My Father Was the Quiet Yet Unmistakable Leader of Our Clan

I wish I’d taken the time to get to know him better

Merre Larkin


watch and old photo of father with his infant child
Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Although my father is in hospice and is dying, my mother is not doing well either. They share the same room in a nursing home, and they don’t seem to acknowledge each other. My father has reached a point where he is only sleeping, barely eating, still drinking a little, but thankfully, his pain is controlled. My mother has reached a point where she doesn’t understand what is being said to her and cannot communicate a decipherable response.

I do think my mom knows my dad is near the end, though. And I think he knows she’s right there. I don’t think they’d be doing as well as they are if that weren’t true.

What I don’t understand is why I feel so much sadder about my dad’s situation than my mom’s. I know it’s not because my dad seems to be nearer to the end than my mom. I thought of that, but that’s not what it is.

I’ve been going over and over it in my mind. I feel guilty about it. Why am I not as sad about losing my mom as I am about losing my dad?

Make no mistake. I miss my mom so much. I miss calling her, and being able to talk to her about anything that is going on, catching her up on the kids, talking about movies and politics, and especially when something’s wrong.

I remember during COVID when I broke my ankle and it blew up as big as a softball. I was going to wait to get it looked at, considering it was only a few weeks into the shutdown, and going anywhere near a medical facility was not recommended. I told my mom what my ankle looked like and how much it hurt, and she, a retired nurse, said to get off the phone and call the advice nurse line. She was right. They got me in the next day, it was broken in two places, and I was in surgery by the end of the week.

I still think to call her to ask her something, or tell her something; it’s reflexive. Then I remember I can’t. I can’t have conversations with her anymore. I really miss those.

When I moved out to California, three thousand miles away from my parents, my mom and I talked almost weekly, for at least an hour, if not longer. And before that, I was only fifteen minutes away, and I’d see them at least…



Merre Larkin

Writer. Life coach. Educator. Marathoner. Survivor. Avid reader. Here to share, here to learn.