How has it been three months since I spoke with my mom? How am I even able to function without her support and love? I honestly don’t know. Because the kids need me to? Because she raised me to pick myself up and move on? Good explanations, but they don’t really answer the question. Because I have no choice, I guess. My husband is not the kind of guy who will cover for me if I slack off. He’s too busy with work, and wouldn’t think to do it even if he were unemployed.
So there you have it. I have no choice. I can’t hide in my bedroom. I can’t waste away watching Lifetime movies without showering. I can’t drink myself into oblivion until spring. I have to keep on keeping on. But I still don’t look at people when I shop. It hurts too much. I feel like everyone else is in color and I’m in black and white. I can’t stand to see people taking one another for granted. I can’t stand to see multiple generations of family members together. I think of that one high school graduation photo taken of me with my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother. And now there’s only me. How am I the oldest woman in my family? I’m not even 40. Mom didn’t lose her mom until she was a grandmother. That blows my mind. I’ll be lucky if I live long enough to be a grandmother.
I’ve missed her for so long. I cried the morning she died, BEFORE she died. I was missing her. We hadn’t been able to get together for a week or so. I was sad and lonely before she even died. I thought to myself, cancer takes people away before they even die. And then she did.
If you have your shit in order before someone dies, you’ll still find yourself shaken and battered. Your world will still turn upside down and, once righted, you’ll feel utterly helpless as you look at all the old familiar pieces out of place. But if your world was a mess before someone dies, the loss is catastrophic. You can’t just re-build it. Everything in your life will have to be systematically deconstructed and built from the ground up. There’s so much more work to do. It’s exhausting. Too much work for one person.
And thoughts can be intrusive. I keep reminding myself she’s gone. In the middle of the night, first thing in the morning. No, Mom is not on a trip. Mom is gone forever. No, I won’t be seeing Mom after the holidays. Mom is no longer around. Not anywhere. Not ever again. And it feels so silly. I mean, I know that. There is nothing more simple than this concept. A thing was living and then it died. It’s not hard to understand. It makes so much sense, the other ways of perceiving it seem absolutely nonsensical and childish. So I do know she’s gone. And yet, I have to keep reminding myself. And this urge to undo it is so strong. Everything’s all screwy. Can’t I just go back to a restore point from four months ago or even three years ago and make it right again? Can’t I just zoom around the Earth backwards like Superman? It’s 2012. Can’t we do that yet? Why can’t we do that yet? Will they figure it out somehow, someday, and I’ll be able to get her back? Maybe if I keep a strand of her hair? Wait, what happened in Starman? The alien used a strand of hair, didn’t he? Of course, it wasn’t the same guy. It wasn’t her actual husband. That wouldn’t do, now would it? No, probably not. Definitely not.
See what I mean? Intrusive. Especially when I have things to do. Laundry. Shopping.
First, I just want to say I am so very sorry for your loss. It sounds as though you and your Mom were very close. I found your blog because I recently lost my son, and it seems most of what I find online for support are very religious…and that’s not me.
But back to you and your Mom. What strikes me beyond your obvious and understandable pain is how you are cheating yourself of what sounds like the very sorts of things your Mom so obviously wanted for you…Life, Joy, Love, Beauty, Health, Happiness. I know first hand how hard it is to build a “new normal” when we lose someone so beloved, but like I tell my daughter-in-law…and I tell myself as well…the very LAST thing he would want would be for her to stop living because he did. He loved her smile and laughter and they way she mothered their two little girls. Watching the joy she brought to their lives was one of the things that gave him the most joy as well. He’d want her to live life to its fullest…that’s what he’d be doing right now if he were here. That’s the very BEST way to honor his memory.
I have no doubt that’s what your Mom wants for you too…to live each day the very best way you can. I know that’s hard…not a day goes by that I don’t cry. Your Mom sounds as though she was a very wise woman and she gave you some lovely tools for living your life. I know you’re surprised by the feeling that she knew you more than you knew her. But that’s normal…she was with you your entire life. She was an adult, watching you, teaching you, learning from you, sharing with you, even when you were too young to understand.
Sometimes I find the language we use in what we tell ourselves greatly influences how we feel about those things. My son was 36 and well on his way to building a great family life of his own when we lost him. There was much about his adult life I didn’t know. But what I’ve found out in hearing stories from people he knew is there was a man that reached well beyond the little boy I raised…I always knew he was remarkable, but I had no idea how very many lives he touched in really beautiful ways. I smile and cry at the same time with these stories.
I don’t know if it can work the same way for you or not…if learning things from other people might help you understand her more…and perhaps even help you understand better why she mothered in the way she did. I can tell you with absolute certainty it would break her heart to know that you are hurting so much because she wants for you what she’s always wanted…for you to be happy.
Be kind to yourself…I know everyone handles grief differently and we all have to walk this path in our own way, in our own time.
beautifully said. I think that realization is coming for me, after 10 months of feeling pretty paralyzed. Thanks for the reminder to live as well as possible, and go on in joy – rather than just getting thru the days.