Five Months Or So

by Laura

It’s been five months, not since I’ve talked to my mom, but since she’s answered. That kind of blows my mind. I used to feel off after going a couple days without talking to her. And here it’s been five months? It’s absurd. The whole business is, really. The fact that she’s really honestly actually NOT HERE still shocks me.  I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the idea. I know I’ll survive it because I have all these days behind me to prove that I can survive it, but get comfortable with it? Never. I wanted, and expected, twenty more years.

Some things do improve, I guess. I no longer wake up every morning reminding myself she’s gone. I no longer re-live the moment when I was told she died. That was a post-traumatic thing and it faded away within a few weeks, much like it did after my car accident. The brain is good about that. For most people anyway. I’m sure many are still haunted. I’m thankful I’m not.

Of course when anything big happens, I want to call her. And when my daughter was so sick and we couldn’t figure out how to help her, I desperately wanted her soothing voice. Whenever the toddler does anything adorable, I want to send her the video. And yes, I just plain miss her every single day. But I don’t cry every single day. And I don’t hurt every single day. Well, let’s say I don’t hurt much. My heart’s still a bit achey all the time, but it’s low grade.

I used to read other people’s posts and wonder how they were getting by as time went on. I tried to figure out how long it would take until I didn’t feel as if my whole world had collapsed. Five months in, I still feel as if my world had collapsed, but I’m more used to the idea. There was life with her, and there is life without her, just as there was life for her before I ever showed up. For a while our lives overlapped. That was a good time.

Is there hope? Of course there’s hope. How many billions of people go through this, and so much worse, all the time and survive it? Almost all of them. We are built to endure this kind of thing. Our brains are adaptable. Our hearts are strong. Our spirits irrepressible, even in people like me. If a weak-spirited, fragile and fairly damaged little human like me can take it, we can all take it. How do we get from there to here? Just by doing it. There’s no other way, no secret method to re-building our lives. You take a shower. You brush your teeth. You buy yourself some food and cook it and eat it. You pay a bill. You find something worth watching on TV sometimes, and maybe you laugh. You catch a perfect sunset just in time. One day you recall a wonderful moment with your loved one and it doesn’t devastate you. You brush your teeth again and you go to bed. And you do it all again the next day and the next. And before you know it, you catch yourself living again.