It seemed as thought this past week would never end. But it did, with a bit of bad news. My dear friend lost her mother. Her loss has brought back my loss, as the memories of those times lie very close to my consciousness, and enter with the hint of a smell, the hue of the sky, or a certain month of the year.
My friend asked me, as her mother lay dying, how long would she be this upset. I told her the truth - forever. I also told her that different people mourn differently, and experience loss differently as well. Know this - when you lose a parent, no matter how bad the relationship was, you will remember only the good. Just like childbirth, G-d has a way of making us concentrate on the positive in our parent-child relationships, since they are the ones most fraught with angst.
Time helps, in terms of adapting to life without them. But it doesn't heal the gaping hole you feel during the holidays, birthdays and other joyous events. And there's nothing like the pain of visiting them at a cemetery and reading their names on a headstone. I still haven't been able to master my emotions then, and it's been a few years.
Our parents gave us life. We give them honor and respect. If not in life, then in death. Because it's never too late to do the right thing.