It has been three weeks since my mom died. I did not think it would hit me so hard. I have not been able to write about her. Grief is such a varied experience. It differs from person to person – both the person who is grieving and the one being grieved.
Some days, I am heartsore and other days, I am numb. I do not feel anything – I am just going through the motions of life. My sleep has deteriorated as have my eating habits. I have been flooded with memories, both good and bad. I am restless, having nightmares and swinging between laughter and tears, unable to concentrate for any length of time. I feel alone , yet surrounded by such an amazing tribe all at the same time. Things that used to matter to me, don’t anymore – they lose significance in the light of life and death.
Most of my life, I have felt that I needed to conform to an unspoken norm, to do what it takes to fit in, be acceptable; to make up for being a girl; to prove I am worthy of being loved. Now with mum’s death, that purpose has vanished and there is a sense of emptiness, a loss of direction or purpose.
To quote my friend Monica: ‘Loss should be tasted slowly, a small bit at a time; neither savoured nor spat out but approached with gentleness and curiosity and allowed to make its presence felt.’ I know enough about healing to not run away from loss and grief. I know enough that it is important to grieve well – grief has no timetable we need to stick to, but must be acknowledged and felt. She also says, ‘Acknowledge and respect the loss, for it is a reminder of the depth of your emotions and the connection you feel to that which you have lost.’
The is no short cut to grief – many times it catches you unawares – a song, a smell, a familiar spot. “Time heals everything” they say …it doesn’t. I still feel the loss of a dear friend who died over 40 years ago; of my brother who died nearly 20 years ago. I know I will always feel the loss of my mum – there is a hole in my heart that only she could fill. To be honest, I did not think it would be this way when mum died.
Mum and I had a complex relationship, but long ago had come to a place of acceptance. Many of her decisions cost me dearly, but as I have aged, I came to see behind some of those decisions and found a sense of peace and forgiveness. Forgiveness is hard, but necessary, if we are to let go of our past traumas and heal relationships. Without forgiveness, we cannot have compassion. The last time I saw, something changed for us and I had a new understanding, a connection I never had with her before. I am grateful for the last 2 years and that I am able to say I have no regrets.
Not sure how I move on, but know I will in some way.