A Post I Thought I’d Never Write …

I am very conscious of the fact that the majority of the search terms that lead people to this blog relate to Losing Elderly Parents and there are times when the fear, angst and sadness of those who are searching is painfully palpable.

I honestly can’t remember but I suspect I was one of those searchers back when my parents were in failing health and in the weeks and months after they had died. There is absolutely no easy way to lose one’s parents and there are times when it can seem overwhelming and totally unmanageable. I say that in relation to both the period leading up to their deaths and after they have passed on.

This time three years ago, I was trying to deal with what would have been my parent’s 62nd wedding anniversary and it was just two months after my father had died. Mother had died 16 months before him.  I have the most vivid recall of driving out to Maguire’s Garden Centre to buy spring bulbs to mark the occasion.

Maguire’s was a place that Mother and Father always loved and we spent many, many happy hours out there buying bulbs, plants, garden furniture ….. That day, three years ago, I pulled up in the car park and was so overcome with grief that I just sat in the car sobbing and ended up driving straight home without being able to go in.  I felt that day that I would never, ever be able to set foot in what had always been a haven of happiness.

Although I’ve been back to Maguire’s quite a few times in the last two years,  it’s  never been on special occasions.  So, today was a first and the memory of that day sobbing hit me when I got to the car park. However, the sense of hopelessness and loss didn’t descend. Rather, I was able to think about the happy times we had shared there; smiled as I thought of Father teasing me when I went out there with him shortly after I’d finished a gardening course and thought I knew everything there was to be known about plants; was immediately drawn to the snowdrops which were always Mother’s favourites …..

Back home, I spent about three hours at total peace tidying up the rockery and flower beds and planting the spring bulbs and heather I had bought.  It was like Mother and Father were with me and all sorts of memories drifted in an out of my mind ~ the little patch that I had in the garden from when I was about three; Mother’s saying which she had picked up from her father: While you’re resting for supper, be sweeping the yard; Father’s absolute love of daffodils and the bunches of windfalls that he would bring in to decorate the house …..

Yes, all has changed, ‘changed utterly,‘ as W.B. Yeats wrote, but it’s not a terrible beauty  that has been born.  I would describe it more as a  sense of oneness and presence,  and something which I would wish for all those who are in that state of turmoil where I was three years and more ago.

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

6 thoughts on “A Post I Thought I’d Never Write …”

  1. My husband lost both his parents three years ago within three months of each other. It was very difficult for him and his siblings (and me given we’ve been married for 25 years), and visiting sites we frequented with them could be both painful and pleasant in a bittersweet sort of way. Nice that you were able to go back to the place where you shared so many memories with your own parents.

    1. Hello Carrie, many thanks for writing. It must have been very tough on your husband (and you) losing both his parents within such a short space of time. I think ‘bittersweet’ is a key word in all this. I’m fortunate in that I lived just round the corner from my parents so most of the most significant places are very local and I can visit them often. I just seemed to have a complete stumbling block about the garden centre, which is lovely and only a few miles away, I think, there is a difference going to places like beaches as opposed to places where there are people who knew loved the loved ones and are sympathetic about it all. Grief is such a complex thing, isn’t it?

    1. Hi Dale, thanks so much for writing. I sometimes wonder about ‘time’ in the context of grief. I agree that it is an important component but it seems to me that much depends, too, on how deep the relationship was and whether there was time to say goodbyes and, indeed, lots of other things too.

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