Just lost your parents?

I remember the story that a friend told me after her father died, her mother had passed on a few years earlier.

She told me that losing her parents had been a big stressor in many ways.

Most unexpectedly however was  the feeling that she’d finally grown up after her Dad died. I asked her what she meant, she was 55 years old after all.

“Now there’s no one looking after me. I had always knew Mum and Dad where there for me and even though I have children and grandchildren of my own, I still had this safety net of my parents.

 “Now I’m the matriarch of the family and that buffer between me and the end of my life has gone.”

“I feel like I’ve been forced to grow up quick smart, face my own mortality, it’s quite a blow and I don’t know if I really want this responsibility!

It made me realize how lucky I am to have my parents still but also made me question my feelings surrounding being a daughter and a “grown up” at the same time. I came to the conclusion, despite my sometimes volatile relationship with my Mum, I am still her little big girl and I like that I can turn to her or Dad when the chips are down.

But of course my parents won’t always be there and, like my friend, I’m not so sure I want to be the matriarch in my family. I think that’s why collecting family stories has become more important as I grow older, it helps keep my colourful family intact for generations that follow.

Remembering these special people; who they are, what they did and how they were; is powerful stuff that helps us understand ourselves and our place in the world.

If you are parentless and have a story to share about your experience, we’d like to hear it.