This is the one moment I had not prepared myself for
Somewhat surprisingly, the hardest moment was not when I walked into the empty home. Or remembered what it used to be when they were around. Or having to get rid of stuff that they held close to them…. and they were all hard as hard could be.
The toughest moments as the eldest son were when the other siblings would cry. It was very difficult to watch them hurting.
Part of my job was to help them thru the grieving – chiefly by reminding them of the great lives our parents had themselves and had created for us. And that the strength of our relationships among siblings is the enduring legacy of what our parents lived for.
My parents had put a lot of reliance on me (remember the “train engine”) to be always there for my siblings and ensure that they get all the help that they need. Against that instinctive protective DNA that got built into my psyche, watching them grieve was VERY hard.
Most of the difficulty was the sense of helplessness. It is not like I could rectify or reverse the situation.
The irony was not missed on me that for all the urging they had that I should help them from crying in life, they are the ones who caused it in the first place!!!