The comforting thing about life is it keeps on going for somebody. For us, the ones left behind. For strangers, who have no idea. For babies on the other side of the globe. For brand new squirrels and potatoes and flies and other things fresh to the world, life happens and continues to happen. But that’s also the bitch of it. Because when you’re grieving, some big part of your life has stopped and you kind of want the rest of it to stop, too, if only to give you time to catch up.
I deal with this on a daily basis. My baby boy now speaks in sentences, works an iPad, can take off his pants. Look at you, you wonderful thing, I think. Look how amazing you are! And that’s immediately followed by… Mom can’t see this. Mom can’t watch you grow. I can’t send a video of this cuteness to Mom. Mom was fascinated by children and their language development. So stop. Just stop. If Mom can’t see it, please stop. Just stay where you were when she knew you, please. Please don’t grow an inch, baby. Just stay where you were on August 9th.
I wasn’t prepared for August 10th and I’m certainly not ready for August 11th, so why can’t the world just stop a minute and let me figure this out.
Halloween displays in August… Christmas displays in October… The baby says “Help me, Mommy. More cows. Moo! Cows, Mommy. Cow show!”
Stop it, beautiful boy. Please just stop.
No. Don’t listen to me. Go. You go, baby boy. Keep going and going. Mommy will catch up eventually.
There are do’s and don’ts when it comes to grieving they say. Do grieve. Don’t escape. Do take care of yourself. Don’t get drunk. Do reach out. Don’t be slutty or cut your hair. But it doesn’t matter, really. Grieving the right way won’t make your life easier. It won’t make you hurt less. It won’t bring them back. At first, you think that. That if you handle things properly, there’s some reward to it. But there’s not. They don’t come back.
My best hope is that the last day of my mom’s life won’t haunt me anymore. That the end will matter less than everything that came before it. And I think that will happen in time. But the missing won’t stop. The longing won’t stop. I might as well get a stupid haircut. What difference would it make? None. Who even makes those stupid rules? Someone traumatized by a bad haircut, I suspect. It’s hair, for crying out loud. It grows. Everything grows.
Whether you want it to or not.