The Long Goodbye...
by Sheila Strassburg
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.