Orphaned

on Monday, November 16, 2009

At Home with the Lord and Re-united at Last.

My father passed away in 2007 at the age of 93. Just a few days ago, on the 3rd of November, my mother, at the age of 87, followed him into heaven. It was almost exactly 2 years and a month later. Suddenly, even though I am a middle aged man, I feel like I have been orphaned.

My parents were a very loving couple and so very co-dependent that when my dad passed away, there were many from within family and friends who thought that my mother would not last very long. Well, she carried on for another 2 years. It was not an easy two years though. Even though she had no shortage of family, friends and visitors, it was clear that she missed him very much and had a loneliness and an emptiness that none of us was able to fill.

When they were both younger, she would always ask my dad to promise to allow her to die first for the very fact that she felt she could not bear being alone in the world without him. Very good naturedly, my father would assure her that he would definitely not go first so she was assured that he would be there to take care of her. However, as it turned out, that was one promise he was not able to keep.

And so, I think these last two years were perhaps for my mom a very sad and lonely time. There were, of course, happy days during this period. She particularly enjoyed the visits of her grandchildren. She still had a good appetite and was still able to enjoy her favorites like barbequed pork, fried banana fritters and durian fruit. On her penultimate day on earth, she asked me to get her some satay (seasoned meat skewers grilled over a charcoal fire) for dinner. To my everlasting regret, I was not able to do so because of heavy rain. She even placed an order with my brother for an Indian specialty called mee rebus for lunch the next day; and not any mee rebus but one from a particular shop that she used to take us to as kids.

Yet despite her relatively good appetite, she was extremely malnourished. I suppose, the scientific explanation would be that she was not able to absorb enough of the nutrients. However, our hearts tell us that she was sad and just wanted to move on.

She took to her bed and began to cut her ties to the world about three months ago. Perhaps the second anniversary of my father's passing weighed more heavily on her than we had imagined. A doctor examined her that very morning and declared that her lungs were clear and her heart beat was incredibly strong for someone her age. By noon, she had breathed her last, for no other reason perhaps than that she was ready, nay, desirous to go.

I am glad that she is beyond this period of loneliness and suffering. I believe that she is now home in heaven with God and reunited with my father; altogether in a much happier place and at peace.

For me though, the world seems a more dangerous and wild place as if a great source of love and light had been extinguished. Even though like all children, I sought to establish my independence from my parents, deep down I was always glad and relieved to know that their love and support was a constant in this tumultuous life. And now, with them both gone, I cannot help feeling like a 47 year old orphan.

To family and friends, I thank you for all your love shown. I thank you for your faithful visits to my mother, for your prayers, support, kind words and actions. God bless you all.

26 comments:

VioletSky said...

My condolences on your loss.
Having lost both my parents recently, I can attest to the strange feeling of being a [middle-aged] orphan.

Joyce's Ramblings said...

So sorry to hear of your loss. Now the two lovers are together enjoying each other and God's love. Be glad for them as they go on together.

Owen said...

Dear Lone Grey,
What a beautifully moving piece of writing you've done here, a tribute that resonates deeply of love and warmth and caring and heart. Now you are a little more "lone" than before, but with wonderful memories to treasure... of people that could not live forever. Warm wishes for strength in the days to come.

By coincidence I was listening to this while reading your post, it seemed appropriately peaceful :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX9NfehY2ls

May all squirrels of the world unite in wishing you well...

Kathryn said...

I agree with Owen. What a lovely tribute.

I still have my parents here. But i remember my mother lost her parents when she was a little younger than are you & her comment at the time was, "No matter what age you are when you lose your parents, you are an orphan."

I pray that you will find comfort in you memories & the hope of seeing them again.

daysgoby said...

I am so very, very sorry, C.

You obviously loved her very much - it comes through on the page.

Be gentle with yourself for awhile.

Lorac said...

Very sorry to hear this LGS. Your parents sound like wonderful people who cared deeply for each other and their family. Take care!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

VioletSky,
Thank you. My condolences for your recent loss too. We middle-aged orphans should stick together.

