Being an orphaned adult was a term I found to be a curious one until I became one.  The term can be used to describe who we are after both parents have died.

My remaining parent, Mum died 4 years ago, and I miss her in so many ways.  Her smile, her generosity, love companionship, and sage wisdom.  Wisdom gained from living life.

When Mother’s Day comes around, it’s always a sharp reminder of the fact my mother is no longer in my life.  No more garden center trips to buy each other flowers on Mother’s Day.  She always enjoyed gardening. When my parents moved into an apartment, they made sure they had a balcony so mum could continue to plant flowers in her pots. They were placed to enjoy from indoors and they especially loved sitting out there among their plants too.

Garden Center Avoidance

I no longer feel the urge to visit the garden centers on Mother’s Day, preferring instead to avoid them because it’s a sharp reminder of what I no longer have in my life. Seeing daughters with their moms, chatting, and being together made me feel sad.  I’m not jealous at all, I’m happy to see them creating memories as we once did.  I know all too soon, those daughters will stand beside me in a way when it is their mother’s turn to leave this earth.

It’s strange to think, as adults we should know how to live and be OK without our parents in our lives.  The fact is, we’re not.  To me, it seemed with each death, I was reduced to a child again.  It wasn’t the adult me that remained but my emotions were that of a child.  I became fearful, and resentful, could temper tantrum so easily and wail.  In a way, I became a frightened child again unsure of her way in the world.  Scared for my own survival without my parent’s comfort.

When you think of it, our parents are with us throughout our lives. We’ve never known life or imagined what our lives would be like without them.  It’s as if our safety wheels were removed.  We are unbalanced until we get the hang of riding the bike without them.

It takes time for us to become the balanced adults we were before their death.  However, we eventually find our way.  Until we are reminded of who is no longer in our lives. The pangs of sadness return as we remember our moms on Mother’s Day. Just for a moment, we become unbalanced.

Being Orphaned

Being orphaned means we must go through these celebrations on our own without the comfort of our other parent. 

For many orphaned adults, like myself, we’ll enjoy the day with our own children but if you glance at us, you may catch a teardrop as we delve back into our memories of yesteryear when our Mothers were alive.  It’s when the memories of the Mother’s Day rituals we did together surface and catch us off guard.

Once, I’ve shed my tear, I’ll make plans to go to the garden center the following week for my plants and will add some of mom’s favorites to plant in my garden in her memory.

I think it’s so important to continue to share our memories to pass along and keep old rituals alive or to create a new one. To me it is a way of honoring our loved ones in ways that are meaningful to us.

What are your thoughts on being orphaned on this special day?

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