Am I an Orphan?

Jan Larsen-Fendt, RN, BSN

Am I an Orphan?

Jan Larsen-Fendt, RN, BSN
So, I guess I am an orphan now. I am a “child whose parents are dead.” I am not A child, but I was THEIR child. My mother died two years ago. Suddenly I found myself in the “motherless” club. A dear friend had lost her mother prior to my mother’s death. I thought I understood her grief and attempted to be supportive in any way that I could. However, it was not until my own mother died that I fully understood the heart wrenching grief that comes with losing a parent. I cried most every day for months. I visited her grave and talked to her.

However, life goes on and my thoughts and energies were now focused on my dad. He had cared for my mother for seven years and had not taken very good care of himself during that time. I was worried how he was going to handle living in, and caring for, his home by himself. He surprised me by doing very well. He was once again able to concentrate on his own health, both physical and mental. He started paying more attention to his health problems and doing what he could to get them under control. He started walking to the store instead of driving. He went out to dinner with friends. However, he was the same old dad:  “No, I’m fine. I don’t need anything!” He would not accept help. Even when he broke his leg, he waited two days to tell a doctor and that is only because I suggested that he do that!

In the end, it was a stroke and its complications that took my father. As a nurse, this was very difficult for me. Why couldn’t I do more? Nevertheless, as a former hospice nurse, I also knew that sometimes people choose their own time to leave us.

I miss my mom and dad. I miss being able to pick up the phone and just check in on them. I miss being able to tell them how my own children are doing. I miss my mom calling me to remind of a certain television show that was going to be. I miss my father’s multiple daily emails.

I had fifty-nine and sixty-one years with my parents. So, no, I may not be an orphan in the sense we usually use that word, but yes, I am still a child without parents.

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Denise

It's great to see you blogging, Jan.\r\n\r\nI've been thinking about your post. I've often wondered what life will be like after my parents die.\r\n\r\nAfter reading your post, I imagine it feels like being untethered, like losing the anchor at sea. I can feel how much you miss them and how much you love them. I hope your beautiful memories bring you some peace. And, please keep writing about them and how you're coping.