Coinneach Shanks: A Psychotherapist in Dublin, Ireland
Monday, July 16, 2012
The death of a parent is never easy to accept, no matter the circumstances. Even if we consider ourselves "well prepared", it always comes as surprise. Perhaps it's because we are always the child in relation to our parents. When we are older, the gap caused by the loss of a parent is hard to fill - if that can ever be achieved. Parents are the lynch pins of a network of social relations, customs and rituals with which we are familiar and that we love. We lose a voice that has spoken to us for so many years, that we continue to speak back. How many of us have reached for the telephone to call a mother who has long departed? We long continue to enact fragments of that relationship although the other has gone. When my wife's mother Eleonora died recently at 86 years, it was after an illness, but her death shook the foundations of the rest of the family. She had been the focus of care for some time and of course we were all anxious about her. She spent her last years in the comforting surroundings of her home in Rome where she lived for many years, cared for by her daughters whom she loved dearly and who loved her. Her daughters' sorrow is deep. But Eleonora will continue to be remembered fondly by those she left behind and in their memories her life continues. Because our parents live on as part of ourselves.