The Loss of Parents

George Mylne, 1871


How different the Parental-Filial bond, from other earthly ties, however intimate! Only the marriage bond is closer. But the Parental-Filial bond is interwoven with our very being, from the very dawn of life, in its uniting principle. Yes, prior to birth itself, it claims its embryo perfection. Nay more, it antedates the parentage of our immediate parents, and reaches back to our farthest off progenitors. Is it not written, that Levi was in the loins of his forefather Abraham, when he met Melchizedek? (Hebrews 7:10.)

This Parental-Filial bond is felt and recognized in childhood, in youth, and in manhood; nor does it loose its hold when the parental roof is changed for other homes, as in the married state. The cords are invisible to human eye, which constitute a bond so intimate; yet is their power felt from pole to pole from east to west, from west to east, traversing both earth and seas. Even while in other countries the heart is tied to the Parental Roof, and the chief interest with the mother country is the well-known hearth and Home; the key-stone of the arch consisting in the Parents of the family; and, that key-stone once removed, oh what a change comes over the connection! Brothers and sisters are brothers and sisters still; but their rallying point is gone the family home no more the parental wing no longer there, to gather them. The Good old meeting place is broken up, and the concentration of life-long interests is no more concentrated.

Happy, thrice happy, when family endearment survives the shock when brother still cleaves to brother, in virtue of the parental bond; when family homes with fond and hearty welcome, rise up to feed the flame of loving fellowship. Yet, however sweet, however cheering these are but the embers of the family hearth; and, when they meet together, how fondly they revert to that which can never return! And thus does frail humanity pay tribute to its own decay of home realities. And as they flicker in the socket of a lingering retrospect bear testimony to the breaking up of all earthly things.

"I miss the dear parental dwelling,
Which memory still undimmed recalls,
A thousand early stories telling;
I miss the venerable walls.

I miss the well-remembered faces,
The voices, forms of other days;
Time ploughs not up those deep-drawn traces;
Those lines no ages can erase."
  Bonar

Can we wonder, then, at what pain is felt when this bond is cut in twain; when children are left parentless, and life's earliest associations are broken, never to be re-united here below? Oh no, it is nature's privilege to weep on such occasions. Happy are those whose filial sorrow leads them to the Savior and to God, and who then may say, "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book!" (Psalm 56:8.)