In the many discussions I've had with my sister about the death of our father, and the sequence of events that began two years ago Joan Didion's book The Year of Magical Thinking keeps coming up. The point from the book that my sister keeps coming back to is how Didion found all 21st century guides on how to get your life back on track after death were pretty useless. What she did find helpful was a 1920s Emily Post book on etiqutte. Post advised not to run from mourning but to recognize that it is a part of the life process.
My sister also came across something my mother wrote in March of 1986 when she first realized that she had series problems with heart disease. It was written to my father, telling him not to worry about her and to know that life goes on and the she knew that he and the family would be fine. There is both comfort and regret in finding that note -- knowing that it never got to my father, but that her message was assumed but never fully confirmed until now.
I'm not quite ready to go back to a state of morning and feel that I am often simultaneously liberated and lost. Fragile parents were a part of my reality for two decades, and now I will need to process what the current and future reality will be.