There was a time in my life that I missed. I feel that I need to share my story to be of help to those that are in need of support. I went through a long grieving process when I lost my father, November 9, 1987 and my mother, January 10, 1998. Only a feeling of emptiness stood in place of my parents’ unconditional love for me. I believe that, overcoming these feelings of grief cycle will reward me with unconditional love and concern for those in their own grieving process.

It has been painful to lose a parent or parents. I hung on in loneliness, anger (for his leaving) and a feeling of emptiness for 8 years for my father before I started to move on in my grieving process. I am still grieving for my mother who died a couple of years ago. There is still much sadness and loneliness for her. Of course, I loved them dearly, but there is one thing that I felt sorry for, that is – not spending much time with each of the. A few years ago, I had a beautiful dream of my father being at his old house. I saw him smiling and happy. I was so happy in my dream to be with him. But, within seconds I awoke to reality. I woke up in tears when I realized he is no longer with us, but only in a dream! I cried and cried. Crying was a way to heal the pain that I had hidden for so long. Without realizing it, I had suppressed my feelings, by not talking about their deaths and not allowing myself to cry. Today, as I went through my treasured memories of them, I felt this incredible sense of the need to cry. I allowed myself to feel the emotion. This went on for 2 hours. I was feeling overwhelmed with sadness, loneliness for both of them. Then I thought of my mother who no longer feels the pain that she once did, while she was living here alone without my dad. For a moment, I felt happy that she no longer needed to be alone without my dad and no longer need to feel the pain of despair that I was feeling.

I called a couple friends to share my deepest thoughts on my grief. I cried as my friend and I shared similar stories on grief. I had to reach out to someone who has been through the same painful experiences. It helped to acknowledge my feelings by sharing them with supportive friends.

After I hung up, I stayed with the feeling(s). I did not want to block my feelings any more. For a while I had a sense of peace and tranquility. I chose to sit in silence with only the ticking of a clock and a drip from a faucet. As I sat and thought about my loved ones (mom and dad) and other relatives that passed on, again, I had mixed feelings about my sadness, loneliness and happiness. Although I knew it was unrealistic, I longed for their unconditional love and their touch once more. I wished I could turn back the clock, I’d do things differently. I would spend more time with each one. I’d spend more time in the bush, learning the traditional ways. I’d spend more time listening to their advice and listening to their old stories of long ago. I’d spend more time to love and not hate their restrictions of the way they disciplined me. They knew what is best for me. I’d spend more time in peaceful settings by a campfire and meditating to my heart’s content.

I feel no shame or guilt in telling parts of my life story, just to reach one person who may have that desire to have a change of heart. The reason why I did not take precious time with them was that I was selfish and was lost on drugs and alcohol for 25 years, before I found my way. My so called ‘friends’ in the drug world came first in my life. I’d do anything for my friends. I went across Canada a few times, just to be with my friends. I rebelled every way I could while I abused drugs and alcohol. I thought I was not hurting anyone, as long as my parents didn’t see me do drugs or alcohol. Little did I know, that I was only hurting myself and robbing myself from spending quality time with them. I never gave a thought that one day, my parent(s) would no longer be there for me. Now it is too late to do those things that my heart desires to do for them.

The reason for wanting to share this part of my life story is mainly for those whose parent or parents are still living. I would like to say that it would be rewarding in the end, to spend more time loving and respecting the wishes of your parent(s). Parents work hard to try and steer you in the right path. No matter what age we are, we need to respect them, although sometimes it seems impossible to please the. Parents try their best but we need to respect them for trying to give us the best advice or correction and not follow our own instincts.

The one gift you can give to a parent is respect and acceptance regardless of their own mistakes. (We all learn by our mistakes.) Parents are not perfect. They need love from their children. Another gift is to forgive your parent(s) for any pain you may have felt because of their mistakes. Forgive and love them. You will overcome those hurtful feelings if you could do your best to forgive and love instead of holding a grudge and rebelling against them. If you feel that your parent(s) always seem to lecture you, then think twice. Maybe, there is a good reason why.

It is natural to wish the best for a son or daughter. Parents have learned from their own mistakes in the past, therefore as a parent, they would not want their child to suffer and make the same mistake(s). There is a reason why parents may restrict you from bad influences, because they can sense when you are heading in the wrong direction. Just be glad you are given some correction, because one day they will be gone, you will wish you still could have that guiding had. If you ask God, our Creator to show you how to forgive and love, He will show you the way if you truly believe He can give you a changed heart. Today fine a time give your parents a hug or tell them you love them. Parents need to learn to do the same for their children on daily basis! If you find it hard to try and hug or show love, then practice, till it comes natural!

Ask yourself this question: What would it be like without my parent or parents or grandparents? Then live for today, as if it is your last on earth and do good to those around you. We need to stop thinking and behaving in a negative way. There are many things, we can do to show care, respect and love to those around us especially our parents and grandparents. Some people never get a word of encouragement or a hug in a day. I wish to challenge each person in the Cree Territories to encourage or hug one person a day for the year 2000.

Wishing you the best on your healing journey.

Alice (Wapachee) Desjarlais