It’s been a month… a month since my mom died… a month since I lost my anchor, my forever-cheerleader, my personal historian, the person who knew me in ways that I never had to question. It’s been a month and yet I still struggle each day with random tears and waves of sadness that come out of nowhere. It’s been a month that sometimes feels like ages and sometimes feels like minutes… it’s been one helluva month.
When your parent dies, no one tells you how you’re supposed to move on with your life. No one tells you that a can of black-eyed peas can rock you back on your heels and make you cry like a baby. No one tells you that you’re going to reach for the phone more times than you ever expected, only to remember that there’s no one on the other end of that line. No one tells you that doing the “busy-ness” of death might actually help hold back those waves of grief until you’ve had a little time to acclimate to this new stage of your life… your life without your mother.
People tell you so many things when your mom dies. “I know just how you feel”…. “It will get better with time”… “This pain you’re feeling will eventually turn into a dull ache”… “You’ll get through it”… “I’m so sorry, sweetie”… so many loving, kind, well-meaning phrases that don’t necessarily take the pain away, but make the pain a little easier to bear because it’s being shared.
I know that I’m not alone in my grief because so many others have been where I am at this moment. It doesn’t make things “better”, but it does make things a little more bearable. It also helps that I have a crew of people who have my back. My husband, sister, cousins, friends, neighbors, co-workers… I can feel their support, love, prayers, and know that, because of them, I can push through to do whatever is needed. I can make the phone calls, organize the paperwork, weed through all the items, and make the decisions that come with the death of someone you love. I can continue to take those steps.
Two steps forward, one step back… or is it one step forward, two steps back… either way, grief seems to be a daily tango of sorts… and it truly is a daily tango. I can feel strong and ready to face any obstacle that may come my way, but let one kind, loving person do the “sympathetic head tilt” and I’m a quivering mess of tears.
Adulting is rough and I never seem to be prepared for that wave of grief that crashes over me when I least expect it. My cousin told me that, when our grandfather died, his youngest daughter (her mom/my Aunt Jody) had complained that she had just wanted life to stop for awhile… to allow her to concentrate on her grief and not deal with the day-to-day. The more I reflect on that thought, the more I understand and can commiserate. I have a “Happy Yellow Lab” personality and while people, for the most part, have been understanding, it can still feel daunting at times to put on that happy smile and focus on the positive.
So while I learn to adjust to this new world in which my mom is no longer here, prayers for strength really are the best thing anyone can offer. I’m doing ok, but that changes day-to-day and sometimes minute-to-minute. It’s been a month…
Here’s to making it through the first month… and giving thanks to everyone for their prayers for the ones to come.
I miss you, Mum.