Growing up in a society that values family togetherness, I feel fortunate to have spent almost my entire life with my parents. Their presence was a constant source of comfort and guidance, even during my college years and travels. I consider myself blessed to have had such a close and loving family.
However, my mother’s unexpected passing during the first wave of COVID left my father alone. They had been partners for over 60 years, and her absence hit him hard. Already struggling with a stroke and aphasia, her death seemed to take what little life he had left.
Last week, my father passed away at 94 after several days of struggling with his weak heart.
As a Muslim, I have always understood that death is a promise Allah will fulfill. However, nothing could have prepared me for the profound impact my father’s passing would have on me.
Following are just a few things I have felt deeply during the past few days. I would love to hear how others benefit from the presence of their parents or the things they miss about their parents who have passed away.
Untethered and Unanchored
I’ve lived with my parents my entire life, so they were a big part of my plans. Even though they were independent and enjoyed each other’s company, things changed after my mother passed away. My dad was left alone, over 90 years old, and not in the best health – I needed to adjust my life to be there for him. I scheduled my day around his routine of rest and wakefulness, including when I slept or left the house. Despite the changes, I felt fortunate to have him as a strong anchor in my life.
Since my parents passed away, I’ve felt like a bird with clipped wings. Even though I’m almost 60 years old, it’s like I’m just learning how to fly for the first time, with no clear direction or destination. This “freedom” is both dizzying and confusing. I am still trying to figure out which way to turn or where to go.
No One to Question or Stop You
Navigating life without parental guidance is an emotional and challenging journey. While my parents never interfered in my life, their watchful eyes were always present. Their disapproval of my mistakes was enough to make me regret them, and the fear of upsetting them kept me from making errors.
But with their absence, I feel dangerously unchecked. No one is there to question or stop me from making mistakes, and the pressure to keep myself in check is overwhelming.
No One to Guide or Advise You
We all make mistakes in life, and I am no exception. But when push comes to shove, the parents provide the support we need. Whenever anything went wrong, my parents were always there to fall back on, offering advice and doing whatever they could to help me navigate troubled waters.
Now, without them, I feel lost and alone. No one is there to guide or advise me, and I must rely solely on myself to make decisions. The absence of their wisdom and experience is a daunting challenge.
No One to Pray for You
There’s something extraordinary about a parent’s prayer. Even amid their own struggles and frailties, their prayers instill hope and courage in our hearts. With their love and guidance, we can soar above the clouds and overcome any obstacle.
I knew that I was always in my parents’ prayers. Their good wishes for me were a constant source of comfort, support, and protection. It felt like a shield against all trials, giving me the power to deal with any challenge. But now, my superpowers are gone, and I feel vulnerable and exposed. It’s scary, and I’m still trying to find my way without them.
I Miss the Inconvenience
Sometimes, when our parents are alive, we may feel like they are in the way. Their needs and presence may feel inconvenient or even offensive as we pursue new relationships and lifestyles.
Only after they’re gone do we truly realize the significance of their presence in our lives. Even in their own unique ways, they always wanted what was best for us.
Now, I miss the “inconvenience” they brought into my life.
Dear God, please grant eternal peace to my beloved parents. They lived their lives in your grace and showed us the way to your love. -May their souls rest in your loving embrace forever. Amen.
Look for signs that they are still with you, whether it’s a favorite song that comes on the radio, a flower that blooms on a tree they planted, or a dream that feels like a visit from the