Initial Reflections on Losing a Parent (Gail Schlachter Hauser, 1943-2015)
My mom was a survivor. She always seemed to overcome every challenge she encountered. So when I dropped her off Monday morning for a routine biopsy that the doctor said had a 1% mortality rate, I never imagined she would be in the bottom 1%. I feared what the biopsy would say, the recovery time she faced, and how her health conditions would add more complexity to her already overly complicated life. But I didn’t see any reason to talk about anything other than the future, because I would see her in a few hours.
My mom was 72, so it’s not like we hadn’t contemplated her mortality. It’s something she was fully aware of. With each passing birthday, she would marvel that she was still here, that she had made it to see age so-and-so. Yet, still, the suddenness of her death makes it especially hard to process. It doesn’t feel like it was her time to go. Not now, not this way. It makes no sense. She didn’t even live longer than her parents, one of the few goals in her life she didn’t accomplish.
After we told my daughter about her grandmother’s death, my daughter asked if grandma’s soul would come back to visit her. Sidestepping the heavy theological implications, I told her that if she listens carefully, she’ll hear her grandma’s voice in her thoughts. At least for me, this is why my mom will never leave me. As clearly as if she were standing in front of me right now, I can hear her encouraging me, praising me, occasionally chiding me. I can hear her telling me that it wasn’t her time to go, but at the same time I can hear her telling me that she had the time of her life.
We will be celebrating Dr. Gail Schlachter Hauser’s life on May 17 in Los Altos Hills. Click here for details and to RSVP.
Blog Posts About Gail Schlachter Hauser’s Death