My parents deaths back to back in 2017 and 2018 was abnormal in how it happened. But for me it is normal as its how life is. In the process of grief and the pain of loss I am reminded by others that what is my “normal” is actually abnormal.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 134:18 NIV
In January I was sitting in a counselors office. I was a few weeks out form my Dad’s funeral and was also dealing with my Mom’s death which happened a year prior. So there I was sitting on the couch after weeping in grief. The counselor explained to me that I was in a more difficult spot because its rare for a person to lose both their parents while they are in their 40’s. I sat there listening to this all in a state of disbelief. It was explained to me that usually one parent dies and then the second ones dies after a period of living. So in my 40’s I am in a position many people are when they are in their 60’s. To lose both back to back when I was younger is rare and the counselor explained that she really didn’t have many situations like mine that walked into her office.
So after the counseling session I walked away. My world was turned upside down. This was my new normal it felt. Even though I am numb to all that happened. I often feel like this is my “normal” but then I have an occasional situation which challenges that thought. Let me illustrate. Recently I was at the gym working out and exercising. I do weight lifting and swimming three to four times a week. After working out I struck up a conversation with another gym patron. He asked me, “Why did you join _______ gym?” He pointed out that it was more expensive than others. And I responded and told them that I went though two deaths back to back and wanted to do something different to shake things up. In my mind talking about two deaths is normal. But when this guy heard he got emotional and said that he can’t imagine losing one of his parents so soon. But then both? He was stunned and expressed his condolences. I stood there listening to this and what I think is normal is actually very abnormal. But in the bubble of pain that I am in it feels normal because I am constantly reminded of it. Yet its those outside the bubble who remind me that this is an abnormal situation. I love my parents deeply and can’t believe they are gone.