‘It is well with my soul’ — Vivienne Solomons

Through the years I have contributed here, I have always written from my heart and from the perspective of whatever is happening in my life at the time, in the hope that you, the reader finds it at least helpful but hopefully, also encouraging in your own journey through life.

Truth be told, as anyone who considers themselves to be a writer knows, everything is material and everything can be written about, whether good or bad, happy or sad, as it not only helps us to process our thoughts but also serves to capture our emotions at a particular moment in time.

Today I would like to share about the recent passing of my father, which comes just 1 year and 5 months after the passing of my mother and how I am navigating my transition to what may be referred to as ‘a new adult identity’. Partly because as I mentioned previously, I have a need to write about it but mostly because I believe that the effect that the death of a parent has on an adult child is a topic not widely spoken about.

Let me first say that my experience of loss is shaped by my relationship with God, my Heavenly Father. He is my Comforter and the One Who sustains me through all of life, with all of its up’s and down’s. He is well acquainted with my many questions and, I believe, not at all intimidated by them. He really does make the difference in my life and it is from that perspective I write. 

Back in April 2020, when my mother passed away, a sister friend of mine, who also happens to be a social worker, gave me a number of books to read but there was one that immediately caught my attention, Death of a Parent: Transition To A New Adult Identity written by Debra Umberson. 

The idea that the loss of a parent, which is commonplace as we grow older, even to be expected, can have such a dramatic effect on the lives of surviving adult children, many of whom are parents themselves, resonated with me. I could relate to the fact that not only was I grieving the loss of my mother in my life but I was also faced with a shift in how I perceived myself and my place in the world. 

Here I was, an adult of 50 years old with children of my own, suddenly and very unexpectedly, at a turning point in my life – emotionally, socially and personally.

The loss of my father has, of course, only amplified this more.

In her book, Umberson explores the social and psychological factors that determine how the loss of a parent will ultimately affect us – either as a personal crisis or an opportunity for healthy change in our lives. What she concludes from her research is that the death of a parent transforms us – our beliefs, behaviours, goals and sense of self – for better or for worse, for the rest of our lives.

I would, however, beg to differ with Umberson. It is my firm belief that the death of a parent has only the potential to transform us, for better or for worse because we cannot discount the transformative power of our God to heal us and restore to us all that we have lost in the past and in the present, either during our lifetime on earth or in the life hereafter.

As often happens in my life, and perhaps in yours as well, a song, the lyrics of which capture the essence of what I am experiencing becomes an anthem, a reminder to myself on a daily basis that God is at work even in the midst of what I am going through.

Kristene DiMarco, Bethel Music singer and songwriter

For me, right now that song is, It is Well written by Kristene DiMarco at Bethel Church in the United States. The chorus goes like this:

And through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

And through it all, through it all

It is well

And through it all, through it all

My eyes are on You

And it is well, with me

When someone asked me how I was recently, if I was doing better after the passing of my father, although the person meant well, I found it a difficult question to answer because grief is not a linear process from start to finish with an expected completion date. As much as we would like it to be.

But we are all different and so it is safe to say that we all grieve differently. We cannot compare our experience to another’s and we shouldn’t allow others to dictate ours either.

Sometimes I remember and laugh, sometimes I remember and cry but because I have God in my life, I can confidently say that it is well with my soul. 

When we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, it can only be well with us – through it all!.

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