four weeks

I’ve tried to write something beautiful and wordy about grief and what the last four weeks have been like, but I don’t have the words.  I’m out of fancy, I’m out of adjectives, I’m out of anything except brutal honesty; It sucked, it sucks, it has sucked, it will suck, it’s awful, it’s terrible, it’s no good, it’s very bad.  Anyone who tells you ‘time heals’ is apparently not built like me or I am just absolutely horrific at this whole grief thing.  I know, I know, everyone tells me not to be so hard on myself, but I’m just being transparent.

Four weeks ago, on my frigging birthday, my Mom died.  I STILL say it over and over and over to myself. Like, what?  You have to be kidding me, but every single time, it’s still true.

Whatever, I know I wrote this before, but this is how I deal.  I had intentions of keeping a journal, but I don’t know how many times I can write “I miss my Mom” or some variation of that statement.  I REALLY MISS MY MOM, YOU GUYS.  I miss the world that existed before October 24, 2017, the world that included my beautiful Mother and her perfect heart.  I miss her being a text or call away, I miss driving 13 minutes (if I drove too fast) to her house in my house shoes and spending the evening with her every other Friday.  I miss her mashed potatoes, her sweet tea, her salads, her sweet hugs, how she would laugh when Tommy and I would cuss (nothing too bad!) and always say, “I know I shouldn’t laugh, but you’re both so funny!” and shake her head because she gave up on our potty mouths years ago, I miss her praying for Kentucky to “win in the name of Jesus”, and I just miss her existing.  I miss everything about her.

If anything, I’m probably worse than I was at the beginning.  Settling into a life without my Mom is like having my favorite blanket ripped away and burnt in front of me.  Every night, I pray that I will see her when I sleep (I haven’t yet).  Typically, I cry myself to sleep, or cry multiple times a day, but you’d probably never know it.  Sometimes I get caught crying at work and nobody really knows what to say, because what do you say?  There’s no timetable for this stuff, there’s no handbook, there’s no outline, there’s nothing but you trying to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other every single day.  It’s exhausting and sometimes maddening and sometimes just plain sad.  Sometimes, I’m just so sad.

Four weeks in to this new life, and I just feel so dramatic that I annoy myself.  Chad continually assures me that nobody expects me to just pick up and be fine, but my anxiety is like – people are annoyed by you and your sadness, it’s been a month, you should really be doing better than this.  Stupid anxiety.  I have this running joke where I say, “I don’t know if you know this, but I miss my Mom” to Chad and he always says, “I know, honey” because coping mechanisms are weird.  And honestly, that’s just one of my weird things I do, the others are dark and would probably offend everyone reading this.  I’m just weird.  Also, I will absolutely cry when I hug your Mother, just ask both my Mother-in-Laws.  I also cry when I hug my Aunts because they remind me of my Mom.  Listen, let’s be serious, I’m just going to cry.  It doesn’t matter what happens, I’m probably going to cry about it, it’s just what’s happening right now.

Okay, and grief brain (or whatever this is) has to be comparable to pregnancy brain, because I can’t remember anything anymore.  I have an unbelievably good memory, it’s terrifying most of the time, but I can’t tell you anything specific about the last four weeks.  Specificity would require focus and Lord knows I don’t have any of that.  Completing tasks, staying on task, not getting distracted, it’s like an act of congress.  I finally got my house in order on Sunday and it took me all day, granted it was REALLY bad, but it shouldn’t have taken that long at all.  I aimlessly sit and stare at pictures of her, the same ones, over and over, or go through my Facebook and read her comments on anything I ever posted or wrote.

I know my Mom had cancer, I fully recognized that, but I still have not wrapped my head around how COPD and pneumonia formed a super storm and took her in less than a week.  That part was, and still is, so shocking.  She was actually doing pretty well prior to October 18, and stupid me allowed myself to believe that we still had more time.  I thought we’d make it out of this year.  I really thought she would turn 65, and she may not be well when she did, but I thought she would still be here.  I know tomorrow isn’t promised and all of that crap, but I’m so tired of hearing it.  I’m allowed to be shocked that my Mom died when she was just 64.  People live to be older than that with their 90-year-old Mothers.  I never really expected that, but my goodness.

