on letting go, on being set free
Though my parents are still alive and well, I have watched and listened to stories of my friends who have had to watch their parents pass. I cannot say I truly understand what they have experienced. Yet, it is evident that the love and life that was shared somehow continues. A tai chi master said once, "it only looks like it has stopped, but the intent continues on." The loss, the severing of ties, is often hard, yet it too often brings relief and freedom as well for both sides. It's a process, a process of living. These are some of their stories.
T was in his mid-30s when his mother passed. As he waited in her room with various aunties, they said to him, "oh, you are an orphan now. It is good. You do not have to worrry about them any longer."
D went through his father's passing. His father was 89, his mother had died the year before. He told me he went to his father's side, held his hand, whispered in his ear, "It's ok, Dad. You can let go now."
R was 16 when his father died. He smiled in the funeral photos. His family thought him odd. He said, "why shouldn't I be happy? He had suffered 3 long years. He was no longer in pain."
For weeks after his mother died, E couldn't drive past 65 mph, no matter how hard he pressed the gas pedal. His mother often nagged him about driving too fast. And now she got to do something about it.
The family had spent many weeks visiting my grandmother in the hospital. This time around, she decided she did not want to live her life this way and stopped treatments. I had gone to pick my cousin from the train station, when we returned she had already passed. My cousins lined the hallway outside her door crying, I could see my mother and her siblings weeping at her bedside. A nurse looked at the scene and declared, "Looks like someone was well loved."
When J's dad passed after a long illness, he emailed, "He is FREE!" I replied, "And so are you!"