As a parent I can not imagine what it would be like to loose your children. To have them die before you. Once would be terrible, but I can not even begin to imagine twice. My best friend passed away in 1995, at the age of 34, from complications of AIDS. His parents were, as you would expect, devastated. No parents ever expect to have to outlive their children. These people have always been like a second family to me, so I am always in contact with them, my son calls them grandma& grandpa and they were photographed with me when I graduated from college, they attended my wedding. So, several weeks ago when mom fell and broke her hip Max and I were right out to the nursing home to visit. That was when she told me that her daughter, who was just a few years older than me, was dying of cancer. It was just a matter of time since it had gotten to her brain.
I was shocked. She had moved back home to live with them, the same as their son had done before her, and they had been so busy with this new situation that she apologized for not calling. I told her that under the circumstances I could totally understand.What do you say to someone who is about to loose their second child? To have had to watch them be consumed by another debilitating disease.
She passed away the day before Thanksgiving. Mom & Dad are even more bereft because they did not make it to the hospital in time. Mom is still walking with a walker, recovering from the hip and can not leave the house and dad just did not get there in time after the hospital called. Now they are beating themselves up for not being there for her at the last few moments of her life.
They have a third child, a son. He is a few years older yet and also has moved back home with them. He has had several small strokes and is not quite able to live on his own any longer. He is a shell of the former guy that I knew in high school. They have their hands full. At a time in their lives when they should be traveling and enjoying their retirement they have these multiple worries. I cry because I can not imagine the size of their grief. I plan to try and see them more than I have because I hope to alleviate a tiny bit of their grief and give them something to think about that may not be quite so sad.
I can not imagine how they will make it through the holidays, but they are blessed with grandchildren, from their daughter, and the three of us will go over and mom will still make my favorite cooked cookies and fudge, and I will take it and relish another holiday that I have them with me.