Carol Thatcher spoke this week of "losing the second parent", which is of course how she sees it. And yes, that is a milestone in life. In truth, we might have been on our own separate paths for a while, but there's something about that second departure: we're on our own. Rendered a little more challenging by parenthood. You realise that there's nobody left for you to describe as "my parents" - while of course, you're occupying that slot for your children. Now you're the generation of "my parents" that will go next.
It's one more intimation of mortality. But I'm grateful to have heard it in this context. The "Iron Lady" was a parent. Her children have just lost her. I take that as a reminder that she was as human, as flawed, as gifted, as right and wrong, good and bad, as the rest of us (okay, perhaps a bit more so). We hold public figures, politicians in particular, to a peculiar standard, fitting them into a kind of narrative that simplifies them into good/bad just as effectively as digital storage blunts music. It's the modern way.
She was born, grew up, got married, had children, lost her husband, died. Along the way, she picked up some interesting karma, if you believe in that kind of thing. And now she's gone. End of story.