On Loneliness

I’m just going to say from the outset that this is going to be long and probably depressing, so you probably won’t want to read it.

Late October is always a reflective time of year for me. My Dad died on October 20, 1987; my Mother’s birthday is October 27th (she would have turned 68 next week). This time of year, I find myself thinking particularly lonely thoughts. I wonder what my life would be like if my parents were still alive. What would they be doing these days? Would they still be living in the house I grew up in? Would they still be working? Would they be active retirees? I like to think of them visiting Mayfair on Sundays when I would be preaching. Would Dad have liked my sermon, I wonder. (I’m pretty sure Mom would like it no matter what!) I like to think of them taking us to lunch afterward, my Mom helping with the kids. Speaking of the kids, what would they think of them? I like to picture them as mobile grandparents, coming down for ball games and ballet recitals and to keep the kids so I could take Sunny somewhere special for a long weekend. I like to think about them being a part of Abby Kate, Joshua, and Jackson’s lives.

The fact that they aren’t causes me perhaps the greatest pain I’ve ever known.

So I often carry this abiding loneliness around with me. On most days, the thought of a heavenly reunion is balm for my soul. I have to confess that I sometimes daydream about introducing Sunny and the kids to my parents. I have this whole little speech in my head of what I would say in that moment; how each of the kids has certain qualities that reminds me of Mom and Dad; how Sunny helped to save me in the aftermath of their deaths. I don’t know much about heaven and I doubt it’ll go down that way, but on my wishful days I like to think about a moment like that.

But I also have to confess that sometimes, all of this isn’t enough. Sometimes the thought of being with my loved ones in heaven simply does nothing to assuage the pain I feel in the present. It’s on those days that I feel the loneliest. I used to miss my parents the most on the big days: graduations, birthdays, my wedding day, the days my kids were born. And make no mistake: those days were incredibly difficult for me. But lately, I find myself missing the little things I know I’ll never get to share with them, things like a cell phone call to talk about the ball game…calling to tell them the latest funny story about the kids…stuff like that that make up the everyday fabric of our lives. That’s what I grieve the most right now.

Sorry for the downer post, but it’s my blog and this is an honest reflection of where I’m at these days. I guess my encouragement to you is that if you still have a Mom and Dad who are still living, pick up the phone and give them a call today. Do it for me. I’d certainly do it if I could.

This entry was posted in Dad, Disappointment, Eschatology, Kids, Mom, Sunny. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to On Loneliness

  1. Sunny says:

    I sit with tears streaming down my face… I wish more than anything that your parents were still here. I would have loved to meet them. I love hearing you talk about them and you sharing with me what you remember. I am saddened that our children will also never know them. Sometimes things just don’t make much sense, but I am extremely proud of you! I am proud of the man that you are. I am proud of what you have accomplished with your studies. I am proud of the determination that you have to continue on with your doctorate work. I feel honored to sit by your side and watch you as you serve the Lord and those around you. I am proud of the father that you are. The husband that you are. Thank you for loving us!

  2. Jamey says:

    Tonight in small group we talked about our Legacy and the Legacy of our parents. From the things you’ve mentioned about your parents, it seems that they left a loving Legacy behind. I’m glad you have fond memories to remember, no matter how painful they are. Maybe somehow they are able to see you and the Godly family you and Sunny have created. I’m sure they are proud.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know whose blog I am posting to. I am in NY right now and it is 3am. I am lonely myself with regards to parental matters. I have two parents who are alive but emotionally and even physically abandoned me early on in life. I have grown up alone on the inside and effectively on the outside too because they haven’t been nor are they a presence in my life. I have spent most holidays alone and they have never celebrated my birthday. Even not sending me a card or making a phone call. I am an adult, not a young adult either. Middle aged. And yet the pain is there. For me it is more than just wanting to be in relationship with my parents. I am not married and for me, my parents and nuclear family would be my ‘family’ since I don’t have a husband or children of my own. The pain of knowing what I missed in not being raised with loving parents has at times been unbearable. And it is a very lonely feeling. Even a sence of despair at times because it is a hopeless situation. Having to have an invisible God replace them is at times absurd. Yet he says he is there for those who have no parents. Either literally don’t have them or have them but are abandoned by them. I lash out at God because he says we were not made to be alone. And I find his own word not showing true in my life because I am alone. At my age people don’t take you in. When I was a younger woman, in my 20’s I think I may have looked closer to a teenager and so people felt sorry for me with my lack of family. When you are in your 50’s you are ignored. Older with gray hair, you aren’t special.

  4. jon says:

    I often wonder the same bout my grandpa….what would he think of Stacy and the kids? I envy your ability to recall with such clarity memories of your parents and times spent with them…perhaps I take for granted some of those things since my are still living.Ditto what Sunny said about pusing on with your life and the accomplishments that you have made/are making.

  5. Jason says:

    Anonymous,I appreciate your honest response to what I’ve written. And I hope you find peace as you wrestle with loneliness. You’ve probably already come across this verse, but the Word that came to mind as I read your comment was Psalm 27:10, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” I hope you can feel His reception even in those moments of acute pain.

  6. TARA says:

    JasonI could have copied and pasted your post to my own blog. Ditto to all you said. I wish I could have more presence in your life and the lives of your children to help fill some of the void you feel. Although nobody could ever take the place of Mom and Dad, I wish I could be there more often for you and Sunny than I am able to be.I hope you can take comfort in hearing me say that our parents would be extremly proud of you in so many ways. Proud of the wife you chose, proud of the man you have become, and very proud of the children you are raising.I love you!

  7. James and Dana says:

    This blog is one that I will hold close to my heart. I personally have a very rough time as the seasons change and the cooler weather comes. It reminds me of my brother Daniel, his birthday is October 20th and he died November 2nd, 1998. We were 15 months apart in age and I miss him beyond belief. I find myself going backwards in grief, just when I think I have a hold of it the seasons change and my heart aches for his companionship and makes me feel a loss of purpose in the world. Makes me wonder if I will always feel this way… as I look around and see others living life happily and I look at myself lost and feeling alone when I have friends and family around who are there but seeming to live life differently and don’t understand… Death is so very hard friend. I am so sorry you have had to deal with the loss of parents, I can’t even imagine the pain you must feel with that. You are in my thoughts and prayers!

  8. Jason says:

    Thanks, Tara. No need to apologize. I know you have your hands full with three children of your own. I certainly wish we were closer to home sometimes so it’d be easier to spend time together.Dana, I had no idea that you’d lost a brother. I can scarcely imagine how difficult this time of year must be for you. You’ll be in my thoughts over these next few weeks, too.

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