Mercy dreams set the stage for loss
Another rude awakening said, “it is near”
Whispers to my heart, time has no boss
Cleanse my mind, Lord, of this fear
They say, long life, count it a blessing
I say, WAIT, subtract all that Covid stole
Consumed in a viral war of soulful lessening
Mercy dreams set the stage to make it whole
Mercy dreams repeat, it is time to let go
of time you are not the boss
This season will soon lose its flow
Grace knocked, those worries thy can toss
Rest for the weary, the stage is set anew
Heaven’s gates flung open shout WELCOME
Refreshment for thy soul, like the morning dew
Sometimes, I am lost in the loss. I will not get over it, but I will get on with it (life that is). The days leading to my father’s death were in many ways as a prisoner of war, isolated and alone for hours on end. The viral war of Covid stole the ability to be near or inside where care was prescribed. The world was opening up but the windows were still shut. “Isn’t it sad,” my sister said, “we were allowed 20 minutes to see dad outside, at a distance, and then when he died we were allowed inside for as long as we needed.” Whether it comes like a thief in the night (as with dad) or announced like the blow of a trumpet, death will come for us all. Albeit a peaceful passing, “there is [still] no experience as stunning as when there is nothing where something has always been,” Alexander Levy declared in The Orphaned Adult: Understanding and Coping with Grief and Change after the Death of Our Parents.
Mercy dreams were a shared phenomenon with my siblings. We longed for an end to the pain and suffering of our parents’ unique yet eerily similar battles. Senior care and death have never felt more “sanitized and institutionalized” than in this pandemic – even worse than anything we faced during the years of mom’s battle with Alzheimer’s. The rules keep changing, such that no one in healthcare can attest to being on top of their game. My siblings and I were ready to lose the inability to be hands on, ready to lose the overwhelm that plagued us; yet it turns out, we were never ready to lose dad. It was as if he was the anchor of them, the constant in our sense of being us, a family of seven. It begs the question, is anyone ever really ready to lose a loved one? I think not. So begins a dramatic shift, from mercy dreams preparing us for loss to hopeful dreams preparing us to go on with living. We know they would want that.
When I cry, it does not mean I am having trouble coping. In fact, it means I am coping. My faith assures me those mercy dreams will be refilled by sweetness of them living in us, in the here and now. The time has come for me to take all I have said in helping others cope and turn it inward. One day at time, I will make peace with suddenly being orphaned. No matter how old you are, the loss of both parents can make one feel adrift. It is too late for that planned ride with dad when pandemic restrictions ease. It is too late for that planned meeting of his great-grandson Leo and great-granddaughter Riley. It is too late for all the post-pandemic plans we had for him; the stage is set anew as I seek refreshment for my weary soul. I began a 44-day coloring journey. After all the darkness of this season, I am taking some time to bask in the light. I take comfort in the lessons I am learning on this path.
I am thankful for the sentiments and stories by those who read my father’s legacy, and the flowers, cards, gifts, and prayers of so many caring and loving people.
Let me know how you have coped in losing your parents – shared tools are the best tools.