Joyce,
It is great to have our hope in a loving God. Thank you for your kind words.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Owen,
Thank you very much for the kind words. "Watermark" by Enya is one of my all time favorites. Indeed I have been a fan of Clannad from the early days (which i think is better than the latter days). Enya started with Clannad of course. Anyway, thank you for sharing it. It is indeed most appropriate and pleasant music.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Kathryn,
Thank you for sharing. It is comforting to know that my "orphan" feelings is something shared by others. Enjoy your parents while you still have them with you.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

daysgoby,
Thank you very much. My mother stayed with me and required constant attention. My wife and I have not had much opportunity to get away together. We plan to take advantage of a business trip of hers and extend it to a holiday in the next couple of weeks. Keep in touch. You will find the posts on this blog coming from somewhere which is not Malaysia.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Lorac,
Thank you. I have been blessed with good parents.

Molly said...

My sympathy, Squirrel. I know that feeling of being an orphan. May your mother rest in peace, and may you be at peace, knowing she is re-united with the love of her life.

squirrelmama said...

LGS, your sorrow is palpable, your words so very poignant. A dear friend's mother (who is still alive, and in her early 90s now) once told my friend, "you never really begin to feel old, or alone, until your parents have died." I suppose there is always the illusion, however thin, that with a parent on this planet, someone will always be there to take care of us - if not physically anymore, at least in a spiritual or other intangible sense. Your parents' legacy lives on in you and yet, I know you would likely trade it for a day with both of them again, so that neither has to spend days or nights longing for the other, and you needn't spend the same, longing for them. Take care of yourself.

geewits said...

I'm sorry for your loss, but glad that you can see the positive for your mother.

the walking man said...

If you carry on in the ways your parents taught you then the best portion of them is never gone.

Be comforted Squirrel, you are never orphaned in life through your faith.

XUP said...

Oh, I'm so sorry, but also happy that your parents are reuinted at last. My father died at only 52 and my mother has been without him now longer than she was with him. I know a little of what you must be feeling - bereft and without the people who've known you best. In a way they take all the memories of you as a child with them and that's an odd feeling.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Molly,
Thank you for your kind words. The strength of love is measure by the pain it patiently and willingly endures and the intimate rapture of souls is its reward.

squirrelmama,
Thank you for those words. You have captured the essence of my thoughts and feelings. Parents really have such a gift to give their children. I sorrow for those who never had the chance to know their parents.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

geewits,
Thank you for your kind words. I know your Meals and Wheels work brings you in regular contact with the elderly and you have shared how their passing have impacted you. I too have had opportunity to minister to the terminally ill and we all have to realise that for many death in the fullness of an accomplished life is actually welcome and for those who have faith in a better afterlife, there is little compelling reason to remain in the present suffering. I grieve but I need to realise that my grief is for my own selfish loss but I should rejoice for my mother is at peace.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Mark,
Thank you for your profound words. They are comforting. I am truly no orphan as long as God calls me His child. Nor are any of us.

XUP,
My thoughts go out to your mom. I know that life has gone on and that she has probably had many happy years but when I put myself in her shoes, so many years without one's chosen life partner would be a heavy burden for me. Give her a hug for me. And thanks for your kind and understanding words.

secret agent woman said...

Oh, I'm so very sorry.

Marja said...

My condolences to you LGS and what a nice tribute to your mum. I hope beautiful memories may remain with you forever. Take care

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

secret agent woman and marja
Thank you both for your kind words.

cabcree said...

I don't know how I missed this post a few days ago! So sorry about your loss. It sounds like it is mixed with both blessing and sadness. I hope that you are holding up with this loss!

SINCERITY said...

I'm so sorry Mr. LGS. This has to be very difficult for you and all your family. I will pray that God gives you peace and comfort for the times when the pain is too difficult.

Know that there is joy in Jesus Christ. He is caring for both of your parents now and one day, you will be with them again!

God bless you.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

My condolences, LGS. My father died a few weeks ago, and sometimes I think the grief is more than I can bear. You've written lovely memories of your mother; thank you for sharing them with us.

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