent horror of creeping decrepitude and also of outliving my means. It’s the major reason why I am grateful every day for my ability to navigate under my own power.

When my mother died four years ago, I was ready to let her go. I think of her often, but I don’t have the same ache that I had and still sometimes have for my father. There was also conflict in my relationship with her that I never had with him.

He died in his early sixties, she in her latter eighties. That makes a difference. In his case it seemed really premature, and in hers it wasn’t.

gondwanalon's avatar

My Father died of leukemia when I was 4 years old. I have always cherished my many foggy memories of him. My Mother died of sideroblastic anemia when I was 45 years old (17 years ago). She had a very hard life trying her best to raise my two older sisters and me. We were such a very sad bunch. I wouldn’t call us a family as it was pretty much “every man for themselves” kind of survival mode living. Now I am so sorry that I didn’t do more to try to make my Mother’s life easier.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Just reading through some of the posts here makes me sad to see the familiar “How I wish we could have done things differently”. I wonder how many of us are still living like that – and I wonder how many who stumble on these answers are going to do their best to make a difference to their lives with any remaining family members (or indeed, friends).
Whilst not having lost my own parents, yet, I have one surviving grandparent, my Mother’s Father. He’s 93 this year. Hell of a lot of innings. However her Mother died in the late 90s, from emphysema. Life was never very easy for either my Mother or my Grandma, lots of arguing, they were always arguing, and when Grandma did eventually pass away, Mother was more relieved than anything else, but I know that even to this day, Mom still feels a little at a loss. Every Mother’s Day she seems to go through this sensation of the realization – as if it were for the first time – she has no Mother. I don’t think it sticks around for too long though, because we’re all a little rough around the edges, we’ve seen a lot in our lives and endured a lot of trials and tribulations, so that feeling soon goes away – I think she only gets it when she allows herself to think about it, or she daydreams about when she did have a Mom.

creative1's avatar

My father died when I was 17 and was devasting to me, I still if I let myself think too much it upsets me to the point I cry. I don’t know if I ever got over his death fully but it did change my perception about life and how short it can be and to try not to take those we love for granted. I try to tell those I love just how much they mean to me.

Aster's avatar

When mine died fifteen years ago I felt sad but relieved. It was a kind of fog I was in but , at the same time, dad had been suffering emotionally since mom passed away then he began going downhill physically and was being manipulated by a sadistic head of nursing. Mom didn’t really have a life for three years before she died. She was in bed 24/7 paralyzed on one side and told me she was “just existing.” So I couldn’t help but feel actually happy for both of them that all their suffering was over. My then MIL told me I sounded like a different person a day after his funeral. He was extremely demanding of me and I did every crazy thing I could to keep him alive no matter how nasty he was towards me. The entire time my husband was extremely kind, supportive and long suffering and I’ll never be able to repay him .

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