101 Ways to Cope with Losing Elderly Parents #17~ To Thine Own Self be True


November 15 was always a very significant day in my parent’s lives as they got married on November 15, 1948.

They both lived to see their 60th anniversary in 2008 and this is now the fourth since Father died. While there were never any major parties or the like, they always marked their Anniversary by exchanging presents and by going on some sort of outing ~ maybe lunch out or a picnic by the sea if the weather was fine.

I’ve struggled with November 15th since Mother died in 2oo9. It’s a date that’s etched in my life calendar because of the ‘ceremony’ that always surrounded it and  the recalling of memories of that day that they tied the knot.

I wrote about possible plans for the day last year but in the end I didn’t do much more than write ~ I simply wasn’t able. I just wasn’t emotionally ready.

This year I felt different and I spent some lovely time today in celebrating a marriage that was fundamentally important to giving me life itself.

I was rather surprised to find that November 15th in 1948 fell on a Monday. I don’t know if Monday weddings were more common back then than they are now. I don’t know of any other couple who got married on a Monday!

Annestown Beach, Co. Waterford
Annestown Beach, Co. Waterford

So, I made my way to Annestown Beach this morning; had the obligatory cup of coffee, a paddle and carved a little memorial in the sand.  It all felt so right and the gorse was in full bloom out around there ~ when the gorse is out of bloom, kissing’s out of season. 

Gorse at Annestown, Co. Waterford
Gorse at Annestown, Co. Waterford

Today seemed just the right day to buy my snowdrop and hyacinth bulbs ~ always such symbols of hope and inextricably linked to this time of year, especially for Mother.

On the way home, I decided to call into The Majestic Hotel here in Tramore. That’s where Mother and Father had their wedding reception. The hotel has been rebuilt since those days as you can see from the following photos:

The Majestic Hotel  Source: Waterford Co. Museum
The Majestic Hotel
Source: Waterford Co. Museum


Even though the buildings are different, I half expected to see the wedding party arrive into the hotel as I was sitting there sipping my latte.

Tramore Beach that was so special to both Mother and Father and where we shared so, so many precious hours, days and moments was my last stop.

There is was, just as it was back in November 1948, being watched over by the Metal Man and whispering its everlasting words of love.

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford
Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

In conclusion, I would say from my experience, that the grieving process is very different for each individual and for each death in an individual’s life. Perhaps a good rule of thumb is only to do things when they feel right ~ not when you or someone else thinks the time should be right. 

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
(William Shakespeare ~ Hamlet Act 1)






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 sense of place.

14 thoughts on “101 Ways to Cope with Losing Elderly Parents #17~ To Thine Own Self be True”

  1. What a lovely day you had on what was in essence a sad day. Loved reading and seeing the past and present together, so many years apart.
    Condolences on your sad losses. Grief is hard work, and some days very hard work! I am sure where ever they are your parents continue to look after you, and it must be nice to think they are together. Hugs tonight to you.

    1. Thanks Tric, it WAS a lovely day and really I never, ever feel that either of them is more than a heartbeat away. I was one of the lucky ones to have such caring, wise, sporty, arty, humourous, loving parents who, though very much parents, were the best friends anyone could ever wish for.

  2. A lovely way to remember your parents Jean. It’s so right that it is different for everyone. The anniversary of my dad’s death is on 1st December, but now, 13 years on, I strangely don’t find it a sad day, it’s a day for remembering him, which I love to do – can’t really describe it, but it feels like a very peaceful day.

    1. Hi Andrea, many thanks for your kind words.
      I think I know what you mean about the celebration and the peace associated with it. No doubt yours is very different to mine but I suspect they are part of the same universe of feeling.

    1. Hi Dana, thanks for writing. I don’t think ‘brave’ is the word at all. I’d say ‘instinctive.’
      I’m sorry that you have such difficulty thinking of these matter and hope that one day you will have the peace that Andrea mentioned above.

  3. This is such a lovely post Jean, and very moving. It makes me wish I knew more about my own parents’ wedding, although I do know the church where they married was demolished many years ago! It’s a wonderful thing to remember and celebrate your parents’ marriage in this way. I’m sorry for your loss, and sending lots of love.

    1. Robin, thanks for writing.
      Yes, the detail of our parent’s weddings is something that I suspect a lot of people know relatively little about. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t known about the Monday wedding.
      I’m sorry to hear that about the church where your parents were married has been demolished. Only yesterday I went to the Cathedral where my parents were married. It didn’t have a lot of impact as I knew that they had very mixed feelings about it as they were from different religious backgrounds, which was very unusual in Ireland back in the 1940s and the church bit had caused a good deal of hassle. However, it was nice to at least be able to go there!

  4. It only just now hit me that I don’t know where my parents got married! Still, I miss them every day. For a long time I had a little quote that I’d cut out somewhere and posted on my fridge – “the world is never the same without your mother in it”.

    1. Hi Sandy, I suspect you’re far from alone in this. In a way our parent’s weddings are so much ‘not of our time.’

      Must say I agree with the quote, except I feel that my mother is very much part of my day to day existence through memories of sayings and everyday belongings like her saucepan stand!

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