When You Lose A Parent

Arthur Keith
4 min readOct 16, 2021

If you’re alive, it will happen, or it already has

A son’s hand clasps his mother’s. She was gone just hours later—photo by Mercurywoodrose on Wikimedia Commons.

It can start with something as little as a slight pain or as dramatic as a hard fall. Our parents may be with it “up there,” but their poor little bodies become weak and frail. Whereas the body of a car usually outlasts the engine, the opposite is true of humans.

No matter how your parent starts to decline, the result is always the same. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Life can be prolonged, but at what cost?

This story may be a bit premature. She’s still alive! Is “pre-grieving” a thing? Have you ever gone through anything like this? I wonder how many plan funerals before an actual death. Apparently a lot, as I just received a funeral planning guidebook from a mortuary in her home town.

My mom is 89, and she’s had a remarkable life. She is still with me, but I can see the tide starting to turn.

Several months ago, she began to experience swelling in her legs and feet. I, at least, wished it away, and away it went.

Now it is back with a vengeance, and she has to keep her legs elevated for several hours a day. This is obviously putting a dent in her quilting work.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked her if these symptoms were a part of something greater, and she casually said “heart failure.”

Why I panicked was obvious. Why she so matter-of-factly stated it is, I guess, the kind of thing you get used to hearing from your doctors as you age.

The Mayo Clinic’s website is such a good resource. I’m not encouraging you to self-diagnose, but it describes disorders in a way you can understand.

There are 11 signs and symptoms of heart failure, and there it was:

Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet.

So far, she has not mentioned any of the other 11 symptoms. But she’s also good at minimizing, so that I don’t worry. Mom’s are stoic like that. But given that her mom died of congestive heart failure, how can I not worry?

Moms. Ever protective!

Weekly doctor visits have become the norm, and the regimen of changing the dosage of meds seems to be working.

Arthur Keith

My goal is to inform, educate, & entertain. 8x top writer: LGBTQ, Music, Climate Change. Directionally dyslexic--pointing is fine! You can clap up to 50x!