Courtesy of the New York Times | April 5, 2010 
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/06/health/06cases.html?_r=0

As my husband of 43 years approached the end of his life and the anguish within me welled like a dam ready to burst, I realized something both simplistic and profound — losing a spouse is nothing like losing a parent.

I lived with my parental family for 17 years before I moved out to begin an independent life. My mother died just before my high school graduation, and I had known for several months that there was no hope for her recovery.

As the older of two children, I thought I had to be strong for my father and young brother, and I factored my mother’s illness into my life as if it were an after-school activity. During her final months, I visited her daily in the hospital and did what I could to keep her comfortable and assure her of my love and admiration for the wonderful woman she was

Likewise with my father, whom I adored and who remained an extraordinarily important person in my life until his sudden death when I was a 41-year-old wife and mother. Though sad about all he would miss — especially the grandchildren he doted on — I took his death in stride; after all, parents are supposed to die before their children.

But spouses?

When we marry “till death do us part,” do we really expect to be parted by death? I know several women who lost their husbands after relatively brief marriages, forcing them to raise young children on their own. I thought I could imagine their pain and anger at the unfairness of it all. But I also knew they could not afford to wallow in grief, if for no other reason than that their children needed them to be emotionally intact.
Continue Reading, “The Pain of Losing…”