Everyone’s hurt is so blaringly different.  So many of my close friends lost their Mother younger than I am now and I feel like I am taking away from their hurt when I say I feel too young to be without my Mom.  But, I feel too young to be without my Mom.  I’m not angry at God, but I get extremely resentful of other people and I know that’s not a good place.  As soon as I feel it, I work through it, because I am genuinely so happy for anyone who has never had to feel any of this.  You are blessed beyond words, and I don’t use the word blessed very often about anything, really.

God, the universe, whatever, I get it that no one owes me anything. I’m not the first person who has lost their Mother (or a parent), I fully realize that.  So many of you reading this get it, and I’m sorry, I hurt for you.  I hurt so deeply for you.  Maybe I had never lived the full scope of excruciating loss, but I have now, and my empathy meter is off the charts. I ache to my very core thinking about my sister and my brother what I know they feel, I could weep thinking about my Mom’s sisters, it all just absolutely kills me now.  I don’t write anything for anyone to feel sorry for me, I write it because I want you to know if you’re reading this and maybe can’t find the words, you aren’t alone.  Whatever your great loss is, you are not alone.

I really, really, really, really miss my Mom.  Four weeks later.  I miss her more with every single passing day.  But, I wouldn’t bring her back as she was for me.  I love her too much for that.

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grief & loss

15 days since I have heard my Mother’s voice without the interference of a bipap mask. 

13 days since I felt her hand squeeze mine for the last time as we both knew goodbye was imminent.

On her last really good night (Saturday), I fed her baked potato, salad, and a few bites of a frosty from Wendy’s. We laughed.  Tommy, Melissa, and Chad sat with me as I fed her. Andi was finally getting some sleep, the few precious hours she actually got over the 5 day stint in the ICU.  Mom looked at Chad and told him how much she loved his beard.  I’m sure other things were said, but I can’t remember them right now.  She was precious; We brushed her hair and put her lotions on, we made sure everything was so-so just as she liked it.  She was our Queen (she loved that term for people.. and cats), we doted on her and pampered her in life and ultimately in death.  And she deserved it.  If anyone ever deserved love and affection, it was Mommy. 

The kindest soul I have ever known, my Mom never had a bad thing to say about anyone.  I mean that, I’m not just saying it to make her sound good because she’s gone.  On the off chance she did say something, she would stop and ask God to forgive her for being ‘in her flesh’.  She always wanted me to be softer with people (and myself) because she knew my heart better than anyone else.  It’s pretty big, believe it or not.  Mom was an empath; she felt your loss, your wins, your happiness, your sadness, and she felt it all deeply.  She fervently prayed for people she had never met as if she knew them personally.  I find myself in those words.  I always did, but in this sea of grief, I hurt so deeply for others who have felt loss of this magnitude.  Things that once seemed important, being “right” or having the last word, no longer matter.  Maybe they will again, but I can’t be sure.  I don’t know if I want them to be important again. 

She would’ve loved a morning like this; crisp air, fall leaves, the sabbath.  She loved dreary days as much as sunny days and found beauty in everything and everyone.  I mean it when I say that she was my hero.  My Mom, my best friend, my spiritual advisor, my Dad; She wore so many hats and she wore them well.  She was everything. 

I can’t say I know how to navigate this grief and this loss.  I lost all of my grandparents before I was 30 and the truth is, that pain isn’t comparable.  But, I am trying.  I’m working in my house today, grocery shopping, I might even have the energy to workout.  I’m trying to figure out this new life without my Mom.  Not because I want to, but because she would want me to. The void is deep and wide, cavernous and seemingly never ending.  But, I have to try.  

Hug your sweet Mother today. Tell her you love her and never leave anything unsaid.