However old they are when they pass, your parents pass too soon. For you, at least. You are, and always have been, their child, and a child is born to and cared for by these folk who are always somewhere in your orbit, never completely out of reach. Until they are. It’s one of the most deeply felt yet indescribable experiences we can have. If you’ve experienced this loss–and even more, if you haven’t yet–you will want to read Megan McArdle’s sublime recent meditation on the loss of her mother.
In the empty days after the hospital, I cleared a space on my own shelves and brought her copper pans home. The turbot pan, it turns out, just fits in my oven. Mom originally bought it thinking she could use it to roast a Thanksgiving turkey. This coming November, it will fulfill its destiny.
All through that awful week, every time I started to cry, I picked up another piece and began polishing. I didn’t know what else to do. Nothing prepares you to lose your mother because, for you, there has never been a world without her in it. You floated through your days unaware that you were sustained by knowing she would be there to return to, in triumph or disaster.
All you can do after is find things to fill the void, ideally things that remind you of her. I polished copper and remembered how much love can be packed into the smallest acts, and what comfort can be found in performing them.
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