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.
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.
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