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A note from an orphan

Since my mother’s passing 7 weeks ago, my in-laws, colleagues and friends have been checking up on me. They regularly ask me ‘How are you?”. My default answer is: I am coping with the loss but it feels weird to be an orphan, an unrooted parentless person.

a note

When my father died 16 years ago, I grieved. I mourned along with my family. Then my mother passed away and I feel lost. There is an expression in my mother tongue, Bahasa Indonesia; seperti layangan putus which means as a kite without string. That is what I have been feeling since she deceased.

I have never thought that being an orphan is a huge thing to deal with. Losing my final parent means I am now in the first line of the family. With the holiday season coming up, I don’t know who to call first, my eldest or my youngest sister? Normally we all called and visited our mother but she is there no more.

In my case my mother was the final parent, the one who lived longer than the other parent who died earlier. When she became a widow, we supported each other. She kept functioning as the connector, the caretaker of the family, not only for us her daughters but also as the godmother, la madre de familia, grandmother for her grandchildren and big sister for her siblings. This connecting link is gone now. And my siblings and I are doing our best to maintain the sisterly and family bond.

When she was still around, I took her for granted. I, a middle-aged woman who have my own family, took care of my business and lived my own life faraway from her. I turned to her for some advices for she was always there for me. Now that she is gone, the reality has stricken me hard that no matter how old you are, you are somebody’s child. And that adult child is now parentless.

I am aware that this void she left will not go away, it has become a part of me. This realization is strange but I need to live with it.

Image is courtesy of stocksnap.io

66 thoughts on “A note from an orphan

  1. i guess it’s time to become the anchor for your brothers and sisters ,i suppose it’s the reason we have four seasons, poignant post, my own mother passed on, and i was having this very conversation with him a couple of days ago, who centers the family, thanks for the post

    • I would carry on connecting the family with my sisters, thank you. This is poignant indeed and somehow I felt the need to share it although it is quite private. I thought, someday everyone becomes an orphan in their life.

  2. Mba Yo, ga tau kenapa aku bacanya kok merasa lebih ikut sedih dari pada waktu mba menuliskan saat mama mba tiada. Seperti layangan putus, itu yg bikin deg….. Udah beberapa hari ini aku inget orang tua terus, sedih kangen luar biasa, rasanya super cape padahal ga terlalu sibuk. Begitu baca tulisan ini langsung diingatkan bahwa aku terlalu moody mungkin karena pengaruh musim dingin. Semoga mba baik baik saja. Big hugs

    • Terima kasih Yayang. Aku ikhlas memang mamaku meninggal karena dia sakit parah. Yang lebih sedih ternyata jadi yatim piatu, ngga punya orang tua lagi.

  3. Sedih bacanya mbak. I feel the same way. After going back to Indonesia, I thought I was there for good. Now that I have my own family and live far away from mu parents, it struck me too that I have very limited time to be with them because of the distance. My prayers for you and family mbak. Xx

  4. Mbak Yo, dulu pas mamak mertuaku ngomong “Aku ngerasa kosong, kangen sama mamakku, padahal juga dulu sebellum meninggal palingan kami ketemu setahun sekalinya, tapi sekarang kok rasanya malah kangen setiap saat…kukira gak akan terlalu beda jauh, tapi ternyata rasanya beda sekali perasaan nggak punya orang tua,”
    Sekarang mbak, ‘cuma’ kepisah jarak yang gak mungkin ditempuh 2 jam seperti pas medan bandung ajapun aku ngerasa kangen banget, padahal juga kan biasanya setahun palingan ketemua 3 kali ya. Tapi kalo msh di indonesia kan kebayangnya jauh lebih ‘terjangkau’, dan aku jadi bisa merelasikan ke omongan mertuaku, saat ditinggal yang bener-bener gak terjangkau lagi.
    You have great memories with her, Mbak Yo. I think it is so nice to live with that kind of memories. Dan semoga malahan bonding ke saudara semakin kuat juga ya, Mbak. *hug*

  5. *hugs Mbak*
    bacanya ikut sedih… ungkapan perasaannya Mbak Yo kayak ungkapan perasaan Mamiku waktu Oma dr pihak mami meninggal 10 tahun lalu. Nangisnya sampe jejeritan waktu meninggalnya itu. Krn orang tua terakhir… trs mami sempet bilang dia skrg yatim piatu, kadang mau minta saran angkat telp juga gak tahu mau dial nomer siapa😦
    Yg kuat ya Mbakk…

    • Idem lah Mar perasaanku sama perasaan mama kamu. Orang tua terakhir meninggal, seperti layangan putus kayanya. Akar kita hilang. Thank you dear.

