Second Thoughts After They’re Gone – Aging, caregiving and the journey through the second half of life

Second Thoughts After They’re Gone

When a parent passes away, we take on a new kind of work. I am not referring to the necessary “estate chores” of filing papers or clearing out the house. I am referring to the psychological process of sorting out the seemingly impalpable experience of the death of a parent.

Initially, the process is emotionally draining as we are tossed back and forth in time reliving the good, the bad, and the confusing. At some point we begin to settle down, organize “what just happened” last month or over the last fifty-five years, and begin to extract new meaning from the experience. It is a cryptic process that only reveals itself in layers, flashes of information or forgotten data, like pieces of puzzle, we are asked to ponder and ultimately rearrange. Here are some of the pieces: