Today marks the 4th anniversary of my father’s death. It is also 5 months exactly since I lost my mum. Two journeys, both with many more miles to tred.
This week I locked myself out of the house. Returning from a hard day’s work – forlorn, within an inch of my patience. Two tired children yelping and jumping at my knees like impatient, rivalrous puppies vying for attention. A childminder desparate to reclaim her family home, a husband tied up in another meeting, neighbours immersed in their own bedtime squabbles. My desparate calls unanswered – two, three, four times.
And as I stood on my own doorstep I have never felt so alone.
When you lose your parents, you cease to be someone’s child. An obvious point, but in that subtle twist of perception is something more significant. The moment you are orphaned you lose the people whose primary role is to protect you. Unconditional, instinctive, tribal. This is no comment on my loyal husband who I love dearly, or my sister who is truly exceptional. Yet as peers, the needs of our own families must come first. The selfless, unquestioning devotion is focussed on the children whose lives we have been entrusted to protect, nurture, bring to fruition.
And the truth is, my parent’s job was done.
Yet the vulnerable needy child in you is always there. The infant yearning to be wrapped in its mother’s arms, safe from the loom of the bogeyman. We still crave to hear those words “Don’t worry darling, I’ll sort it all out for you”, to hide under the duvet and to let someone else carry the burden.
But the truth is, the buck now stops with you. There won’t always be someone else to come to the rescue. And that can be a lonely thought.