Getting on track after loss of loved one

As we age, we begin more often to feel the losses of our parents’ friends and closest family, then parents, friends and spouses.

  • Jun. 22, 2012 2:00 p.m.

Last week was Father’s Day, the first one I’ve experienced since my father passed away in November.

To say it was a bittersweet day, enjoying some moments with my own children while lamenting the loss of my father, is, for certain, an understatement.

The loss of loved ones is a part of life, tragically so when they seem to pass too early, but always sadly so regardless of the inevitability of their passing.

As we age, we begin more often to feel the losses of our parents’ friends and closest family, then our parents and eventually our own friends and spouses.

I remember a conversation with my father last summer when he reflected on the fact that he was tired of attending funerals of his friends.

I suspect he meant that both physically and emotionally.

Each loss left him physically drained and emotionally more isolated.

He talked about it, perhaps more openly than my mother, because his own illness was bringing him to a recognition that his time was coming to a close.

In some ways he rationalized this by expressing the fact that there was no one of his peer group around anymore, so he’d had more than his share of time on earth.

My mother, on the other hand, was pretty stoic about the losses.

She’d had a miscarriage as a young mother and been the emotional backstop for numerous family funerals over the years.

She was well versed in coping with loss and accepted that life must go on for the sake of those left behind.

All that, until my father passed.

It was funny to me, that almost immediately upon the passing of my father, my mother deferred decision-making to me and my sister.

Even the details of the funeral were left to us.

As an always strong and independent figure in our household, this was a whole new behaviour for her, and my sister and I viewed it most likely as a phase she would need to go through as part of coping with her loss.

It has not really turned out to be a phase, at least not yet.

I suspect that’s how significant losses affect us all, especially as we age. They throw us completely off the track on which we would normally travel and with each reminder of the loss, through holidays and birthdays, we are derailed once again.

If we have other work or family responsibilities, we are forced to come back to our track quickly.

But if, as most elderly find themselves, there is no routine to return to, the loss becomes that much greater and the reminders that much more difficult.

Time heals, of course, and as each year passes the pain of loss is numbed a bit, but it never really goes away for those too old to truly get back to life as usual.


Graham Hookey writes about education, parenting and eldercare (

Just Posted

Mad Hatters Parade and Tea Party in Maple Ridge

Event to end stigma surrounding mental illness

Pitt Meadows Foundation chooses its citizen of the year

Peter Jongbloed has been active at city hall and with environmental causes

Pitt Meadows Day fireworks show gets $15,000 infusion

Fundraiser by community groups nets over $22,000

Burrards sign another scorer

WLA club starts campaign with eyes on Mann Cup

Sensory rooms new option for mental health

Maple Ridge leading the way with three

Jeep totalled, four young people in hospital, after single-vehicle crash in Surrey

Mounties have not ruled out any possible factors in what led to the overnight crash

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Cloverdale Rodeo competition promises to be a ‘nail-biter’ this weekend

New challengers giving returning champions a run for their money

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read