How Great Thou Part

Someone I know is divorcing.  

She mentioned it must be easier for me since I have older children.

Her comment reminded me of experiencing grief in my twenties.

It was horrible to lose my parents at such a young age and it was a struggle for several years. I was grateful my peers did not understand this type of loss yet that did make it more isolating.

However, I have watched people lose their parents in mid-life and the struggle can at times seem more intense.

There is a resiliency to youth.

An ability to bounce back more easily.

I had happy things to focus on ahead of me.

The birth of my children, the joy of my niece and nephews, buying houses, taking vacations and all the things that come with being young and starting out.


On the flip side, many of those who lose their parents later in life are also dealing with being caretakers to another parent, marital problems, financial issues, aging and more.

Thus, I believe what I have always believed.

It is all bad.

It does not matter the age.

Grieving is grieving. Divorce is divorce.

Whether you are young or old when you experience it – it simply brings a different set of issues.

I learned this partially when after we lost our mother,  I said to my oldest sister, “You are so lucky! You got fifteen more years with mom!”

She replied and I now paraphrase, “Colleen, it doesn’t matter. I still feel the same pain.”

She was not being unempathetic. She was conveying the universal truth  – grief is grief. Age does not make it less or more – worse or better.

It simply makes it and the pains which accompany it somewhat different.

I have been careful never to repeat this mistake.

I could easily say to those who are now losing their parents:

At least you had them twenty-five years longer than I did.

Or at least you still have one parent I have neither.

Or you think this is bad? Imagine being in your twenties and really not understanding the ways of the world and traveling it all without your parents?

I have not and never would say that to anyone. Instead, I knew from my sister’s words to reach out to anyone with the same compassion regardless of age because losing a parent reduces all to a child-like state.

When I lost my parents I had the promises that come with youth rather than the troubles that accompany age.

But I still sobbed for my mother after my son was born.

Still hounded my sisters with the fears and questions I would normally ask my mom.

Cried out for her many nights throughout this divorce…

And more.

Yet, we are human. So I will admit I look at my friend and see all the difficult challenges ahead of her and think to myself at least she’s younger. And she looks at me and says at least she’s older.

She has the worries of raising her children and prolonged spousal conflict and more.

I have the fears of losing these last years with my children that I won’t have time to replace with happy memories while they are still under my roof and the worries of limited time for retirement savings and more.

We both have pains.

Just different pains.

Ones which accompany the promises of youth and the troubles with age.


(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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