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Are You an Adult Orphan?

9377819_sThe usual course of life events is that our parents will likely predecease us.  Yet even when we are adults and often have families ourselves, the notion of losing our parents can still be extremely emotional and heart breaking. Often, we can feel like adult orphans.

Throughout our lives our parents are our parents and I know that my parents still have the ability to make me feel like I am 12 years old in a nano second. How about the helpful, well intended, unsolicited advice as simple as “don’t forget your coat”…and snap, you feel like a little kid again.  Or perhaps your family has the story that is told, retold and told again.  You know the story by heart and are extremely sick of hearing it – yet one day you will not be able to hear them tell that story again.

As we are aging so are our parents.  Through the years of declining health for our parents we are reminded that their days with us are limited.  A simple ring of the phone may be the dreaded call we are anticipating at some point.

Many families have shared with me that it is often the small simple things that they miss about their parents. A song on the radio can trigger a smile as you recall that this was your dad’s favorite song, a certain smell or fragrance can immediately remind you of your mom’s perfume.  You may even be half way to the phone – wanting to ask your parents something and you remember that you can’t call them anymore.  These little and not so little things are powerful reminders of the memories we have with our parents.  Or, perhaps your mom or dad was the glue that knitted the family fabric together.  Maybe they were the fun person, the organizer, the soother, the doer, or even the buffer between relationships with other family members.

What do we do when our parents are gone?  A colleague of mine, Mary Bart, has fantastic web based support for adults who have lost their parents.  Click here to visit the site and you will quickly realize that you are not alone!  You could post a message to your parents as simple as “I miss you mom.”

Other have shared with me that they wish they had spent quality time with their parents and really listened to the stories, ask the questions and recorded these conversations.

One of the best afternoons I had with my mom recently was to assist her with changing over her winter to summer clothes.  It was fun to hear her natter about this and that while I was moving the clothes out of the drawer and closet.  Mom was so grateful that I could do this for her and really thought it was a big deal that I had done things so quickly.  It was really nothing to me to do the work, the real gift was the conversations and time spent with my mom.

As adult orphans we can feel that we have lost our rudder, or the invisible safety net is now gone and working through this takes time.  Eventually most people can get to a place where they are grateful for the memories they have of their parents.  Ideally these memories are positive and great for you.  Perhaps they have set a wonderful example for you as a guide to continue to live your life to the best of your ability.

It is often the simple things that remain most important to us and feel grateful that our parents have touched our lives so completely and left us with wonderful memories.

With Father’s Day around the corner, if your dad is still with you and you are able to be together, enjoy each moment.

Have you got a favourite memory to share? I love getting feedback.  Don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog if you have one via the commentluv feature here on my site.

Until next time,


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