The pain of losing a parent is overwhelming. It has been over eleven years since my dad passed and over three years since my mom passed. Most days, even though I still find myself reaching for the phone to call them, I can manage the loss. But every so often, there is a glaring reminder to make me deal with that sense of loss all over again. It may be a completely banal event but the flood of feelings cannot be stopped.
Last night, it was a television commercial for the Heart and Stroke Foundation with Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette. Joannie lost her mom only 2 days before she competed in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 and every time I see the reminder of her story I am reduced to tears. I know that loss all too well. I feel the pain her heart feels. But what I can’t imagine is having to perform at the highest level of competition a mere two days after losing her best friend.
The pain of loss never really goes away. It lies just below the surface, ready to surprise us at any moment. It can come back gradually or it can hit us all at once. Regardless of how it arrives, I am now able to remind myself that the pain is so hard to take because it represents the huge amount of love we had in our family. It doesn’t stop the tears from flowing, but now I can smile a little through those tears.