Both of my parents are still alive. I have friends however who have lost a parent in death. When I speak to them of the issues I have with my mother, they often tell me how much I'll miss her when she's gone. I don't buy it. They tell me how much they wish they'd tried to make peace with their parent, how much they wish they'd said or did with them before they died. Nope, as far as I'm concerned, I've done and said all I need to do and say with regards to my mother.
I think that when a parent dies, it is not the person we grieve, it is the relationship with them that we never had that we grieve. It is the realization that the relationship we wished and hoped to have with them since we were a small child was never there to be had, that it never will be had, and now, there is nothing left to be done. When I left the Jehovah's Witness cult three years ago, I went through a deep grieving process. I realized that the relationship I had with my mother was based on my staying a JW. Once I left, any bond we had disappeared. I was no longer willing to stay enmeshed in her crazy cult dynamic. The grief I felt was for the mother I never had.
Frankly, as it stands right now, if my mother died tomorrow, I would grieve for the life she never lead, for the children she never saw, for the joy she could have experienced. But I will not grieve that she is no longer here, no longer part of my life. I have done that grieving. In fact, I would feel relieved that the ties that bind are freed and that maybe, just maybe, my brother, my father and I could have some semblance of normalcy before my father passes on. But life is a pain in the ass...I'm sure my father will die first (men usually do) and my brother and I will be left with this woman called mother.
We put parents on a pedestal, like their choice to unite an egg and a sperm was some altruistic decision based in love and awareness. And for the rest of our lives, we excuse all manner of behavior based on these illusions of what we owe them for the sacrifices they've made on our behalf. It's bullshit. It's all bullshit. If I met my mother in any other context, there's no chance in hell I'd let her be part of my life. Yet somehow, this word mother confers upon her a "get-out-of-jail-free" card. Why? Why should she be treated differently than any other human being I interact with? I would not accept this type of treatment from anyone else, yet somehow I've been socialized and programmed to think it's okay. It's crap. I grew up in two cults: the JW's and the cult of the mother. The former was much easier to deprogram than the latter. What a mindfuck.
Edited to add: I think the bearing of children is the greatest ego-trap of our time. What makes anyone think that adding their genetic code and their particular parenting style to another living being is going to bring anything good to this planet? With a world filled with unwanted children, crap parenting, war, strife and other reflections of a demented collective consciousness, what makes someone think that their adding another soul to the morass is a good thing?