It’s strange after your parents die, it’s the loneliest feeling. In life, there are so many hardships, there is loss, and there is suffering along the way, that’s just the way it is. But, when your parents are gone, and these things happen, you realize how much support they gave. How they sheltered you with the umbrella of their unconditional love. You suddenly appreciate how much they loved and cared about you. How they were always willing to raise a hand on your behalf, no matter what it was, they had your back and were there for you.

The power of parental love is sorely missed.

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My parents had a good life together. They emigrated from England in 1961, and raised a happy family in New Zealand. After working for forty years, mum and dad retired to spend the last twenty years of their lives living by the sea, in a lovely little town on the Coromandel Peninsula. Then, in 2015, at the age of eighty-four, my mother died peacefully in her sleep, in her own bed. Dad had a further two years of gardening, bowling, music club, helping to run the church, Probus meetings and outings with the Friendship club. While still recovering from double pneumonia, he suffered a heart attack in hospital and died at the age of eighty-six.

My parents had had good, full lives. Sometimes however, I wish they were still here.

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It’s strange after they’re gone. It takes time to adjust. Two years later, and I still find myself reaching for them in a way. When things are difficult, especially, I find myself wishing I could talk to mum. She had developed in the latter part of her life the most magnificent ability to listen. She would ask how I had been and then listen in rapt attention to every word I said. She had an insatiable interest in me, my kids and our lives. I felt I could tell her everything, and quite often, she would say something surprisingly wise in response.

I miss our long conversations.

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It’s strange after they’re gone, because you miss the little things, like the banter over the family games of cards, monopoly, and scrabble. I can remember playing scrabble for hours, and the card games sitting in a big circle on the floor. It was fun to play cribbage, as dad would keep up a constant banter of funny old English sayings that went with each drop of the cards, as he counted, ‘four’s a score’ ‘five’s alive’ ‘seven’s in heaven’ ‘eight’s in state’ and of course, ‘one for his knob’ and so on. It was quirky and quaint and particular to dad.

In their eighties, mum became a notorious cheat at cards, and dad started to make mistakes in the scoring, though we never said a word.

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When we were growing up, dad was not big on displays of affection. But as he got older, he softened. In his last decade, I received some genuinely tender cards from him on special occasions. The last birthday card he gave me said, ‘I am very pleased with you to have achieved so much in your life. Bless you, your loving Dad’ (with four kisses and one hug).

When I’d visit, dad would spontaneously hug me or rub my back – something he’d never done – he became more able to communicate his love. It was so sweet.

It’s strange after they’re gone, because there is this constant feeling that I should be going somewhere or doing something. When they were alive, although they weren’t demanding, their presence meant I was either contacting them or planning something to do with them, or worrying about them (as they got older). I travelled down country to spend time with them every five weeks, so I was often there, or sorting out the next trip. Now, the pressure is off, there is nothing to do on mother’s and father’s days, or their birthdays or for them at Christmas.

Many of the year’s celebrations in our family have changed and we need to learn how to redefine these occasions.

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To have both parents gone is the strangest feeling. I wonder if I will ever get used to it. I suppose you always miss people after they’ve died, but as time goes on, you become slowly stronger and wiser and more able to deal with sorrow.

I think it was Dr. Seuss who said sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. I value my parents more now than ever.

I realize how lucky I was to have had good parents who loved me and gave me a happy, stable childhood! It makes me more determined than ever to honour them, by being a good parent also and giving my children the same.

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Blessed be the ties that bind generations. ~ Unknown

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Comments
  1. Lynn Kelley - Author says:

    I dread the day I lose one or both parents and my heart goes out to you, Yvette. Beautiful memories of your folks. I can relate to so many things in this post. Your writing is poignant and has a poetic flow.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. davidprosser says:

    I remember the sad loss of your father and I know that both losses will still be raw. I’m glad though that your memories are good.I remember my mum passed in 1991 and my father in 1997 but the memories of the actual day is fading. I have fond memories of my mum though, a genius in her job she looked at time off differently. Everything relaxed including the brain.The first time she decided to make spaghetti bolognese for lunch she just used the whole packet off spaghetti for two of us.It was like having Mt. Vesuvius in full flow on my plate.
    We always played games and I can’t say how grateful I am that my brother still visits me almost every Wednesday evening since my wife died in 2013 for Yahtzee, Cribbage and Nomination Whist.
    Massive Hugs Yvette

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hi David, it’s nice to hear from you. I’m so glad to hear your brother visits you regularly for games. It’s a special bonding time for families, I think, especially if it’s something that goes back to their younger days. I love that memory of your mother cooking the whole packet of spaghetti!
      Big hugs, David (((:-))))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Yvette. Thank you for sharing these loving moments with us. May you cherish them and as you say, transmit them to your children. Take care, love Susan. Super Dr Seuss. Have you read the Superduper Egg recipe one ?

    Liked by 1 person

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