The Long Goodbye...

by Sheila Strassburg
(Lewiston, NY)

My father was a heroic man who remained cheerful right up until the end of his life. I took care of him after my mother and his wife of 50 years died suddenly of a heart attack.

His love of 50 years and my Mom of 49 years....... gone....poof! The grief was like a lead brick on our chest. The loss of Mom was profound, extreme and vast. Dad felt guilty that she, not he, was taken. It took a lot of work to keep him from slipping away from loneliness and self-imposed guilt.

Dad was dying of Cancer and Mom was his caregiver, so when she passed, I quit my job and with the help of our local Hospice, I took over to finish the job she started. My final tribute to her, so I thought. I was wrong, it was more than that.

During the next 13 months I learned that I had the been blessed with the hardest teaching assignment of my life. I was back to school learning the most profound lessons of life. I learned about loss, about love, about cheerfulness in the face of uncertanty. I learned that some of the hardest, fulfilling, most exhausting lessons in life are also the best lessons. Too many to post here.

It has been a little over a year since Dad has passed and almost 3 since Mom passed. It has been lonely and sad. It has been isolating, painful, depressing and reflective.

I have taken this time to exhale.... to reflect on the quiet times and our deep conversations about life and death. I think about my life with them and I smile and cry. I miss them dearly and completely.

They were my parents - my example, my teachers, my mentors, my beloved. Two fabulous individuals unique and alike in so many ways. I love them now, always and forever.

Comments for The Long Goodbye...

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Jun 02, 2009
In my prayers...
by: Ashley Beard

What you wrote brought tears to my eyes! I could not even stand the thought of losing my parents; thankfully they are healthy now. But, my grandparents are getting older and my "Nana" has been ill for awhile now. It is so depressing because I can't change it and I want them to live forever, but I know that is an impossible request. Your parents were lucky to have such a caring and loving daughter!

Jun 02, 2009
Wished you would have written more
by: Anonymous

Your words are exactly what I feel. I am also hurting the very way you describe the pain. Is there a time when it gets easier? Your words are like medicine. Thank you Sheila. Thank you.

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