Sunday, August 16, 2009

One Year.

For the first half of the last twelve month I looked at today as the proverbrial light at the end of the tunnel. As if the anniversary of my mother's death would lift this dark veil from my life. A few months ago I realized that August 16th was not a magical number. What I can say is that the most painful year of my life (so far) is over.

I've learned so much. I hope I've grown. I know that I still have a long ways to go.

I've learned what NOT to say when someone I know loses someone they love. I've learned not to say "she's in a better place", "you'll see her again in heaven one day", and my personal favorite "she's no longer suffering." Those things might sound nice BUT they're lousy to hear because the best place she could be is here with her family, I don't want to wait until I get to heaven to see her again, I want to hug her now, and somehow even though she may not be suffering, I am, and that can't possibly bring her joy.

Actually the worst thing I heard was from someone who had been a friend and suffered a loss a couple of years ago. On one of my particularly bad days she sent me a text that read "now you know how I feel."

I've learned it's ok to be sad..and more importantly it's ok to cry when I'm sad. Anger has always been an easy emotion for me. If I get angry about something, I vent and then feel better. Sadness is a new thing for me. Expressing sadness is easier now and less uncomfortable but I still have a long ways to go. Most of my crying is still done in the dark when everyone else is asleep.

I've learned who my real friends are. When my mom first died I was overwhelmed by the responses from everyone. Some went beyond the call of duty, others sent text messages, emails, and called. It was amazing and I am truly thankful. However, its those that are still around twelve months later that really amaze me. Friends that aren't afraid to tell me that I need help. Friends that aren't afraid to say hey I love you but you're not ok. Because I wasn't ok. Friends that don't ask if you're ok but instead call and tell you that you're having dinner with them, no arguments. I hope I've learned to be a better friend.

I've learned how much I really love my brothers and my sister. I'm not always great about showing it but I love them so very much. And even though I'm the big sister I feel so blessed that I have two brothers who let me know that they're here for me. And how awesome to have a sister that will call me and demand that I talk about what's bothering me.

I've learned that no matter how much of a control freak I am it is impossible to control grief. I have cried listening to music, watching television, watching movies, reading books..I have even cried in front of the greeting cards. When I see a woman my age shopping with her mom I can barely stand it. I miss shopping with my mom.

I have learned that people I have never met are so amazing. I have been blessed by the kindess and love demonstrated by my online friends. On that day a year ago I twittered "my mom died today." The first response I received was from @chickpea, someone I've never met, but have "known" for a few years through blogging. Since then so many others have reached out with kind words, prayers and shared grief over their own losses.

have learned that wanting to die and being suicidal are two different things. Because I wanted to die, if only to stop feeling. On my darkest day I sat in my car and wondered how many sleeping pills would it take for me to not wake up. I just wanted the pain to stop. Of course, I'm way too practical and sensibility kicked in right away. There was no way I was going to willingly put my children through what I had been experiencing.

I have learned to forgive. Part of me blames my mom. I blame her for not taking better care of her health. I wish she had been open emotionally. I wish she hadn't bottled things up because I know it's so unhealthy and it can kill you. It almost killed me. And I forgive my mom these things. And I thank my mom for allowing me to see what I need to change in my life.

I have learned how difficult it is to sometimes let go. This past year I've had to let go of so many things. I've lost friends and as painful as it is, I'm ok with it and I'm better for it. I've lost control. Grief makes you feel like you're losing your mind. It's the craziest thing. You wake up in the morning and you say to yourself 'today will be a great day.' And then something happens. You hear a song, you have a memory and the next thing you know you're crying on the way to work and part of you is yelling 'what the heck, knock it off' and you can't. And it makes you feel like you've lost your mind. Sometimes it's just necessary to let those feelings happen.

I've lost my mom. My mom won't see Einstein graduate next year. She won't see my boys get married. She won't hold a great grandchild. She won't hold the baby my sister is having in a few months. She won't be here at Christmas to tease Einstein with gingerbread men. She won't be here to see the amazing men my sons are going to be. So I keep her around in little ways. The watch I wear is hers. The odd assortment of salt and pepper shakers I've been collecting just like she did. A picture of us on my mantle. Her Bible that I can open and see her handwriting.

And I know it's time to say goodbye. I've managed to avoid doing that for twelve months. But it is time. Not to forget, not to stop grieving, because I'll always grieve, but time to move on. Time to be the mother I need to be to my children. Time to be the wife I need to be to my husband. Time to be the friend that my friends have been to me. Time to be good to myself. Time to let go of the regrets and the "should-haves" that plague my nights. Time for peace.


Jennifer said...

Everyone has the right to grieve in their own way in their own time, and don't allow anyone to tell you otherwise.

I'm glad to hear that you've learned so much from the past year. If there is one thing I've learned over the last couple of hellish years of my life, it's that the most difficult times that mold us into who we're meant to be and allow us to appreciate the good things in life so much more.

I know you've still got a tough road ahead, but I know you'll make it. Praying for you.

Anonymous said...


Yes, you have grown and yes, there is so much more of your exprience this last year that makes you who you are. You are stronger, wiser, clearer and more present in life. Glad I could be on the journey with you!!! Love ya!!!

LB City Girl said...

Losing my Dad was the worst thing that ever happened. Nothing anyone can say makes losing someone you love easier. It was ten years ago and I still miss him terribly. So, yeah, agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments.