Present Tense

On losing a parent…

family

Now, I understand.

Losing a parent. I’ve seen plenty of people go through it, but you never really understand until it’s you. My dad died suddenly last week at 93, leaving behind my 93 year-old mother and four children, who are all trying to help and support our mother, while processing our own feelings of shock and loss.

Losing a parent leaves you feeling like a trap door just opened underneath you; like your tether to a fixed object has just been cut, leaving you floating helplessly in space.   It smacks you between the eyes with the vivid truth that you are a grown-up and now is the time to act like one, despite whatever family dynamic you’ve been used to.

I’m the youngest child or as my mom still says when she introduces me to people, “the baby”. When that’s your label for over 50 years, it sinks in. I know that my mom uses that label with affection, but it can mean that you’re never quite taken seriously as a functioning member of the family; I’ve always kind of hated that role. All of my siblings are at least a decade older and I’ve always felt little ‘apart’ from them, since they all grew up in a herd, while I was solo as a child. “The Baby”.

None of that really matters now, since death and loss bring people together in a way that no other event can. We will find a way forward and I like to think something positive will come from this; a deeper understanding of how our parents formed all of us and maybe a commitment to stay a little more connected as a family. We all have one common purpose now and that is my mother’s care and welfare. That makes for a very powerful bond.

So, as I grieve the loss of my sweet father, I will continue to write. It’s helpful for me as I sort through my feelings and think about his legacy. Judging from the many visitors and well-wishers over the past few days, he had a great impact on a lot of people that are complete strangers to me. That’s a good feeling during a very difficult time.

 

April 15, 2014 - Posted by | Musings

43 Comments »

  1. Jane, my prayers remain with all of you as you walk this road. You are right when you speak of the process — no doubt it will take a while. Peace to you.

    Comment by Susan Herr | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  2. Sorry…

    Comment by bgoffe2013 | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  3. Take care of yourself during this sad time. Losing my parents made me feel like an orphan, even at the age of 53. Hold tight to your family no matter the dynamic.

    Comment by Sharon | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  4. Jane, continuing to think of you and your family as you celebrate your dad’s life and take care of your mom as well as yourselves. I know in the not too distant future I will be faced with the same scenario…glad you have your writing to help you get through the loss.

    Comment by Carolyn Noroski Stillman | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  5. Jane, I know too well how difficult this is, I lost my father January 25, 2011 and my mom April 9, 2011. I will not say it gets easier with time because it doesn’t; the waves just get softer. Take care of your mom and you!

    Comment by Dianna Marquez | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  6. Jane, I am so sorry for your loss. It is such a sobering event, and having lost both of my parents, I understand what you are feeling. I hope you find peace and happiness in the many memories you hold dear to you. I think of you daily and hope that the pain you are feeling eases with time.

    Comment by Kerri Radicella | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  7. Thoughts are with you, Jane. It’s sort of the hardest of all to lose your dad…he is our tether. Glad you have your family and your writing. And your mom will need you more than ever now. Take good care.

    Comment by Francesca Amari, Audiobook Director | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  8. Thank You Jane. Healing vibes sent your way. Your Dad was and is a great man. May peace and love flood your heart.

    Comment by benzintensiveme | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  9. Reblogged this on benzintensiveme's Blog and commented:
    Thank You Jane.

    Thank You Jane. Peace and Love to you.

    Comment by benzintensiveme | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  10. Just a few years ago, I was put in the position of being the mature, responsible one, having to make decisions about the end of my father’s life when my mother couldn’t bare it. Being in that strange, switched around position of a child parenting a parent feels topsy-turvy and yet exactly the way it should be – all while dealing with the loss of a parent. It’s horrible. You are so lucky to have siblings to share the burden, emotion and strength. The only way to get through it is to just plug through, doing what needs to be done, having faith that your dad is now okay and watching over all of you. It doesn’t get easier, it just shifts around from time to time. I know you only through the radio and your blog but I feel for you like you are a friend. Feel the moments of peace whenever you can, Jane – you and your family. Revel in them. Take care.

    Comment by Courtney Drake-McDonough | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  11. I know you must still be reeling, Jane. The fact that your Dad (from my understanding) was active and felt good into his 90s was a blessing for him, but the suddenness of his passing must be incredibly difficult for you and your family. You’re in my thoughts. Losing a parent changes your reality. (Your trap door analogy is apt.) You are forced, finally, to be a grown-up. I hope time eases your grief. It’s a cliche, but you know that your Dad would want you, eventually, to put aside the sorrow and be happy again. You’re in my thoughts.

    Comment by moparaventi | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  12. Jane, my heart breaks with yours over the loss of your father. My dad’s birthday is today and it brings your loss to the forefront. I grieve the loss of birthdays with you along with dadisms and the pats on the back. We will all be here with you as you move through the process. We will cry and send love to you as often as you have a need. Love and peace to you.

    Comment by kandisnz | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  13. As I stated before Jane, I am sorry for the loss of your dad. I think your post here really helps put things in perspective, especially for someone like me who’s parents are assuming similar roles of care giver and the afflicted. I know my time will come to be in your shoes and I do not relish that fact as they have always been there when needed. It is hard to see my mom have diminished capacity to understand and be included in basic conversations. I appreciate you sharing with us during your time of sadness and grief. Tim

    Comment by Tim Lankerd | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  14. So sorry for your loss, Jane.

    Comment by gina | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  15. Jane, I was at live audience Friday 4/4, we spoke of your parents that morning. I can only imagine your great loss and sadness. May you find light and love with your siblings and mother. Peace be with you – Dayna

    Comment by Dayna | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  16. My condolences for your loss, Jane. I’ve been thinking of you since your voice was not on the radio these past days. I am so glad you moved when you did and had time close to your family. A big hug to you! May your dad rest in peace…

    Comment by Nina | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  17. I am so sorry for your loss. No matter the age of the parent or the child it’s a kick in the gut. My dad has been gone nearly 4 years. I still miss him and talk to the air and tell him and my mom on how much I miss them. It gets better, but I think it will always be there. The feeling of loss.

    Comment by Nancy | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  18. So sorry to hear about your father Jane. I always enjoy hearing stories about your parents on the radio. What a blessing that you got to move when you did and spend more time with your family. Take care.

    Comment by Michelle | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  19. Jane, I am so, so sorry for your loss! I lost my 10 yo son suddenly 5 weeks ago, and so I grieve with you. I have no words or cliches that can help with the pain. All I can say is, I know how you are feeling and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Comment by Tami | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  20. So sorry to hear the news of your Dad’s passing. I haven’t lost either parent yet but can relate to your story of being “the baby” and separate of the other older siblings. Dad’s are special and sounds like you had a great relationship with him. I’m sure you will find stories from friends comfort you and your family as you remember the impact he made on your lives. Losing a family member, no matter what age is tough.

    Comment by Karri Smith, Owner of Mile High Pup Stop | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  21. So sorry! It does fell like having the rug yanked out from under you and it (grief) will sneak up on you at the oddest moments! Thinking of you!

    Comment by Courtney | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  22. So sorry about your loss, Jane to you and your family. It was sweet of you to always share your family on the morning show.

    Comment by cathy | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  23. Thinking of you and wishing you peace and comfort during this incredibly difficult time. Always remember HOW PROUD you made your father. You make the world a better place every single day and brighten so many people’s lives with your wit, humor, intelligence, and compassion. He was so lucky to have you as a daughter and was infinitely proud of you and your tremendous success. Hopefully you and your siblings and mother will find comfort in your memories, and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here. Take good care of yourself.

    Comment by Rachel | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  24. Jane.
    You and your family are in my prayers. We recently lost my mother in law and my husband had to “grow up” fast as he is an only child. God Bless your father. Our sincere condolences.

    Comment by Dawne Berlinski | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  25. I’m so sorry for you and your family. I lost my mom 2 years ago and my dad back in 1993 and it’s been an adjustment. You’re in my thoughts, please take care of yourself.

    Comment by Tania Watson | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  26. Thinking of you Jane. Big Hugs…and yes that punch between the eyes…it’s always when you least expect it.

    Comment by meekocat | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  27. Jane, I am so sorry for your loss. Your blog could have been like reading one I had written. I am 52 and my brothers are 9 and 12 years older than me – I have always been the “baby” of the family. I felt that same trap door opening and tether being cut – it was so strange. I also felt like a little girl again and the thought of navigating life without my dad was very difficult. It’s been 10 years and I still miss him greatly. You and your family will be in my prayers.