  6. Peluk hangat dari aku Mbak Yo. Semoga semakin dikuatkan Mbak Yo dan saudara2 Mbak Yo. Semoga selalu dapat menguatkan satu sama lain. Doaku untuk orangtua Mbak Yo. Aku dulu berusaha meyakini bahwa waktu akan menyembuhkan luka karena kehilangan Bapak. Tapi seiring berjalannya waktu, aku menyadari bahwa waktu tidak akan bisa memupus rasa kehilangan.

    • Makasih Deny. Tanpa mengurangi rasa hormat kamu kehilangan bapak, tapi kalo yatim piatu dan ngga punya bapak ibu lagi rasanya itu aneh. Campuran sedih dan lost. Aku musti biasain diri untuk menyandang status ini.

  7. Lotsa hugs for you from me, Lo. It’s hard and I understand your feeling. A mother always has a special place in our heart. Not much to say, but I’m thinking of you darl. xx

    • I think I would feel the same if my father was my final parent. I mean, it doesn’t have to do with mother – daughter ties, but it has more to do with the realization that I don’t have a father nor a mother anymore. I am an orphan.

  8. Mbak Yo bih hugs for you…. Aku sedih banget baca ini *brb lap air mata*

    Aku belum pernah merasakan kehilangan orang dekat…aku gak tau gimana kalau aku mengalaminya nanti…pasti berat banget. 2 minggu lalu adik kelasku kehilangan papanya. Mamanya sudah meninggal beberapa tahun silam. Being an orphan at the young age seperti layangan putus….semoga mba yo tetap dikuatkan…

    • Unrooted, ngga ada basenya lagi dan seperti bingung Jo kalo jadi yatim piatu. Mungkin aku kebanyakan dipikirin ya tapi gimana. Memang begini perasaanku. Mamaku meninggal aku ikhlas karena dia sakit parah, tapi setelah sadar aku beneran ngga punya orang tua lagi, ya sedih jadinya. Sedih campur bingung dan lost.

  9. Hi mba Yo..same here, i’m an orphan too. Dan setelah sepeninggal ibuku, kami bersaudara jadi lebih dekat dan kompak. Kami sering2 bertemu dan saling mengingatkan bahwa kami sudah tinggal bertiga, jadi tidak ada yang bisa memisahkan kami bertiga selain maut memisahkan. My pray for your parents mba. Semoga mba Yo dan yang ditinggalkan jadi lebih kuat dan makin kompak ya mba. Lots hugs for you. Xoxo

    • Ah Wita, kita bisa pelukan bareng. Hubunganku dengan kakak & adik dari dulu memang dekat. Setelah ibuku meninggal malah jadi lebih dekat. Makasih ya Wita. Take care yourself.

  10. Hugs. Thank you for sharing mbak Lorraine. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to put your feelings out there. You made it easy for others to relate. My thoughts are with you as you go through the process of grieving. May God comfort you always.

    • Penning my feelings is easy but the question was, whether I would share it here or not. It is quite a private post. Thank you for your kind words.

  11. Big hugs mba Yo. Air mata hampir netes baca post ini. Meskipun masih di Indonesia, tapi saya tinggal di kota yang berbeda dengan ortu yang artinya saya engga bisa melihat mereka setiap waktu. Semoga mba Yo dan keluarga tetap dikuatkan dalam segala hal yah *hugs*

  12. hi mba yo salam kenal🙂
    ini seperti tulisan untuk diri saya sendiri,saya nangis mba bacanya. karena saya juga sudah ditinggal ibu dan bapak saya,bapak saya meninggal waktu saya 11 batuh lalu ibu saya menyusul 8 tahun kemudian,it wasnt so easy mba for especially i was too young too accept that they are gone, i am grieving untill now,it left a mark in my heart mba.rasanya memang seperti ada lubang dihati yang gak bisa diisi oleh apapun (maaf saya curcol). semoga mba yo (dan saya) bisa tetep kuat dan tabah ya mba.

