I’m no psychologist, but I have a theory about parental death at a young age. Of course we’re sad or we hold on to things a little too hard or we hold onto nothing at all. Sometimes we’re so afraid we’re going to die before our children are ready that we wonder why we had them if we’re only going to hurt them by leaving. Sometimes we’re so angry, even decades after the loss, when our friends are angry at their own parents. Like a child, I want to lash out at least you have them. When I see my friends’ children lose their grandfather, a silent cry screams from my soul, I offer condolences and cook meals. Part of me is blessed that my kids won’t lose my dad, that I took all that pain for them.
But we’re different in another way.
I found it when you lose a parent too young, parts if you don’t mature anymore. I’ve remained 13… and I’ve seen so many others lost in their given age. The age their parent passed. No longer able to grow certain parts. Nothing specific. Just parts don’t grow and it shows up in different ways as our age progresses. Parts of me are so immature, so unable to process, so unable to adult. And I see my friends lose their parents right beside me in their 30s and 40s and 50s, and they seem so much older and wiser. It hurts them so much, of course- Lord, their pain is unbearable to see. And they have to be strong- for themselves, for their families, for young children who don’t understand.
But they have this preparedness for life that I don’t understand. I want to. But part of me is trapped in a hospital room, holding someone I never thought I’d say goodbye to, listening to this man drown in his own fluids, laying in a bed. And I’m still just 13. My anxiety and my sadness and all the parts of me that I wish were likeable, that I wish were mature that I would just grow up.
I never will. And I hate that. And I miss him. I was robbed of childhood and adulthood. And being someone anyone ever thought of as normal. So if you’ve stuck with me. If you’ve been my friend… You are so appreciated. I need you so.
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