The constant reminders that my parents lived and gave

James Martin

Both of my parents have died during an eighteen month period. My mother and father were elderly, 78 and 73 years old respectfully. Each had several illnesses that worsened over time. Nevertheless, their deaths have had a devastating effect on me. Charles and Etta were good people. Not without faults mind you, but parents any son could be proud of. My faith in God is due to my father's undying belief in his ministerial calling. My mother's strong sense of her own being has been a healthy balance.

I think about my parents each and everyday. At any point during the day some word, event, or face will bring back something in my past. Other times, I sit catatonic for several minutes reliving some moment in time that I might have thought was long forgotten. Many times there is no trigger for these periods of reminiscing. They are my constant companions, never letting me forget who and why I am.

My father, Charles died on February 7, 1996. Still, his death seems to be an illusion. His face, voice, personality, and every fiber of being are present in everything that I am. Rather than forget my father's features over time, he seems more vivid today than ever. I truly believe that I carry enough of my father in me so that his death is only complete upon my death. Or maybe his death was really my death? I really do not know other than my grief and devastation is as great today as it was on February 7, 1996.

My mother's death just three weeks ago has further complicated the grieving process. I watched a woman become merely a shell of herself. My mother died on June 21, 1997 ravaged by strokes, infections, and cancer. The doctor suggested that we take no "heroic" efforts in prolonging my mother's life. I replied that we were doing the "heroic" act by accepting the inevitable and saying goodbye.

Since losing both of my parents, death has been my constant companion. It constantly hangs over my head much like a black cloud. Smiling, laughing, satisfaction, or any type of contentment brings a flood of guilt. My life has been altered in many incalculable ways. Hopefully, the experts are correct and in time the wounds of the heart will eventually heal. Life must go on and I deserve that much. Still, the pain is there and remains as such.

James Martin

You can send email to James at: [email protected]
mail welcome

anniversary date Father: 02-07-96 Mother: 06-21-97
date of post 07-10-97

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW