It is 11 weeks since my world turned upside down and sideways. We made it through the holidays and the start of the New Year. Mom was missed every minute of every celebration, but we celebrated none the less. We are all trying to find our new normal, a normal where mom is not physically present in day to day life. While the holidays were rough, I find the minor, mundane moments of the day to day are what I miss most. It is the little things that trigger the feelings of grief and loss for the woman I loved so much.
Missing the Connection
It never occurred to me how many millions of times a day I texted my mom until she was no longer here. Mom and I were in a constant conversation about all the little things. Go grocery shopping and fill the cart to overfilling, text mom. Try a new recipe and love how it turned out, text mom. Kids say something goofy or do something adorable, text mom. I shared all the minor, small moments with my mom. There is a hole in my day to day life where that connection lived.
Missing the Sounding Board
My mom and I sat and solved the world’s problems over coffee at my kitchen island. I question every move I make and how it will affect the people around me. Questioning my ability to parent and care for my home and husband are a pretty constant stream in my brain. Somehow, after coffee with Mom, my confidence in my innate abilities increased. Nine times out of 10, she repeated back my own words; but somehow they appeared so much wiser coming from her. I miss my coffee buddy!
Embracing the Process
Processing grief is such a roller coaster ride. The world braces you for how hard the major moments, i.e. the holidays, will affect you; but the mundane every day moments are a much crazier ride. My emotions move up and down with the fluidity of water. One moment I am full of happiness and the next I am over taken by a deep sadness that only comes from true loss. I committed myself to riding the roller coaster. Not only am I giving myself permission to embrace all these feelings, I insist that I do so with an open heart. Distraction and avoidance would be far less painful, but in the end would cause more damage to my soul. These ups and downs are necessary and I keep reminding myself of this fact over and over.
How long will it take?
People often talk about things getting “better” when discussing grief and loss. I am not sure better is the correct word. Different seems like a more appropriate word. How long before different turns into normal? The answer is as long as it takes. Our culture gives us very little time to grieve. Two weeks post loss, people are expected to get back to life and all its responsibilities. The ups and downs and big emotions take so much longer than two weeks to process. My therapist says a year. She told me to expect to take a whole year to process the grief and loss. I’ve also been warned that there are typically a resurgence of feelings at 4 months and 7 months. At these points everything goes back to day one feelings. Scary thought, but I am grateful for the warning.
Loss is overwhelming, but it is a part of life. I am trying to remember that we need to live our life fully not let it happen around us. Part of fully living is embracing all the sadness and pain, while learning and growing as you do. So if I cry when I’m folding laundry because I can’t text mom about mismatched socks, that’s ok. I will also giggle as my children tell random stories about something Grandma said. The memories are the moments that bring joy to balance out the sadness. In missing my mom, I will seek out the joy that remains as a part of her legacy. The minor moments are gone, but the legacy will remain forever.