It has been 38 days since my mother died. She went into Hospice in the beginning of September 2015, and she died in the bedroom of her own house on December 16.
In that time, I have alternately wept, laughed, breathed, performed normal functions and so on. Each morning my dad calls me and we chat for a few minutes. Each week I go up and see him, and we exchange sympathy cards that have come to us. We marvel that, after all this time, people still write and to tell us what a wonderful person Mom was. And so she was. She lit up every person she met, and she brought a lot of love and joy to many people.
My grief takes strange turns. In my 64 years on this planet, I have lost relatives and friends along the way. But losing my mother has, for the time being anyway, taken the starch right out of me. If you see me and ask me how I’m doing, I will smile and even laugh and tell you I am doing well, that I am going through the “normal” process of grieving. But I don’t think I really am–I feel I am sitting on top of a landmine about to blow.
By the way, there is nothing standardized about grief; that is, it manifests differently for everyone. We know that death comes to us all; that’s non-negotiable. But knowing this and feeling this is different. For the record, my particular grief is turning to isolation, misdirected anger, fear of more loss, and punishing myself in many little ways as if this is all my fault. Why am I telling you this? Because when this particular stage of life parks its unwelcome and unasked-for butt on your doorstep, you will know that you are not alone in “crazy” feelings.
The three main things I loved to do; making jewelry, playing the ukulele and reading have temporarily lost their luster for me. I know that I will return to them sometime, but now is not that time. I tend to weep at odd times and for strange reasons. For instance, the sight of Mom’s favorite rainbow-striped fleece bathrobe in her closet brings me to my knees.
When my grandmother died, my mother went to bed for three days. During those three days, she mourned and grieved to the point that it scared me. But she had lost her own mother to cancer when she was only 14 years old. She told me that she had had my grandmother as a mother-in-law so many more years than she had had her own mother. It hit her hard, and she realized that she was now grieving for two.
I am no different than any other person who has lost a parent. I am grateful that Mom was in Hospice and could be in her own home, and not die in a hospital or in a horrific accident. She and my dad were married 60 happy years, and were the loves of each others’ lives.
I have come to realize that we do not grieve alone; our family and friends are with us, and they want to help. I also believe that our own angels are closest to us during this time as well. I must apologize to my own angels, and family and friends, too–my own fear of losing it completely in the presence of others is poor payment for their love and comfort. Please know that I have finally realized that I am not very strong right now, and I apologize for pushing people away from me. Just because my grief is loud, messy, teary and snotty (well, isn’t everyone’s?); which scares the living hell out of me (I truly hate not being in control), it’s no reason for me to pull away.
Today is the day I will call my therapist and make an appointment to start healing.