WHEN YOU ARE THE LAST ONE LEFTMay 2nd, 2013 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog
Living With Loss
If you are the last of your family, as all the other significant members have passed on, an empty hole, hard, if not impossible, to fill, seems to characterize your emotional state. At 74, and an only child, losing my parents has meant that that mysterious connectedness which has been with me all my life is now in the past. You are now quite alone. Although you likely have created other significant alliances that have helped you get through life, those most intimate and emotionally significant to you are now gone.
Those who have enjoyed and celebrated having siblings or geographically close relatives of one ilk or another have the memorable joy of some important unions. Some find the fraternity of long time friends to be helpful in cementing significant relationships. There is, for most of us, the need to cultivate those ties that give us some sense of significant connections in our lives.
Along the way our childhood friends fade as we move up and move on into other phases of life’s journey. Even those with whom we find ourselves bound during school days, college and early adult life, disappear as the demands of just living and being take over.
Trying to find ways to stay in touch becomes more and more of an easily dropped practice.
Obituaries increase in number and among those listed are many who are remembered fondly.
Reaching out periodically for one last “hale and farewell” is often a vain attempt that brings the news that one more colleague has left this mortal earth.
The cold breezes of death that blow ever increasingly as daily life takes on so much change, so many reminders that our own lives are so temporary and those who have helped it to be what it is like us are fading away.
Coping Brings Celebrations
When we are the last one’s left, or about so, it is fitting that we find ways to bind hearts and souls together in a genuinely meaningful celebration of that which still means so much. It is also an exercise in recognizing just how many of the saints, who may be just hanging on, to affirm how precious they yet are to us.
Sharing in the warm greetings with those who were thoughtful to drop by at the Visitation, gazing out over the crowd who gathered at the grave side stirred the most sincere feelings of long term genuinely regarded affection that has covered a life time. These were among the rewards of Mom’s 94 years and an accumulation of those many endearing loved ones who loved and respected her so much.
For those of us who remain, we will now rely on memory, stirrings of long held and precious recollections that will pull at our heart strings. Momma, you are missed, you are held in deep and lasting ways that only time can resurrect. Our bond is secure. Life’s deepest meanings are now the means by which we are so firmly and lastingly held together. Those who have experienced the last farewell, who hold on to the fondness of life’s purest and deepest known love are aware of the disconnect, the pain, the hole, the separation that now is so real.
So it must be. And so will it ever be from this day on. On the darkest nights, during those tear filled days, as memories prompt, as pain edges its way into our thoughts our lives will be brushed with hurt, with sadness, with an alienation that seeks some form of fulfillment.
Momma, help us to cope, to struggle with being the last one left. Help us know you are the love of life that will visit us when we need you most.