There tends to be a sense of sense of loss and grief throughout the whole process from when one’s elderly parents first show signs of frailty to way beyond when they die.
Grief isn’t, by any means, a feeling that somehow starts at the moment of death and follows some sort of highway that leads to a town called All Done.
Grief varies in its intensity and takes many, many different forms but I think it’s fair to say that the place it is probably felt most is in the heart.
I really like this short poem by Australian poet, Michael Leunig, which relates to degrees of heartache and ways to cope with it:
When the HeartWhen the heart is cut or cracked or broken Do not clutch it Let the wound lie open Let the wind From the good old sea blow in To bathe the wound with salt And let it sting Let a stray dog lick it Let a bird lean in the hole and sing A simple song like a tiny bell And let it ring (Michael Leunig)