There are some strange advantages to no longer having parents when you are an adult. There are some disadvantages, sure, but it isn’t all sad.
They can’t boss you around and tell you who you have to marry, what your wedding is going to be like, and how to raise your kids. You don’t have to hear from them about how you aren’t living up to their expectations. It is your life, to do with what you will.
You have to look out for yourself. Since you can’t move back in when you get fired or divorced, you have to plan ahead and save up. This may sound like a disadvantage but it isn’t. Nothing makes you have to be an adult like actually being on your own. If you are constantly using your parents as an ATM, you aren’t really an adult yet.
They can’t gossip about you and tell all of your embarrassing secrets to your dates and co-workers. Those terrible stories die with them.
You don’t have to divide your time between them and your children. Older parents and young children require a lot of work. They both are very dependent and at times helpless. You only have so much time and energy and money and it is hard to be in two places at once.
You don’t have to watch a formerly vibrant person decline into helplessness. There is nothing more tragic than seeing your college professor father slowly lose his mind because of Alzheimer’s. There is a certain sadness in seeing your formerly active and independent Mom reduced to spending her days in a hospital bed.
And lastly, it teaches you perspective. It teaches you that there are no guarantees in life. It teaches you that you better get it done now, because there might not be “next year” for that project. It teaches you to choose wisely and not waste your time because you realize how little of it you really have. And, it teaches you to not freak out about a lot of little things, because if you can survive on your own at a young age, then you can make it through anything.
God was with me the whole time my parents were sick. People may say “How come God let them die?” That is the wrong way to think. They died because of their choices. God didn’t kill them – they killed themselves by smoking cigarettes and eating poorly and not exercising. God sent me help and gave me the energy to take care of them and myself during that time. For some people, that experience would separate them from God. For me, it drew me closer. I came to see God as my parent. So ultimately, that too is an advantage. I switched from identifying with weak, temporal, physical parents, to a strong, eternal, spiritual parent.
Sure, I still miss my physical parents. Sure, I wish that they were able to meet my husband. I’d love if they could see how well I’m doing right now. In a way, I know that they can, because I believe in the afterlife. I believe that they are spirit now and know what is going on. I believe that they are connected with all things now and are not limited to their physical bodies. But it still hurts, and I’m still sad. But within that sadness I can see how in some ways I’ve missed a whole lot of other hurt and pain by them dying early.