    Comment by Kim Brown | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  28. Jane, I am sorry for you and yours. It is a process and you will get through it. Prayers to your mom who lost her life partner, and your siblings as well. Come back when you are ready – feelings can’t be rushed!

    Comment by Pam | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  29. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. In a small way I feel your loss since you have been so gracious to share your family with all of us. Take care of yourself.

    Comment by Lisa Flanigan | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  30. Jane, I lost my mom at age 28 – I’m now 54. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I know this is such a hard time, eventually you will get through it. My thoughts and prayers are with you and you family. Be strong, enjoy the memories even though it’s painful now.

    Comment by Janna Walls | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  31. Dear Jane, sorry for your loss. It is sad to loose your Daddy. Remember all the sweet times. You will see him again when Jesus Christ returns.💗

    Comment by Susan Barton | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  32. Thinking of you and your family during this sad time of transition. I love reading what you have to say and how effectively you communicate your thoughts and feelings. I hope your continued taps on the keyboard bring you comfort and help you start to feel better very soon. Looking forward to hearing your voice when you are ready to return. Sending prayers to you all!

    Comment by Becky Owston | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  33. Jane my thoughts and prayer to you and yor family during this difficult time. Loosing family is never easy but may your many memories bring you comfort.

    Comment by louise | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  34. Jane, I am very sorry to hear about your father. My daughter and I listen to you most everyday on the way to work, and you have done so much to help us get our day off to a good start. I hope the support and comfort from your listeners will help you through this difficult time. I lost my Mom when I was 35, and as the baby of my family it really hit me hard. I think some people struggle to understand just how hard it is to lose a parent as an adult. I just wanted to offer my condolences.

    Comment by Phil Gentry | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  35. Prayers sent your way. I can only imagine what the loss would feel like.

    Comment by Sandy Correia | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  36. I’m also “the baby”. Lost my dad 4 years ago. My heart is with you. I miss him every day, but helping my mom helps me. It doesn’t get easier, but it will get different. Life will go on and sometimes you’ll feel guilty for that, but know that he would have wanted you to be happy. Hugs.

    Comment by Christy Ochs | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  37. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

    Comment by Paulina | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  38. We are all thinking of you and your family Jane, take care.

    Comment by Chanpheng Botham | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  39. Jane, we’ve been friends for a long time but you don’t know me. I’ve been listening to you and Dom for many years. You gave me a distraction from my worries when my parents were aging and sick, and I was the only caregiver with a brother in Kentucky who hadn’t spoken to my parents in years. My parents died within 8 months of each other. Your voice and laughs eventually brought me out of my grief. You cheered me every day as I drove to work until I retired in 2007. I hope that somehow knowing how much you’ve helped others…will help you. So sorry for your loss.

    Comment by Sue Bisgard | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  40. My neighbor and I are long time Kimn listeners, way before you arrived. We remember the Kimn chicken! So when we didn’t hear you on the radio, or anything about you we thought you had just left us, like several Kimn personalities before you!! Then we wondered about your elderly parents
    and thought the worst! We are so sorry to hear of the loss of your father! I lost my Dad several years ago to Alzheimer’s and my neighbor, Kelsey, lost her father about the same time to pancreatic cancer. I think about my Dad every day! Sometimes it bring smiles, sometimes tears. We know what you are going through. Sending prayers to you and your family! Take care! We miss you!!

    Comment by Nickie Mason | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  41. thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

    Comment by diane | April 15, 2014 | Reply

  42. Hello Jane, I was away visiting my mother, when this sad news broke. Please accept my deepest sympathies.

    I went back east to share the first wedding anniversary my mother would spend witout my father; it would have been their 59th. My Father died on Christmas Day 2013. It has been so difficult. He is the reason I live here in the U.S. My mother and he adopted me from Korea over 50 years ago. I am a proud Air Force “brat” who will never forget how blessed I truly am. I think of my Dad everyday, often wanting call him to share some silly story about the dog or my husband or both.

    Care for your Mom. Be there in the small hours; they are the loneliest for the one left behind. Care for yourself. Your path has abruptly changed. Care for your husband. He is your rudder, assiting in guiding you through the pain.

    Comment by Sharon, FODandJ | April 16, 2014 | Reply

  43. So thankful you have the words to help you grieve in a healthy way. We can all learn through your process. Thank you for sharing your heart and being vulnerable. It shows your great strength.

    Comment by talktraffic28 | April 17, 2014 | Reply


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