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My Thoughts On Being Parentless
Limbo and Vertigo
The past few months I have felt outside of myself, as if floating in the clouds. In limbo. Present enough to function in the day to day, but detached from more complicated matters. It began with some annoying imbalance issues and vertigo. My thoughts scattered and unstable. Brain fog had set in and, distracted, I was not able to concentrate for any period of time. My mind and body were obviously trying to tell me something.
I have found that when these issues occur in concert with one another, it is a sign that I need to slow down and reflect on the internal. In addition, I need to check in with my immediate environment and how it is affecting my overall health and well being.
When contemplating my vertigo experiences the past eight years, I realize they have all come at times of transition. I cannot fully explain this phenomenon and do not necessarily want to. It’s simply a time where I need to absorb that uncertainty and let it do its thing.
Admittedly, when experiencing the full-on effects of vertigo, I do seriously want to die. The spinning, imbalance, nausea, brain fog, listlessness is unbearable for me. I am a wimp when not feeling myself.
Luckily these sessions usually last no more that 24 hours. On the other hand, this particular time the residuals lasted several days to almost a week. Which gave me further impetus to explore the whys.
So after sitting with these recent feelings of suspension, I came to the realization that I am now indeed parentless. Dad since 2006 and mom just recently passed away. It is a bizarre and unsettling awareness. One that has me levitating between the past and the present.
There is a sensation of being untethered from whatever hold my mother and father may have had on me. And I do not mean that in a negative way. I think of it as more of a physical detachment because that is no longer possible.
Death is a natural progression for all universal beings, but it is one in which our modern human society does not do well in recognizing. Myself included. The imbalance that I have felt is a clear indication a shift is occurring. My parents are both gone, now what?
Permission to Move On
When parents move beyond the physical world, those they leave behind have permission to move on with their lives. It is a right of passage and a legacy most parents want to impart. Not an easy path for those remaining and in limbo. Flashbacks of our lives revisit us through the memories of and with our parents. There is no going back. Not that we want to in some cases, but it is the finality of that fact which stings our hearts.
The death of both parents makes moving on a necessity. There is no choice. There is no limbo in this reality.
I do admit I had been preparing for my mother’s death for some time. Wanting her to stay longer, but also not wanting to continue witnessing her decline. Besides which, in my heart I knew what her wishes were.
Mom’s tenacity helped guide her through her 70’s but it was her lung capacity after years of smoking and then the depression after the death of my father that set her life’s course once she reached the milestone of 80.
The fact that she made it to 83 was somewhat of a miracle based on the early deaths of her own parents, her mother at 61 and father at 74. They endured their parents (my great grandparents) emigration as Germans from Russia to the starkness of the Midwest. The early 1900’s through the 1930’s was a life of survival and not much else, especially in rural America. I have little doubt that depression was a prominent factor in the deaths of my grandparents and was partially responsible for eventually taking my mother.
Being Close to Death
Undertones of despair and loneliness were in mom’s voice the last few years of her life. She missed my dad and as much as she attempted to disguise it, I felt her despair in my bones. I knew where she would rather be even as she gravitated in her own kind of limbo.
On December 24th, 2022 she went into the hospital with a broken hip (which she survived). But five days later, her lungs gave up the fight and she left her physical being behind. Decoupling from her body and shifting her roots to those of the spiritual kind. I feel her everyday and am now recognizing and taking comfort in those roots she left behind.
Observing my mother for the last ten years or so, I have come to understand why some people would rather just give up this world than continue to endure the physical and emotional pain. It is just too much and for what? To satisfy the seemingly selfish needs of family and friends? To be told you will have to be hooked up to an oxygen tank for the rest of your life. Or shell out thousands of dollars for medications that just mask the issues you have while the world carries on without you?
This can be especially true if you have known a pretty good life. One where you were able to move about with ease and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Some people are not able to fathom a time when they cannot or no longer want to do these things. Mom was as independent as they come. She did and said most of what she wanted when she wanted and was physically active and in good health. Smoking had not yet affected her health directly at least into her mid 70’s. But it was indeed lurking beneath the surface and slowly doing its damage.
Toward the end, my mother’s mind and body worked in concert with one another, guiding her ultimate desire. She felt it, listened and made the decision to let go. She is now untethered from the world as I am untethered from her. We both are liberated and have permission to move on.
Image: Shadow Soul, monotype
This image represents the various shadow versions of ourselves that are revealed as we begin shedding the old, making way for the new. In regards to this article, I feel my parents are a part of these shadows, always with me and always in my heart. They are giving me the space and time to move on.