  13. Peluk hangat mba Yo. Sehangat matahari di Indonesia🙂
    “bersahabat” dengan kehilangan memang tidak mudah, aku merasakan banget waktu di tinggal oma yang emang deket banget sama aku dari kecil layaknya ibu kedua. Sampe sekarang pun kalo teringat beliau masih sedih banget karna aku emang lebih dekat sama beliau ketimbang kedua orang tuaku. Rasanya bener kayak layangan putus waktu ditinggal dia.
    Suka ga suka, sedih ga sedih, kita yang ditinggal emang mesti kuat. Kita sama sama kuatin hati ya mba. Sampai waktunya nanti kita berjumpa lagi dengan mereka.

  14. Huhu mba Yo I feel really sad reading this. I guess it’s just part of life and somehow we have to manage it, no matter how hard it is. Be strong mba Yo!

  15. big hug mbak Yo…
    aku jadi berkaca-kaca bacanya mbak, kuat ya mbak yooo
    makasi mbak yo, tulisannya ngingetin aku untuk lebih care lagi ke orang tuaku mbak

  16. Mbak Yo, my prayers are with you, I hope God grant you strength to cope with the loss.
    And thank you for writing this. It is a very powerful reminder for us, who still have parents, to be in touch with them.

    • Thank you Tje. We tend to take our parents for granted when they are around and miss them when they are not here anymore. Parents’ influence is bigger than we realize. Sorry for the late reply.

      • Yes, I did. 😊 I call my mum and grandparents more often now since I came back from holiday in Indonesia. Generally speaking I’ve become more appreciative of simple things in life and of what my mum and grandparents have done for my well-being. And your posts are a reminder to why I should keep doing so. 😊

  17. Mba Yo, semangat ya :’) Baca ini aku jadi berjanji ma diri sndiri ut sering2 telp ke rumah. Makasih banyak udah diingetin.

  18. Mbak yo, my prayers are with you..
    Yang kuat ya mbak..
    Aku ikutan sedih bacanya padahal aku belum kehilangan orang tua. Dulu waktu aku masih remaja selalu berfikir mungkin kalo jauh dari orang tua bakal enak, hidup bebas tapi semakin bertambah umur aku jadi ngerti peran orang tua terhadap anak dan sekarang malah gak bisa bayangin kalo seandainya mama aku gada yang jagain. Begitu baca post mbak yo, aku seakan ngerasain apa yg mbak yo ungkapin di post dan makin gamau kehilangan mama. Terima kasih sudah diingatkan betapa pentingnya peran orang tua dan sekali lagi, semoga mbak yo kuat dan tabah *peluk*

  19. Mba Yoyen, turut berduka ya. Ini pasti akan terjadi buat saya entah kapan tapi pasti. melihat mba Yoyen sangat sabar dan tabah menghadapi ini semua, saya salut sm mba Yoyen. Be strong mba Yoyen….

  20. I can’t imagine Yen, being lost, seperti layangan putus…really sorry for your lost…HUGS

  21. Makasih udah nulis ini, Mbak Yo. Mendadak tenggorokan sakit nih.
    Aku sendiri kehilangan Mama waktu aku masih umur 9 tahun, kayaknya udah hampir lupa gimana rasanya punya mama sendiri. Kadang kalo liat ibu2 yang kira2 umurnya seumuran mama (seandainya masih hidup), aku suka ngebayangin mungkin mamaku akan dandan seperti itu, atau mungkin bisa jadi lebih cantik, and so on. Sekarang masih ada Papa, dan pengen banget bisa jagain Papa di masa tuanya. Sementara masih jarak jauh sama Papa (ok, cuma 1,5 jam perjalanan naik pesawat), tapi aku udah bersiap untuk balik ke kampung dan stay di sana biar ga usah pake pesawat terbang kalo mau nengokin🙂. Big hug buat Mbak Yo.

    • Wah Icha,

      Maaf telat balesnya aku baru lihat karena link pos ini ke pos baru. Iya, sedih ya ngga punya ibu. Kamu masih muda sekali waktu kehilangan ibu, sekarang bisanya hanya wondering. Sending my hug & love to you.

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