30-something orphan

17 Sep

Original sketch by Doodlemum

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.


15 Responses to “30-something orphan”

  1. jfb57 September 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    I can remember vividly thinking that I was now an orphan a couple of days after my mother’s funeral. She died almost two years to the day after my father. It felt very scary indeed!

  2. Tara September 17, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    I had never thought of it like that H. I guess it’s something most of us take for granted, having a parent in the background to comfort us even when we think we don’t need them.
    I’m so sorry my lovely. Wishing you peace x

  3. Love It (Ruth) (@loveitloveit) September 17, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    Much love to you. x

  4. TheBoyandMe September 18, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Oh, I’m so sorry for you having to feel such a sobering and lonely thought. Can’t imagine, chin up.

  5. scribblingmum September 18, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    I read this yesterday and been thinking about it loads. It’s true, such an obvious fact, but we just take for granted that our parents will always be there. I can only imagine how hard your Mum fought to stay with her girls, but I do know that doesn’t make it any easier. Big hugs to you. x

  6. byebyebirdie September 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    your heartfelt post made me think of an Emerson quote i heard some years ago ..

    “sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect. the wisest know nothing.”


  7. The Mad House September 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    I too am a 30 something, or should that be nearly 4-0 year old orphan. I feel as though I have lost my anchor and am all at sea. I am the matriarch of our family now, it is down to me.

  8. kelloggsville September 18, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

    Aren’t we lucky to have had such incredible parents we feel their loss so badly.

    I’m not sure either of those comments actually change the pain. Hugs.x

  9. Alexander Residence September 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Hello you. I just found out about this post from Jen’s blog, which was strange as I was mentioning Jen in a post about grieving and our inner children. It seems the three of us have been having similar thoughts. I suddenly felt so alone dealing with my daughter’s 5th birthday last week, even though I wasn’t. It was a mum shaped hole. We have to look after our own inner child don’t we, mine has been playing all sorts of tricks on me I now realise.
    You’ve put it perfectly and made me feel less alone.

  10. gest1971 September 25, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    OMG, I read your blog and could have written the same words myself. I lost my dad last November. My mom died 8 years ago. I am turning 40 in the next few months and feel so lonly some times. It feels silly too. I had a flat tire and thought, God I wish I could call dad. I got a promotion and thought about how much I miss them both. You think many people before us have gone through it and I don’t remember them talking about it, but this really is lonely.
    But the previous person who said we should celebrate how lucky we are to have had such wonderful parents is correct. Sadly, it just makes me miss them more.
    It does however make me cherish family more. My husband is clueless to the losses I have experienced. He too loved my parents and sympathized for me. He tries to help and understand but has not gone through the multiple losses of dear friends who died tragically and young, close family members and parents, and least not almost losing my only sibling to cancer. (Thankfully, he is still here and my best friend).
    What I found helpful was I planned a family vacation this year. I didn’t get to have my parents there, but I had my in laws and my brother’s family there. I recieved much debate from the various family members who said we were all too busy. Well, my sister in law and I decided to just do it. We booked a house at the beach. We chose the week and extended the invitation with the understanding that if they could come, we would love it, but if they couldn’t, we were still going.
    They all came. They all had a wonderful time and were asking to do it every year before we put our bags down. Sigh.
    I guess being away for a week with my inlaws, etc can be difficult, but my children had the time of their lives and my husband got to spend time with his parents he never would have done on his own. I am thinking that someday they will thank me for planning and executing these vacations and have many memories to cherish that I wish I had.
    Thank you for posting. It truly spoke to me and made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

  11. Mrs TeePot September 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    I’m not sure what to say really, you’re right of course and it’s quite a scary thought. I just hope you are holding up ok


  1. Guest posts, October 2011 | SENESCENCE - October 1, 2011

    […] https://marketingtomilk.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/30-something-orphan/ […]

  2. Little Legacy #12 Failproof chocolate cake | My Blog - December 15, 2011

    […] about her son being 8 alongside her 8 year old inner self. Marketing to Milk wrote about being a 30-something orphan. I was also chatting to Sandra from Thinking Slimmer, the amazing weight loss podcast I am […]

  3. Little Legacy #12 Failproof chocolate cake | The Alexander Residence - January 16, 2012

    […] about her son being 8 alongside her 8 year old inner self. Marketing to Milk wrote about being a 30-something orphan. I was also chatting to Sandra from Thinking Slimmer, the amazing weight loss podcast I am […]

I'm all about the debate. Would love to hear what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: