Reflections Of My ParentsAugust 3, 2008
Chances are that you have only one chance
My father died eight months ago. I never really got to know him. At the gravesite I apologized to him for all the trouble I gave him as I was growing up. I felt compelled to relate to him as I shoveled dirt onto the casket, as it entered its place in the earth. My heart was on the verge of opening up. Old situations flashed by in my mind ending up in my heart. I felt a part of me leaving myself. The pain was welling up, and it hurt. I regretted that I had only told my father that I loved him towards the end. I had missed my chance to communicate my feelings to him when he was able receive them.
About fifteen or twenty years ago, I became the parent of my parents. As they were no longer able to take care of themselves, I assumed that role of providing for them. That role seemed to suit me well, and although I made mistakes, I felt comfortable with myself. I was better at being the parent than being the child. Still, my emotions remained locked up in some corner of my psyche, never to be revealed openly to my parents.
Now, as I sit with my mom at her beside, I tell her how much I love her, although I don’t know if she can hear me. I repeat over and over again the stories and experiences we shared. Sometimes she smiles at me, sometimes not. Alzheimer’s does that. Again, I realize that I had missed the opportunity to reveal my true feelings to my mom when she could receive them. Soon, my mom will be gone, and with that another part of me will be gone. I had missed my chance again.
In most cases, one of the most important virtues to develop in one’s lifetime is to honor one’s parents. It is an intrinsic part of most of us. The string that ties us together should not be cut, but lovingly caressed. As we mature on life’s road certain things should manifest in our lives. When they do we feel a sense of wellbeing. This is one of them.
One of the most amazing things I witnessed about my mom’s life was the transformation that occurred, as she grew older. It was as if her heart had opened up. She exuded love to everyone around. Gone were her days of hostility and anger, to be replaced by love and compassion. To be near her was to receive the love that was pouring out of her heart. It was almost angelic. You could feel the vibes she was projecting. Then, slowly she sank into herself, and there she waits.